“In Weakness…”

Amin writes:

…how can we unite our weakness with the strength of God as we carry our cross and feel its heavy burden? How is possible to feel my weakness under that cross, but at the same time be able to say with St. Paul, “when I am weak, then I am strong”??

This is one of the great paradoxes of Christianity, and like any paradox it is hard to comprehend, harder still to practice.

But also like most paradoxes, it has a rational solution. My understanding of it is this:

The key lies in the reality of the grace of God.

When I feel strong, I find myself depending on my own personal resources; my strength, my intelligence, my friends perhaps. I turn to theses resources for support and I expect them to resolve my life issues. So long as I do this, God steps back in His infinitely gentle love and allows me to do things ‘my way’. I feel strong.

But every now and then, a situation arises that is well beyond the ability of my own resources. I try to deal with it alone, and fail; sometimes miserably. At the end of my wits, I finally am compelled to turn to God and cry out to Him for help. Now, I am weak.

And here is where the real presence of God often manifests in the most amazing of ways. Our gentle and compassionate God steps in and does that which was impossible for me alone, impossible for any of my resources to achieve. Not only am I saved, but I have also touched the reality of the love of God – something I should never forget again, especially in times of trouble. Now, I do not feel strong (for I have also touched my own weakness), and yet I am incredibly strong (with the strength of God).

Perhaps a tale may help illustrate this experience. In my student days I travelled overseas and was asked to escort an elderly and infirm lady on my plane trip back from Cairo to Sydney. On arrival in Singapore, I learned that the lady’s ticket was only a standby ticket, hastily purchased at the last minute to allow her to travel on the same flihgt I had booked months in advance. Unfortunately, there was no room for her on the connecting flight from Singapore to Sydney, and I was informed that she would have to wait until a seat became vacant on a later flight. I noticed a couple of men in suits arguing at the next counter that they had been waiting three days for a vacancy on a flight to Sydney. This did not bode well…

I certainly couldn’t leave the poor lady alone in Singapore with no English and poor health, yet an extended wait in Singapore was going to cause me some serious problems. But there was nothing within my power to do. Only, to turn to God. A phone call to my longsuffering mother recruited her prayers, and with her, her favorite intercessors. I recall that Psalm 130 played a prominent role in those difficult hours.

Resigned to my fate, I returned to the ticket desk as requested, half an hour before our flight was due to depart. I stood in line quietly behind our two immaculately suited gentlemen as they loudly argued and protested and abused the poor airline lady behind the counter. Suddenly, the lady’s face popped out from behind the men and she beckoned me to approach. With a look of frustration on her face she checked the elderly lady in to the one vacant seat on the flight and whispered to me, “Hurry, the plane’s about to leave!”

I didn’t hang around to see the reaction of the irate businessmen. And I suspect that poor old lady hadn’t walked quite so fast as she did that day for many years. But we made the plane, and that blessed lady arrived safely to be recieved into her anxious relatives’ embrace. There was nothing I could do about that situation; but upon surrendering to God’s will, I discovered just how much He can do.

“When I am weak, then I am strong.”

Fr Ant

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4 Replies to ““In Weakness…””

  1. I believe , the most greatest blessing in life is when the person feels the presence of God in everything the person does in life …… this i believe does not come from a vacuum in our daily practical life … i did not come from a religious family but a poor , simple family used to fear God with a lot of christian meaningful values with a lot of thank giving to our Lord in every moment i remember my uneducated parents lived on earth … i used to be like them with the only difference i got a lot of education and i had the chance to see and experience a lot in this world ……i started to search more how i feel practically more the presence of our Lord in every thing in my life???i lived for a long time in Greece and once i went to visit AGIOS OROS and this is a series of mountains where the Greek monks live and the amazing thing that the whole area are only males , even their animals , oh mate even the flies around used to be males .. here it comes my experience ,i attended a sermon from one of those old monks and i remember it like today despite it was nearly 40 years ago and the sermon about LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF AND LOVE YOUR ENEMIES …he was a simple monk with simple expressions but deep ones , he put it very simple , he said ,you want to live with God here and in eternal life simply you must have a pure heart filled up with love to everyone because GOD IS LOVE and he referred to John first Epistle “who does not love on brother stays on death “..so the old monk started to explain how we can do it in our practical life ??? he said , there are four things you must do first love second bless third be good and fourthly pray for your enemy…he said the first one is a bit hard to be achieved immediately as humans but he said do the other steps and by the time the person without any effort will love not only his brother but his own enemy and you will be doing the extra mile as the good Samaritan not only he treated the person with alcohol and oil but he went further to put him in an inn and he went further in leaving some money to be looked after and he went more in his extra mile that he will pay any amount of money needed in his way back …oh my God it is the greatest love i came across it …so old pal make sure you do the extra mile in your life and always you will feel the presence of God in your life ….trust me you will feel him next to you in everything you do without any effort ….it is true we must live the life of heaven here before we get there ….it is true faith , hope and love but love is the greatest of them ….so the equation is simple without love , no pure heart and the person will stay on death as st John said … may our Lord strengthen our love to accept and love one another everywhere …may God presence to be with us all through his holy spirit and to guide us till thy kingdom come …may God strengthen our weakeness by his holy presence with us in everything we do …

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  2. Abouna,

    We appreciate all you have done for us! We will pray for your new responsibilities. I am sure you have the support of the Body of Christ.

    Please pray for us, Abouna and bless us.

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  3. Really ,I am enjoying your blog “Father “and the comment too !! , I like that verse ” when I am weak ” as in our weakness ,we see the hand of GOD very clearly . for sure GOD doesn’t and never leave us ,but we are the one who feels sometimes that we are capable to do few ” little things” by ourself .
    But GOD is very gentle and kind that he keeps watching us to protect us from our weakness and to answer our prayer

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  4. In the last few days and in the wake of the highly contagious viral infection and transmission of Swine Flue in humans some around raised the question of the unhygienic way of serving the blood in the holy communion ? also those cups of sipping water used by all the congregation after the holy communion from mouth to the other ???!! some said this issue of concern raised by the devil because the holy communion is holy of the holiest etc…, others have great concerns , as you know more you worry more ??!! others said even the taste of the blood change at the end of the holy communion from all these sipping by mouth , and different chemicals of lip sticks??!! any how i personally believe the person in high risk at the end of the day is the priest because he has to wash the chalice and sip the rest of the holy communion after all this mob did sipping by their mouths ???!! the question why not something hygienic to be done about this ?? is their any better way without affecting our ritual aspect ??!! at least we start with those ladies no lipsticks if you want to take holy communion ??!! if no way of change and still that small spoon to be used why not the church to educate the priests how to serve and the people how to sip the holy blood and not to put the whole spoon in the mouth and we minimize the risk ??!! may the holy spirit guide us al amen ….

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