In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
—1 Peter 1:6–7
We can experience all kinds of ups and downs in this life, but it’s possible to have an underlying joy in the midst of it all, a joy that is not dependent on our circumstances. The key is to realize that the things of this world are passing, that, as St. Therese put it, “This world is thy ship, not thy home.” This knowledge that we are meant for something greater than this world can offer will allow us to keep an attitude of detachment, to be willing to let go of the things that weigh down our souls.
Pier Giorgio Frassati was the camel who passed through the eye of the needle, the rich man who was willing to unload the burden of his wealth in order to enter through the narrow way. He was surrounded by earthly goods, but he withstood any temptation to covet them. Most people born into wealth have difficulty letting go of the comforts they’re so used to, but Pier Giorgio didn’t hesitate to embrace the poor and offer them whatever he could. In him, there was no trace of the selfish fear that holds many of us back from truly seeking the good of our neighbor. We fear that to truly love another will mean risking all that we already have, but what we don’t realize is that all the worldly things we possess are nothing in comparison with the value of a human soul—of our own souls, as well as those of our brothers and sisters. And what good is it to cling to the things that weigh us down if we can’t enter the Kingdom with them? Whether it’s money, goods, jobs, friendships, relationships, status, or time, we all have things that we are tempted to prioritize above all else because they give us a sense of security and comfort in this world. However, we are not meant to feel secure or comfortable here; the ride is supposed to be bumpy. We have been told to expect trials, to persevere through suffering, to be tested by fire. But in God, we can find a greater security: an anchor to the shore beyond, leading us onward through the crashing waves to our true home.
1. Per Wilhelm Cedergren, Prilof / Lediga stunder / CC BY-SA 3.0
2. Photograph of Pier Giorgio Frassati / FrassatiUSA
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