Fr. Mark Goring, CC of the parish I attended in Ottawa likes to preach often on the first verse of the second chapter of the Book of Sirach which says, “My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.”
It is a startling sentence when we stop to think about it because most of the time we go through life trying to prepare ourselves for loving relationships, meaningful successes, a reasonable amount of prosperity, and an abundance of opportunities.
What, if anything, are we doing to prepare ourselves for an ordeal, for tests, for trials?
What young person, on being asked what he or she is doing or hopes to do, will respond that they are preparing themselves to suffer hardships honourably?
And yet, the verse above speaks about “preparing yourself” – not even being prepared simply by God or by circumstances – but intentionally and resolutely preparing yourself for the tests and trials of life that are sure to come.
What difference would it make if we set ourselves up not only for success but for ordeals?
And, what sort of education and training constitute such preparation?