Therefore, that I might not become too elated,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.
The weakness in this reading from Saint Paul has always captured me.
It is counterintuitive. Boasting of weakness. This is not a language that we learn on the playgrounds of elementary school. In climbing the ladders in the corporate world there is no perfect weakness. I think we trip over ourselves trying to hide each and every weakness.
Let’s take a minute and reread Christ’s answer to the plea of Saint Paul to take away the thorn. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor12:9)
His grace is all we need.
Saint Paul realized this, and what it did was make his personal weakness be a glorious strength.
What are our weaknesses? Are we prideful? Do we have cancer or another serious illness? Perhaps we have anxiety or other social issues? Maybe we just don’t think we are good enough? These weaknesses, often make us powerless. It is in this powerlessness that Christ shines the greatest.
“My grace is sufficient for you.” It’s not always an easy answer, I much prefer, ‘go in peace and be cured of your affliction” (Mark 5:34).
Unfortunately, being cured of our affliction isn’t always what is best for our salvation. What is best, only God knows.
“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor12:10)
Kate Mims is the Retreat Center Director at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.