Fr. Robert Barron’s Lenten Reflection and Pope Francis’s homily today seem to coincide with what I’m going through right now. Both of them talk about the three major things in Lent: Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. And all three of them can be used as methods for dealing with what St. Paul calls “the thorn in the flesh.”
As said in 2 Corinthians 12: 5-10
About myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses.Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated,a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
The thorn in the flesh to me represents a sin that people struggle with a lot. It’s the one thing that reminds us that we’re only human. In times of struggle, it’s important that we are honest with God about how we feel. Fr. Robert Barron also points out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are a form of living prayer. Through the works of mercy, we focus our attention on other people and the thorn in the flesh becomes less painful.
Tonight, I want you to think about something you’re struggling with. In your prayers, talk to God as if there was no need for formality. Cuss at Him if you want to, as long as you are completely honest.