“And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12: 7-10)
St. Paul, St. Paul! Great giant of the Spirit; great, ground-breaking pioneer of Christian theology, mission, liturgy, homiletics, asceticism… And yet there was this thing about himself, “a thorn in the flesh” – we don’t know exactly what it was – that he could not change. God would not remove it, even when the great Apostle of the Gentiles asked. And Paul accepted that. “I am content with weaknesses…,” he does not hesitate to tell us, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When I am confronted with my own weaknesses today, let me not “hide” them from God, but humbly place them before Him. There are certain, pesky “thorns” one may tend to omit from a conversation with God, like financial worries, inappropriate desires, habitual procrastination, and so on. Let me humbly ask God to remove my “thorns,” whatever they may be today. But let me also accept what God does with them, as I continue my cross-carrying journey, in my weakness and in His grace.