June 21, 2013


Readings at Mass on Friday of the 11th Week of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

2nd Corinthians 11:18,21-30

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (2nd Corinthians 11:30)

Today's first reading at Mass is good news for those of us who know what it's like to sometimes feel close to God and while other times feel far from God. Saint Paul speaks of his weakness today. In fact, today he boasts of his weakness.

How do you feel about your weaknesses? How do you feel about your fallen nature, your brokenness? Most of us hate our weakness. I used to. Saint Paul used to. In 2nd Corinthians 12:8 he admits: “Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me.” You can hear his disdain. He hates his weakness. He begs God to take away his weakness. What changed in Saint Paul wasn't the removal of his weakness. What changed in Saint Paul was his communion with Christ in the weakness. The Lord soon responded to Paul's plea, saying: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

Sure, God is displeased with sin. God never wants us to grasp or pull away from Him. However, deeper than the action of sin is our weakness, the attitudes and structures of belief within us that lead to our pulling away from God.

While we're called to grown into full maturity in our spiritual life, we're never called to do that apart from Christ. Therefore, the first step is to admit our weakness ... and admit how we feel about our weakness. Then, let him in. Let the Lord in to your weakness.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D. writes: “The work of the Spirit must be met with a vulnerable faith so as to receive the truth of who Christ is from within the poverty of our being. ‘He must increase and I must decrease’ (John 3:30). ... It is divine self-giving and the positive human response to accept such love that healing is known. Trust, vulnerability, rapt listening, integrity all precede the fullness of healing; otherwise God could incorrectly be seen as entering a magic relationship and not one of human freedom and fullness. We must present ourselves in such a way that Christ can enter our hearts with truth. And such a way of presenting ourselves is encapsulated in the virtue of humility.” (1)

Saint Paul was transformed when let God in. Millions since then have been transformed when they let God in. I, too―a weak man in need of a Savior―have seen transformation by first letting God in.

How do you feel about your weakness? What don't you like about yourself? Where do you feel alone ... or powerless ... or trapped? There ... right there ... God is near ... He is knocking ... He desires you ... He merely wants permission to come in.

Will you let Him in?

(1)  James Keating, Ph.D., The Eucharist and the Healing of Our Affection for Sin

 © Fr. Mark Toups, 2013

Today @ IPF:

The 169 seminarians in the Seminarians Summer Program are in two classes.

In their first class, 502: Celibacy and Sexuality, the men will learn about psychological and spiritual dimensions of addictions, as well as the need for the virtues of prudence and temperance in regards to the use of the internet and social media. In their second class, 503: Spirituality of Diocesan Priesthood, the men will learn more about what it means to be a shepherd and how it connects to the spirituality of a diocesan priest.

Speaking at the National Catholic Bible Conference today ... prayers, as always, welcomed.

Today's Quote from B16:

“Even when we have to struggle continually with the same failings, it is important to resist the coarsening of our souls and the indifference which would simply accept that this is the way we are. It is important to keep pressing forward, without scrupulosity, in the grateful awareness that God forgives us ever anew—yet also without the indifference that might lead us to abandon altogether the struggle for holiness and self-improvement. Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognizing my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbor.”
― Letter to Seminarians