Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sirach and Duties Towards God

Recently I have began reading the book of The Wisdom of Sirach. I think it is a book in the Bible that often is glossed over by many Christians, perhaps because it is not accepted by Protestant faiths. Now in the Catholic Church it has been given the title Ecclesiasticus because the book itself has been used extensively to teach moral codes and faith to catechumens and the faithful.

The entire 2nd chapter is dedicated to teaching people how to be faithful to God. It spells out exactly what are duties are, and what will happen if we do or don't fulfill those duties. I think it is a great starting point for anyone who is just beginning their faith journey.

We are told to:

"Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold is tested, and worth men in the crucible of humiliation." Sirach 2: 4-5

I think this is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons to learn. There are times when people of faith turn away from God. I think the thought is often, if God existed, then He wouldn't let this happen to me... So he must not exist. Or to a lesser extent: "God, why are you letting this happen!!" But we are told to be patient. We need to trust in what God has in store for us. Then we are told:

"For in fire gold is tested" 

Gold one of the most precious metals, is tested in fire... which is something that can destroy. But fire doesn't destroy gold, it makes it stronger.

We are told that it works the same way for us. Our "crushing misfortune" really makes us stronger. We can use it to develop patience, tolerance, empathy, and a stronger faith. If we trust God in times of misfortune, we will be rewarded. We are told to:

"Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great". Sirach 2: 3

I think, looking back on the past few years I have seen this to be true in my own life. Getting married, having a child, moving away to a place where I know no one, starting grad school... they all have had their trials. There have been times where I have found myself frustrated with God. But I find that I have become a much more patient, accepting and empathetic person through all of this.

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