Reading II for Sunday, July 9, 2006
2 Cor 12:7-10
Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
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.
I’ve been going to the Tridentine Mass in Dallas for the past few weeks ago, and enjoy it immensely. But I needed to go to confession before Sunday mass, so I went to my little chapel down the road, St. Jude, and attended Vigil Mass on Saturday night. I’m thankful I did because I got a lot out of one of the scripture readings for the mass.
The message in the Sunday reading really hit home for me. I so often feel weak. I felt like I was very strong when I got baptized, like I was where I needed to be spiritually. But lately I’ve felt off. I’ve been dwelling on what I will simply state as my “weakness” more than I feel is appropriate.
I want to be content with my weaknesses. I want to be accepting of the parts of me that I know will never change. There are parts of me, behavior patterns, ways of interacting with people that have been there since I was old enough to remember them and will be there until I die most probably. These traits can often be frustrating, and I, like so many people before me, just simply want to be “normal”.
But I will do my best to embrace my weaknesses. I’ve been trying to pray about these weaknesses lately, and to offer them up to Christ in union with his suffering, but the context of my weaknesses seems so far removed from anything spiritual. It’s hard putting certain traits of mine into a spiritual context. It’s like trying to put my dislike for raw tomatoes in a spiritual context. Does my like or dislike of raw tomatoes make me any less or more of a spiritual person? It’s a trait I’ve had since I was a child – I do not like raw tomatoes. I don’t see it changing. But it’s a small yet significant part of who I am. I hope this is making some kind of sense.
I don’t want my weaknesses to affect my relationship with God, or with my husband, or with my friends. I don’t want my work to get neglected, or my home. I’m struggling with the balance between embracing my weaknesses and trying to overcome my weaknesses at the same time. It’s a hard struggle. Thank goodness, when I’m in church, I feel stronger. I feel the importance of those weaknesses in my life melting away. In church, I feel whole, and “normal”. When I leave, it’s like I’m battling those demons yet again. I feel solace in prayer.