Exploiting our limitations

Whenever we come face to face with our limitations or our defects, mistakes, falls, etc., something that we could expect to be a usual occurrence in our life, given our weakened human condition, let’s be quick to assume the attitude once expressed by St. Paul.Let’s not waste time lamenting or feeling sad because of them.

“Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it (what St. Paul termed as a thorn in the flesh) should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,’” he said.

Then he concluded: “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12 ,8-10)

Our weaknesses, our limitations and mistakes should not hold us hostage for long, keeping us in the state of sadness, depression and even despair. They can be very good occasions to attract the attention, the mercy and the help of God.

Let’s remember Christ telling us that “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mk 2,17) What consoling words of Christ which he acted out a number of times!

He fraternized with tax collectors and others considered as public sinners of his time. He was merciful with the woman caught in adultery. He chose as his apostles people who were clearly with defects though they also had good qualities.

As to men’s limitations, he reassures us not to worry about them. What we cannot do, he can always do. This was shown in that miraculous catch of fish, when Peter at first said, upon being told to go to the deep and lower the nets for a catch, that he was fishing the whole night before and caught nothing.

The same when Christ told the apostles to feed the crowd with a few loaves of bread and fish. What could such amount of bread and fish do with so many people, they asked. But in the end, not only were the crowd fully satisfied. There was an excess of the few that was given out.

We should not worry so much about limitations. We have to train our feelings and our emotions to remain calm and hopeful when we experience the burden of our incapacities. And let’s be quick to assume that Pauline advice about how to handle our limitations and weaknesses.

In fact, we can take advantage of our weaknesses and limitations to attract God’s attention, mercy and tremendous help that would really astound us. If we are humble enough to acknowledge our limitations and just go to Christ as soon as we can, we can always be sure that God helps us beyond our expectation and imagination.

This does not mean that we have to take our limitations, weaknesses, failures and sins lightly. We have to try to avoid them as much as we can, fight them and atone for them. But we should not forget the other side that would make all these a magnet for God’s mercy and grace. “Where sin has abounded, his grace has abounded even more.” (Rom 5,20)