Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.(2 Corinthians 12: 7-10)
Apostle Paul in Prison-Rembrandt
This was the second reading last Sunday.  It has been on my mind ever since.  I would put it on my top 5 favorite scripture passages in the Bible.

I relate to this passage.  Many of you may also share my feelings. The image of a thorn in ones back is a perfect way to describe many of the struggles we all face.  I struggle daily with my physical disabilities but the thorns that are more firmly fixed in my back involve my roll as daughter and mother. I find my times in confession centering around my lack of patience and love.  I pray for more of both but I think that my struggles in these areas underscore for me how dependent I am on the Lord.  Not only has my physical disability made me dependent on Jesus but my frequent stumbles and falls in my relationships with my family bring me to the foot of the cross praying for forgiveness and help.  Seeing myself for what I am a weak person with strong tendencies to sin places me completely dependent on the Mercy of Jesus.  I heard a priest once say in a homily that when you feel your spiritual life is doing the best is when you have to be the most careful.  It is so easy to begin to become conceited as St. Paul says in the reading above.  Our Lord in His wisdom gives us each a thorn in our back to keep us struggling and within that struggle we remain humble and completely dependent on God’s Mercy.  
This passage by St. Paul also reminds me of a section of the Diary of St. Faustina when Faustina asks Jesus why he continued to appear to her as a child.  He answered by saying He would continue to commune with her as a child until she becomes like a child. 
May we reflect a moment on these beautiful words again:

Our Lord: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul: For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When I contemplate these poetic words my heart goes straight to the Cross.  “My power is made perfect in weakness.”  The thought of Jesus hanging from the Cross pinned to two boards unable to wipe a tear from His own eye. This is the moment when He triumphed.  How then can we desire any more for ourselves than to embrace our weakness and allow the Lord to Triumph within ourselves.
Child Jesus. It is a photo taken by Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) of the Eucharistic Jesus while it was exposed on the altar. What came out was the above picture of the child Jesus.(image and description taken from http://www.family-prayer.org/what-does-god-look-like.html)

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