Ave Maria: Mgr. Luciano Alimandi : God's Power revealed in weakness
Vatican City - The root of our rebellion against the Lord is pride which, we might say, makes us want to do without God, to feel self-sufficient, capable of running our own lives and sometimes, even the lives of others. Man's intelligence, a gift of God, unless it remains humble can even revolt against God and imagine it can create an alternative path to the one traced by the Lord, who wishes us to be directed to the Supreme Truth and the Supreme Good, that is to God himself. Sacred Scripture tells us of such rebellion, starting with that of Adam and Eve which was the cause of "original sin".
Pride blinds the mind and paralyses the heart of man, his interior, stopping him from moving towards eternal Light which shines in all its fullness in the Person of Jesus, the Logos of the incarnate God!
The Lord Jesus placed one fundamental condition for following him, deny oneself and take up one's cross (cfr. Mk 8, 34), in other words to accept one's situation.
The people of Israel complained and rebelled against God, they scolded Moses, demanding solutions according to human logic, dictated by intelligence not guided by humility but blinded with pride. This happens even today. How often we turn to the Lord with our difficulties and expect him to intervene with the solutions we propose. And what is the best solution in our opinion? To remove the problem!
But what does the Word of God teach in this regard? What should be our attitude to something which makes us weak, which creates a problem? Saint Paul gives a marvellous description.
“Brothers, so that I should not get above myself, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to batter me and prevent me from getting above myself. About this, I have three times pleaded with the Lord that it might leave me; but he has answered me, 'My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.' It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me; 1and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ's sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (2Cor 12, 7-10).
Paul teaches us to even “boast” of our difficulties, of all that we suffer because of Christ, because, “when we are weak, we are strong”, strong with the strength of God!
“'My grace is enough for you ….”, Jesus replies to Paul and to each of us when we feel the weight of internal and external problems and ,discouraged, we ask him to remove them.
The solution which God has ready to solve all the difficulties which life brings, is that we should trust Jesus and: “his grace”.
God himself is the solution to our problems: “'My grace is enough for you ”! This is the solution we must ask of God: to grant us the strength to bear difficulties, the more they are the more strength God gives us! In the logic and pedagogy of God, as he educates us to become more and more his children, that is little children, the fact that “we cannot do it alone” makes us “capable" of opening our hearts to Jesus, of seeking his help and becoming for other brothers and sisters in need more patient and more understanding.
Woe to me if I should feel strong in life, believing I am a person of “success”, I run the risk of becoming arrogant. This is why Saint Paul repeats twice the reason for his weakness, his problems “ so that I should not get above myself ”.
What a marvellous confession of humility! Rather than complain of his weakness Paul sees the necessity to remain humble. Weakness is not sinful, it does not offend God, on the contrary: suffering, accepted and offered to Jesus makes us more similar to Him! This is why the great saints prayed not for success but for failure, not for victory but for defeat, not for exaltation but for humiliation... Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, on his deathbed, to those who asked what he desired for his Society of Jesus, he replied “persecution”. Certainly it takes courage to speak in this way, but evidently, Ignatius, like Paul, reasoned not as an ordinary man, but as a man who had experienced the extraordinary power of God which reveals itself precisely in weakness.
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