God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.
But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
The image of gold being tested by fire can help us bring the messiness of life to prayer. As the intense energy from the fire sifts out the pure gold for the goldsmith, so does the intense energy of the world bring out our truest selves before God. Our graced history is mingled with our sinful history, and so we must ask God to continually bring out those graces from within us.
Gold is uniquely rare, lustrous, and malleable. What are those shiny, soft, rare graces in my life that I can hold up to God today? Let us pray for the strength to let God intensify those graces which God has already placed in our hearts.
—Michael Lamanna, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Northeast Jesuit province. He is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Glory and praise to our God, who alone gives light to our days.
Many are the blessings he bears to those who trust in his ways.
—”Glory and Praise to Our God,” © 1976, Daniel L. Schutte and New Dawn MusicPlease share the Good Word with your friends!