“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weakness, in order that the power of Christ may dwell within me”. 2 Corinthians 12: 9.
If you watch the TV show, Law & Order, you know that DNA evidence is considered irrefutable. Each person’s DNA is unique. Much like fingerprints – each one is able to specifically identify an individual from any other person living or dead.
In Jeremiah 1:5 we hear “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you” Wow. The God of all the universe has planned you and me since the beginning of time and there never was or will be someone like you and me. How amazing is that? Think of all the people who have come before us and are now passed away. Couple that with all the people who are alive today and then add to that all the people who are yet to come. Again Wow! Even with that incredible amount of people there is no one like each of us. How awesome is that?
I think when you meditate about this it leads to a feeling of what an amazing God. He makes each of us different and He never runs out of new unique people. It is also so wonderful to believe that Jesus would have suffered and died if we were the only person that ever lived.
So what makes us unique other than our physical appearance and our DNA etc? Each one of us has God-given strengths and weaknesses that no one else has been given. In the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25-14-30;) the master before going away gave one servant five talents , to another two, to another one,” each according to his ability”. The one received the five and the one who received the two they were able to double their talents given and the master was pleased – “Well done you good and faithful servants ”. But to one who received the one talent he merely returned the talent he was given and master orders that worthless slave into the outer darkness “ where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Oh boy – this is clear indication that we will be judged on how we chose to respond to our unique gift of life. While we all have strength and weaknesses that make us unique, we often do not want to dwell on our weaknesses.
We humans are prone to sin. Often we chose to live a life that does not reflect God’s love. The Ancient Greeks had the maxim “know thyself”. Shakespeare used – “to thy own self be true”. In our spiritual journey it is necessary to examine oneself – take an inventory as it were of our weaknesses.
It is very easy to see glaring weaknesses in others. Recently I went to a college football game and a small few in the crowd acted very poorly. Cursing and yelling gross epitaphs at referees and at opposing fans. It served only to make for unpleasant experience to those around them including women and small children. One has to wonder if these individuals stop and think about their behavior.
That same question needs to be asked for each of us. Do we really know ourselves? Do we spend time reflecting on our life? Do we honestly recognize our weaknesses as part of our God-given uniqueness? The Army commercial says “be all that you can be”. As Christians we need to strive to be that unique person that our Lord has created us to be from the beginning of time.
We should not compare our weaknesses to others. For example I personally have never had addiction or gambling problems that plague many in society. I cannot take credit for that; I really never had the urge to gamble or drink or take drugs. It was not a weakness or cross God chose for me. However in recognizing that I can be more compassionate to those who do suffer from this weakness and recognize “there for the grace of God go I”. I of course have my own unique weaknesses which need to be recognized and addressed.
I have two dear friends who I admire a great deal who have taken inventory of their weaknesses/sinfulness. In a paradoxical way it has led them to experience God’s love in a special way.
One faith filled friend earlier in his life suffered from alcohol and drug addiction. It was not a weakness he asked for but one that he recognized and endured. He talks about a low point in his struggle when he was worried about losing his family, even his life. In his weakness he pleaded to his Lord for help and forgiveness. He recounts an inspiring story of the Lord responding to his plea by granting him an unforgettable feeling of God’s love and warmth in a way that he longs to feel again and one that has changed his life.
Another friend whom I admire a great deal found himself one night in a place his Catholic/Christian principles tell him is sinful. After returning home he began to experience chest pains and he rushed to the hospital where he suffered congestive heart failure. Thank God he has recovered fully. Upon reflecting on his brush with death and expressing true sorrow for his sinfulness that event has transformed him into a person who is on fire in service of Jesus and his church. In that weakness, in that darkness, he felt the Lord present in a special way that has changed his life for the better.
So take stock of your weaknesses. Accept them as part of being human. Bring to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation your brokenness. Free yourself of your darkest times, your worst hours.
For the sake of Christ; when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
Author of this article is Bernard Long