Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:6)
In the popular children’s story “The Polar Express,” a number of children board a train bound for the North Pole on Christmas Eve. During the journey, unexpected and menacing events unfold that challenge each of them to grow in unique ways. By the time they return home early on Christmas morning, each child has grown in a different virtue of the conductor’s choosing.
Today’s first reading points to a similar trajectory in our own lives. Each of us is on a journey of faith, and along the way we all have the opportunity to be changed, molded, formed, by the Lord. Just as the potter shapes the clay into something beautiful, God longs to shape us into vessels that reveal his glory and love. If we let him, he can make up all that is lacking in our lives. He can help us grow in virtue and put away sin. Just like pottery that is hand turned, each of us is a unique creation. Each of us reveals God’s handiwork in a new and different way.
Part of the challenge is recognizing that we need God’s hand in our lives. Whether he is just beginning to mold us or we have been with him for some time, we all have our imperfections and weak spots. But that’s no problem for our Father. He never gives up on us—not even if he has to turn us back into a lump of clay so that he can start over again!
Don’t you find it very encouraging to know that God hasn’t given up on you? Even if it feels as if you’ve taken far too many turns on the potter’s wheel, know this: your heavenly Father is committed to making you into the strongest, the most beautiful, the most useful vessel possible. Know this as well: it’s hard to see, as you’re spinning around on that wheel, just how beautiful you have already become. You may not see it, but God does. And so do many of the people in your life!
“Father, I am so grateful that you love me so much! Keep shaping and forming me, so that I can reflect your glory to the world.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6; Psalm 146:1-6