Friday, June 21, 2013

Things That Show My Weakness

Things That Show My Weakness 

By Melanie Rigney

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:29-30)
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  (Psalms 34:5)
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.” (Matthew 6:22-23)

Lord, show me how to use my struggles to help my brothers and sisters find the courage to move closer and closer to you.

“Unzip your soul and expose your foibles.” It’s the mantra of my friend Patricia Lorenz, who you may know from her years of Daily Guideposts and Chicken Soup stories about raising four children as a single parent, her move from Wisconsin to Florida, and her rediscovery of love after decades on her own.

I thought I understood Pat’s wisdom, and attempted to live it wholeheartedly when I returned to faith after decades away. I would tell anyone who would listen (and some who wouldn’t) about my bankruptcy, my failed marriage, my bad behavior, and my detached-retina-in-Istanbul story… always bringing it back to the ways in which God has bailed me out and my confidence and gratitude that he will continue to do so.

But in the past year or so, I’ve found a new depth to Pat’s mantra. For me, those foibles aren’t just the big, showy things that not everyone experiences. They’re also the weaknesses we struggle with every day: holding our tongues before we say something unkind, no matter how true or how funny the observation may be. Rushing through conversations to get on to the next thing, no matter how important or personal the other person’s words must be. Hurrying through prayer because we’re too tired or perhaps too guilty to want to spend time with God.

And perhaps it’s through “boasting” of those smaller, more universal weaknesses that God is shown to be not only the Great Redeemer, but also the Great Equalizer here on earth. For when we acknowledge we share a dark place, it becomes easier to open the way for God to grow our special light.

Identify a small weakness that keeps you from God—and then spend some time today with a family member or friend who is not challenged by that weakness. Watch. Listen. Learn.

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