The more weakness abounds, so much more does the Grace of God abound. Paul heard those words in a vision when he asked that the thorn be removed. I too heard those very words as the throes of addiction seemed to confront my own existence. Yes, I am no different than many people who have become influenced by outside attractions to fulfill a need that might be deep-rooted within my psyche. It isn’t as though drugs or alcohol are my adverseries but the internet and its solicitous manner of enticement to the weakness that lies within.
As I have written earlier a number of years in my ministry were dedicated to spiritual counseling with those in recovery from chemical addictions. One strong attribute from that ministry taught me how not to become in opposition of anyone struggling with these attractions but how to be loving and supportive of a human person with a problem and the need to address the person, not their failings.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 12: 9) says; “I will rather boast most gladly of my weakness, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, and constraints , for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak then I am strong.” From Romans (Rom. 7: 18 ff) “For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but the doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind , serve the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin.”
Too often, many people who experience sin in any dimension will use the power of positive thinking to alleviate their failings and adhere to principles of self-analysis and “I overcame the problem, myself.” Unfortunately, where was God in all of this discernment and how long did the diagnosed remedy last?
When God is taken out of the mix of pain and suffering, sin and forgiveness, the aspects of failure will resurrect again, but in a more subtle and destructive manner that may not heal. We must first of all place God in the midst of our most adherent failures and as Paul said; “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Serve the law of God not the law of sin, in our flesh.”
From “The Attraction to Deadly Sin” a reflection I wrote April 2017, “Personal sin; when we believe that the guidance and direction of our own lives, moral and physical, are our own decisions to make and control.” “Without God’s presence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives we become victims to and recipients of the attractions of events, worldly attractions, and people who would seduce our intellect and moral standards to a degree of sloth and destruction of our eternal soul.”
This article shows me healing has been an ardent reminder that without placing God at the very center of my life, daily, my weaknesses will undoubtedly overtake my conscience of moral thinking and begin to make a mockery of His Love and Forgiveness.
Peter failed to remain upright as he attempted to walk on water, once he took his eyes off Christ. Thomas doubted until his eyes focused on the Risen Christ who stood before him. Paul subjected the Church to scrutiny and suffering until he encountered the Living Christ before him. The Transfiguration removed any doubt (not until after the Resurrection) from the disciples that Christ lived and redeemed our mortal souls.
My own life has become a continued walk with Christ, knowing and feeling His Presence each time I pray, write, but most of all by keeping Him as the center of my very existence.
Without God at the center of our lives everything we do will ultimately fail. This is not my thinking, but over 2,000 years of Catholic Teaching and Tradition. Follow the lives of the Saints and see the very presence of God; through suffering, forgiveness, and enduring love and peace with God.