Gospel Meditation – Boast of our weaknesses?

July 7, 2024 — 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Recently I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how to optimize willpower in the face of weakness. The message was: do not accept your weakness. Crush it. Dominate it. In one video, however, at the end of a rant by a willpower coach, the muscular stoic admitted, “You’ll never actually get what you want, no matter how hard you try.” Amazingly, he admitted that willpower alone is not sufficient for us weak-willed humans. 

What does God want us to do with our weaknesses, if crushing them with willpower won’t work? For example, what should I do with my tendency to arrogance and self-isolation? Or my procrastination? Or my intellectual and physical limitations? Or my selfishness?

The counter-intuitive answer is clear in this week’s words from St Paul, “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me (2 Cor. 12:9).” Boast of our weaknesses? Paul isn’t promoting weak-mindedness or laziness. Rather, he perceives that Jesus loves us not despite our weaknesses but because of them. Boasting of our weakness means claiming human will is not all we have. It means turning to God whenever we feel weak, which–let’s face it–is almost all the time. When we do, we learn to love our weaknesses, because it’s there that we meet the strength of Christ. This week, I challenge us to find ways to boast not in willpower but in weakness.    

— Father John Muir ©LPi

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