Today’s first reading from James is comforting on several levels.  All of us struggle.  All of us experiences trials of one kind or another.  Human beings are flawed, and we are emotionally fragile.  It may seem odd that the writer names life’s difficulties as opportunities to find solace, but precisely in these moments of difficulty and despair God is most available to us.  

We tend to wish away our trials, which is normal.  Yet if we can somehow pause and open our hearts and our minds to the movement of the Spirit during those trials, we would surely encounter God in a meaningful way.  Christ comes to us in ways we may not expect.  Consider Jesus’ own trials; in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus experienced severe anxiety and anguish.  It was only through calling upon the Father that he received confirmation about this path, and then the strength to undertake it.

—Matt Kemper is the Director of Community Service at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.                                                                                                           





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