Speaking to the soul

St. Columb’s Cathedral. Londonderry

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.
1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT

If Peter is to be believed, all earthly trials are a means of testing our faith that it might grow deeper roots into its source, God alone. It’s not that the storms are imaginary. Nor will some powerful prayer instantly deliver us from the raging storm surrounding us. I have cared for a loved one through a degenerative neurological condition, eventually holding her hand as she passed into her eternal joy. One thing I did observe was that as her physical strength waned, her spiritual fortitude increased. The base mortal form that had housed her divine essence was transformed into the priceless gold of resilient and enduring faith.

Fire will burn, yet will also purify. Despondency may well be both the sign and the source of our deepening faith. This can never be pain-free, for fire scorches. The battle, however, is not for our human survival but to release and reveal the glory of God, a faithful Church; the myriad communities of flesh and blood disciples contesting every step through life against the defeated ruler of this world. Each of us becomes a point of presence of the kingdom of God on the earth.

The nature of our testing lies well beyond the capacity of human reason. It is the mystery of God made flesh in every member of the body of believers who constitute the Church. The agony of Good Friday can only ever give rise to the glorious dawn of the resurrection.


What have you learned that is helpful from those who have gone before you?


Lord, I don’t enjoy the fire, but help me to endure it, for your will to be done.