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Sunday – 14
Some people gossip, thank God, I do not.  Some people are cheats and I know I am not.  There are liars everywhere and I am not one of them.  So many people are irritable yet I find myself unlike them.  There are so many negative things about people and I am glad these are not found in me.  But Lord, am I perfect already?  Thank God, I am not!
St. Paul’s reminder is very humbling for me and for all of us today.  He says there is in our hearts, a “thorn in the flesh”.  People have their flaws; that’s their thorn in the flesh.  But I have mine, too, my own secret, hidden “thorn”.  And like other people’s, this thorn hurts and pricks all the time.
What is this “thorn in the flesh”?  St. Paul refers to our weaknesses.  However much we struggle for perfection in our personal lives, professional lives or spiritual lives, we know that there is something that keeps us back from achieving the peak of our dreams.  We live with weakness. 
St. Paul did not tell us what his thorn was.  He just said he asked God many times to remove it.  And that’s the way we too feel about our thorns – we try our best to eradicate it, and if we cannot, then we turn to God and ask him to melt and finally to erase or delete our weakness.
Amazingly, the Lord deals with weaknesses in a different way.  He does not remove them.  Why?  Because we need them to remain humble.  If we have no weaknesses, then we will soar into the heights of pride and think we are the best.  And with pride come a lot of other and fresh deficiencies in character and in spirit.
More than that, weaknesses remain until our last breath, because the Lord will use them to make us strong.  The Lord will act through and in spite of these weaknesses, to make us better persons.  Through our weaknesses, we begin to realize that only God can give true and lasting remedy to our lives.
This is why St. Paul says:  “When I am weak then I am strong”.  It is “through” weakness that we become strong. How mysterious.  And how?  The answer is grace: My grace is enough for you” says the Lord.  In other words, for us to overcome our weakness, to channel them into positively, we need to allow God to touch us where we are weakest, so that his grace can lift us up and heal us. 
In theology grace is:  “gratia sanans” and “gratia elevans”.  It heals (sanans) our wounded human nature and grace lifts up (elevans) our souls to the Lord.  But look, the Israelites always rebelled against the Lord and his prophets.  In the gospel, Jesus’ town mates, rejected him.  They will continue in weakness because they were not open to the grace God is offering to them.
What is your “thorn in the flesh,” your weakness?  Pray about it and ask the Lord to touch you with his grace that you may live victorious and faithful because his grace heals and lifts you up.