Of Thorns and Grace

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In the first reading today from 2 Corinthians 12, St. Paul says that he has been given “a thorn in the flesh.” Now, he never says what exactly that is. I generally think that this may be a predisposition to a particular sin. One of those things that you just can’t seem to get rid of, no matter how hard you try. So, why is it that we all seem to have some “thorn in the flesh?” St. Paul provides the answer for us.

After mulitple times of begging that this thorn might be taken away, God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So Paul says that he will boast of his weaknesses, “in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” You see, Paul, like the rest of us, tried again and again to remove this thorn himself. Then he asked God to do it. But God would not. Why is that? After all, Jesus said that whatever we ask the Father in His name, He will give us. So why doesn’t God take these “thorns” away?

Perhaps it is to remind us that we are weak. That apart from His grace, we can do nothing. St. Paul says, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Seems a bit oxymoronic, eh? Here’s how I understand it. When we are beaten down in our weakness, when we “hit bottom,” as it were; only then can we realize that we need some help. We need a shot of strength. That shot of strength is called grace. And when we accept God’s grace, we need nothing more. After all, His grace is sufficient.

Father, we thank you for your grace in our lives. Help us, like St. Paul, to accept that thorn in our flesh. May it be a constant reminder that we need you more and more each day, and that Your grace is sufficient. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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