Moving to the beginning of chapter two (Sir 2:1-11), we first read of what we can expect in this life for serving God: trials, adversity, sorrow, misfortune, humiliation. How are we to handle these things as they come? “Stand in justice and fear,” “be sincere of heart and steadfast,” listen for “and receive the word of understanding,” be undisturbed, exhibit patience, clinging to God and not forsaking Him, but always trusting. Finally, fear the Lord; in this, “wait for his mercy,” “trust him,” “hope for good things” that are lasting, like joy and mercy, “love him” so as to be enlightened. Hope and you will not be disappointed, persevere in the law and you will not be forsaken. The compassionate and merciful Lord forgives, saves, and protects “all who seek him in truth.”
The second verse of this chapter (see the headline) quickly provides the reader the place where answers can be found for life’s difficulties: the Word. How difficult it is to remain “undisturbed in time of adversity.” But God understands in His Word, Jesus, the God-Man who was like us in all things but sin (Heb 4:15). The Son, who in His perfection suffered in His body and soul the depths of the effects of sin in a tangible way in a manner we cannot even imagine, makes Himself available to persons of every age through His presence in Scripture and Sacrament. Have recourse to both often, daily if at all possible. Of course, cultivating a relationship with Jesus through prayer and mediation, invoking the Holy Spirit, provides guidance and strength as well. May we develop a bond with the Lord so strong that no earthly trial will ever shake this connection, but rather that such events will only strengthen our resolve to deepen our faith, hope, and love.