Weakness is a Strength

Weakness is a strength. That’s the Gospel. “Let the little ones come to me” says Jesus (Mt 19:14; Lk 18:16). “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). “I am content with weaknesses,” says Saint Paul, “… for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). Weakness is a strength.

And contemplatives know this well. Indeed, to experience a form of prayer, in times of prayer and (this is even more disconcerting) on the road, which is beyond our control and totally infused and which we could do nothing to reproduce and which we must only abandon ourselves to because the Giver is Overflowing Love Himself: this means knowing by experience that weakness is a hole that God fills.

Weaknesses come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, some are moral. Sure, some are incurred by original sin. Sure, some are physical. Sure, some are psychological. Sure, some are social. In all ways, weakness or “poverty” is present in the Gospel as specially cared for. And in the measure that God wills or permits these weaknesses, they come from him. We could begrudge this, hoping to be great in ourselves. Or we could accept our weakness and run with it:

Van, ThérèseThese weaknesses don’t come from me; I have them because God gave to me a weak and fragile body, so of course I’m going to be sensitive to things in my being…

Even so, these weaknesses are not of a such a nature as to distance me from Jesus. On the contrary, they bring me closer to him, giving more ardour to my love, since I think that it’s necessary to find myself in such a state of weakness to arrive at abandoning myself totally into the arms of Jesus.

These are words of Marcel Văn, who thought himself so weak as to be weaker than Thérèse and to qualify as such a soul that she described as coming after her, but being weaker still. Maybe we are not so weak as that! (But if we are, our weakness, in the measure that God makes or allows it, compels him to come to us to pick us up: remain confident!) Maybe our weakness is not so great. But we are still weak. All of us are. And we should know it. For then, accepting our weakness as God has let it be, we can love and receive love all the more.


5 thoughts on “Weakness is a Strength

  1. A fascinating insight from Brother Marcel–if I under him correctly–concerning weakness and sensitivity. Perhaps, we could say that our weaknesses incline us to be sensitive to similar weaknesses in others, giving rise to a spirit of compassion for others, whereby we begin to love our neighbor as ourselves. God bless!

    • I think you’re right that that’s one facet: Marcel is weak. Then he is sensitive in himself and for others’ weaknesses. Then he loves others with Jesus’ love.

      Perhaps another facet (not contradicting the first facet) is this: Marcel is a sensitive person. This makes him weak (for example, in social situations). Then he needs Jesus’ love and help.

      Ultimately, if Jesus’ love is what matters and if sensitivity and weakness are linked somehow, I think we might end up with either facet. Maybe?

  2. Pingback: The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Active and Contemplative Life | Contemplative in the Mud

  3. Pingback: “Contemplative in the Mud” | SOUL FOOD MINISTRIES

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