CIMAGALAIF we believe in what St. Paul once said that it is “when I am weak, that I am strong,” (2 Cor 12,10) then there must be something good in our weakness, whatever form it may take.
If we follow his logic that “the foolish things of the world has God chosen, that he may confound the wise, and the weak things of the world has God chosen, that he may confound the strong,” (1 Cor 1,27) then indeed the goodness of weakness must indeed be something.
Christ himself affirmed so in his beatitudes. He considered as blessed those who are poor in spirit, meek, those who mourn, who hunger and thirst for justice, who are merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, those who are persecuted and reviled.
In many other instances in the gospel, he praised the little children, gave special attention and healing to those with all kinds of affliction. He even raised the dead. He fraternized with sinners and what are generally regarded as the scum of the earth.
What peeved him were the proud and the self-righteous, or those described by St. Paul as “enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Phil 3,18)
Yet, in spite of all these, Christ was willing to die for all of us, assuming in the process all our weaknesses and sinfulness for all time and dying to them, so we may have a way to rise with him in his glorious resurrection, already freed of all of them.
We have to remember that our true dignity as persons and as children of God can only be attained and recovered through Christ. Yes, we also have to give our all in recovering that dignity, lost by sin, but all that effort would tantamount to nothing unless united with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, renewed sacramentally in the Mass.
All this does not mean that we have to be cavalier in our attitude toward our sinfulness and weaknesses. On the contrary, we have to be dead serious in avoiding and removing them. What it means is that whatever may be our warts and faults, there is always hope. God, being a true father, is always willing to forgive.
In fact, we can manage somehow to be happy when we notice and experience our weaknesses and sinfulness, since in that way we attract the attention of Christ. As Good Shepherd, he is always at the lookout for the lost sheep.
What we have to avoid is to deal with our weaknesses and sinfulness by our lonesome, relying only our own powers and devices, which though impressive will never cope with the evil of our weaknesses and sinfulness without God.
What we have to do when we see our weaknesses and sinfulness is to go to God, to run to him, making acts of contrition and atonement, especially going to the sacrament of confession, because that is how we regain God’s grace, the source of our true strength.
Let’s try to avoid the example of Cain who after killing his brother fled from God and became a fugitive. Let’s follow the example of the prodigal son who in his lowest depth of dissipation decided to go back to his father and was roundly welcomed.
God as our father provides us with everything. He has given us our life, our health, our natural needs. He has made the masterpiece of his creation, making us image and likeness of his, children of his.
And as father, he does even more. He is willing to forgive us, to provide us with what we need most—his mercy, since we cannot help but abuse his goodness and fall into sin and suffer the consequences.
On our part, we should do at least the minimum that can be expected of a creature who thinks, judges and executes things. We ought to be sorry for our sins, making acts of contrition, atonement and reparation, and making confession a regular habit.
In this we have imitate Christ who did all this by dying on the cross. No wonder he tells us that if we want to follow him, we have to deny ourselves and carry the cross too. We die with him to be able to rise with him too.
Let’s strengthen our hope and trust in God’s mercy especially during this Lent. For where sin has abounded, God’s grace has abounded even more. This is where our weakness can occasion strength.