James locates redemptive losing, this revolutionary element of the truth, right at the beginning of his letter. “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various ordeals, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And make steadfastness have its full impact, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”( 1:2 -4 ).
Like the books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Sirach, James reminds us that hurdles have always been part believers’ livings. In speaking of “various trials” that test our religion, he speaks of not just religious persecution but sickness, crime, loneliness, privation- whatever evaluations our faith in God’s adore, goodness, and right. What is revolutionary in James’ statement, nonetheless, is the idea that Christians should look upon trials with intense euphorium. The Greek text helps us understand his motivation: “Joy” is charan, from the root word charis, or “grace.” Our tests are parties for rapture precise because God’s grace is at work to bring us successfully through the period of testing and perfect the image of Christ in our minds. When James says that the testing of our sect displays “steadfastness, ” or “endurance, ” he uses the Greek term hypomonen. Etymologically, it points to “remaining under” a heavy load. This consignment is Christ’s Cross that, like the Master, we must carry( Mt 16:24) if we are to become “perfect and ended, lacking in nothing”( Jas 1:4 ).
We Christians are not masochists. We don’t embrace suffering as an end in itself. Rather, through it, we hug our crucified Lord so as to arrive with him at the magnificence of the Resurrection. James continues, “Blessed is the man who braves trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of living which God has promised to those who love him”( 1:12 ). When we are continuing to faith in the Father’s love for us, devoting our lives into his hands despite the pain we suffer, it is then that we most resemble the Lord Jesus- and that is something that forms our digest redemptive for us personally.
You see, when an Israelite was legislated to the priesthood, his hands were anointed with lubricant. In the Greek translation of the OT, teleioo was used in place of the Hebrew idiom, “fill up the hands”( Ex 29:29, 35; Lev 8: 33; 16:32; 21:10; Num. 3:3 ). With this in mind, Hebrews 5:8 -9 takes on included important, “[ Jesus] learned acquiescence through what he suffered; and being constructed excellent[ teleioo] he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek”( Heb 5:8 -1 0 ). Jesus was venerated to the priesthood via obedience in the midst of suffering! Hebrews applies the same term, teleioo, to the hearts of the really in heaven( Heb 12:24)- the same spirits the Book of Revelation shows participating in Christ’s priestly intercession before the Father’s throne( Rev 5:8; Heb 7:25 ).
As members of his Mystical Body, the Church participates in Christ’s self-offering to the Father. For those of us still on earth, Christ unites our earthly endures to his and converts them into spiritual relinquishes. Further, we recognize that the Father accepts such sacrifices and reciprocates with incomparable generosity; “[ G] ive, and it will be sent to you; good criterion, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be put into your lap”( Lk 6:38 ). We receive abundant mercy and take on the image of our Crucified Lord- the very destination of discipleship.
I would further suggest that the manner in which we endure our tribulations- perpetrating ourselves, via the movement of grace, into the Father’s entrusts with our eyes determined on the resurgence- is an important way that our religion is demonstrated by labor. James tells us that it was Abraham’s response to testing that bring his sect to completion( 2:22 ). Abraham situated his son upon the timber of sacrifice- in effect, joining himself to the Cross- with sect that God could elevate the dead( Heb 11:19 ). We cuddle the Cross in the same conviction! Therefore, as James says, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you convene many tribulations, for you know that the testing of your faith raises steadfastness. And tell steadfastness have its full result, that you may be perfect and terminated, lacking in nothing”( 1:2 -4 ).
In Part 2 of this 3-part lines, we’ll look at how Paul builds upon James’s penetration, revelling not just in the value of suffering for his soul, but the benefit Paul’s stands had upon the people of others.
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from Shane Kapler’s James: Jewish Seeds: Catholic Results( Angelico Press, 2021 ). It is the first part of a three-part series on St. James& Redemptive Suffering.
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