Sunday, July 8, 2012

Embracing Our Weakness

*Reflection based on the Mass readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Embracing our weakness is not something we usually enjoy doing. It certainly is very counter cultural. In St Paul's letter to the Corinthians, we see that Paul himself was not too comfortable with embracing his own weakness at first. He prays that God will take these things from him, and God answers him with a simple, yet profound reply: "My grace is sufficient."
Everything we need in order to embrace our weakness is wrapped up in those four words. Part of our weakness as human beings is that we forget that we need God for everything, that our dependence is, or should be on Him and not on ourselves. God gives us the grace, His grace, so that we can entrust ourselves to Him in everything, but something more is required of us in this.
Embracing our weakness is part of living the virtues because it requires humility. The opposing sin to humility is pride, and it is our pride that makes us want to resist God's grace. It is our pride that leads us to say to God: "I've got this one Lord; no need for your help with this." I don't know about you, but every time I have said that or at least acted that way, I have fallen flat on my face. It has now gotten to the point that when I find myself doubting and wanting to rely on myself, I hear Our Lord speak those four words into my own heart and soul. I am always grateful for His loving and gentle reminder that He has and is what I need in everything.
When we recognize and acknowledge our weakness, relying on God to see us through the course of our daily life, we allow His grace to enter, and like Paul, find that it is sufficient. 
God sends the prophet Ezekiel to remind Israel of this same thing (although not in the same words) because God sees how resistant to Him they have become. The people of Jesus' day, those of His own town, do not recognize Him. Both of these groups relied more on their own knowledge, and saw things from their own limited perspectives. If only they had opened their minds and hearts to allow God's grace in.
Embracing our weakness also takes faith. Jesus is amazed at the lack of faith He finds in His kinsmen. Because of this lack of faith, He is unable to "perform mighty deeds there".
We can see how our faith allows Jesus to perform these mighty deeds when we look back to last week's Gospel about Jairus' daughter and the woman with the hemorrhage. Both the servant and the woman showed great faith, and it was their faith that allowed Jesus to heal the little girl and the woman. 
It is our faith in the sufficiency of His grace that allows Him to perform mighty deeds and heal us us as well.

My Dear Lord Jesus,
It is not my weakness that offends You, but rather my self reliance, my resistance to You and Your grace. Help me to trust You more, depending solely on You in everything. From here on in I will embrace my weakness and see that Your grace is sufficient. I come before You now in all humility and with steadfast faith so as to allow You to perform mighty deeds in my own life.

Feel free to join me and others for discussion on The Front Porch.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.