In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.
Second reading for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
St Paul was no pushover. His exertions for the sake of the Gospel, and for the people for whom the Lord intended the Gospel, were extraodinary. Paul was not beyond listing the more prominent of them either.
And yet he knew that in his acknowledgement of his limitations, of his weakness; in his recognition that here now he had nothing more to give; in owning the truth that, here, now, he could ‘only’ trust in the Lord – in this lay his greatest strength. He could not give enough: but in his making way for the Lord, like John the Baptist before him, he brought the richest testimony to the glory of God and the power of the Gospel.
Wood carving. St Peter and Paul church, Aston. © 2018, Allen Morris