Collection: Gold Tested in Fire

ARTIST: Lewis Williams, OFS


My son, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity. Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great. Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation. Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him.”
(Sirach 2; 1–6)

A lifetime of prayer, bearing the weight of 80 years, right down to the very last breath of life. Prayer was her example and her legacy, tested in fire, purified; the pillar of support that held her life aloft. I’ve heard the theory that the prayer of a few great souls in every generation through time have kept us all afloat, and God’s righteous anger held at bay. I believe my mother was one such soul.

May there always be such souls, praying in the face of the fires that test us in this pilgrimage till we are welcomed home again in the loving arms of our Lord. May you be such a soul.

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2 My child, if you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. 2 Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. 3 Stay with the Lord; never abandon him, and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. 4 Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. 5 Gold is tested by fire, and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. 6 Trust the Lord, and he will help you. Walk straight in his ways, and put your hope in him.

7 All you that fear the Lord, wait for him to show you his mercy. Do not turn away from him, or you will fall. 8 All you that fear the Lord, trust him, and you will certainly be rewarded. 9 All you that fear the Lord, look forward to his blessings of mercy and eternal happiness.

10 Think back to the ancient generations and consider this: has the Lord ever disappointed anyone who put his hope in him? Has the Lord ever abandoned anyone who held him in constant reverence? Has the Lord ever ignored anyone who prayed to him? 11 The Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our sins and keeps us safe in time of trouble. 12 But those who lose their nerve are doomed"all those sinners who try to have it both ways! 13 Doom is sure to come for those who lose their courage; they have no faith, and so they will have no protection. 14 Doom is sure to come for those who lose their hope. What will they do when the Lord comes to judge them?

15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his commands; those who love him will live as he wants them to live. 16 Those who fear and love the Lord will try to please him and devote themselves to the Law. 17 Those who fear the Lord are always ready to serve him. They humble themselves before him, and say,
18 We place our destiny in the hands of the Lord, not in human hands, because his mercy is as great as his majesty.

Sirach 2