Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Thorn

In today's first reading we reach the famous moment when Paul speaks of the "thorn in the flesh." The Greek word "skolops" could be a reference to some physical disability or St. Paul could, as he often does, be speaking more figuratively of an inner struggle. No one knows. What we do know is that St. Paul for an extended period, if not his whole life, has to struggle with this "thorn." More than once he asked God to take it away, and God's response:

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.

The word used for weakness has a broad range of meanings from weakness of body or mind to moral frailty. It is precisely in our weak spots, our empty places that God's grace can fill us. All we have to do is ask.

As St. Paul reminds us, this does not mean that God will magically make the thorn vanish. It seems that it is a twofer. We get the thorn and sufficient perfect power of God. Perfection in imperfection one of the many paradoxical mysteries of our faith.