It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— 4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat.
5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations.
Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
By the accident of the calendar we hear today’s readings on the feast day of St. Thomas More, chancellor of King Henry VIII.
Strong in faith, agile in his lawyerly mind, and ready of wit, Thomas eventually had no choice but “to be the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” Thomas’s letters to his family and his spiritual writings reflect the struggle between power and weakness which Paul describes in today’s first reading.
Jesus’ teaching in the gospel offers a similar challenge to single-mindedness and trust in God’s ways. If I am right with God, nothing on earth can undermine my faith, shrink my hope, or steal my love.
What do my personal faith, hope, and love look like today?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
give us a mind
that is humble, quiet, peaceable,
patient and charitable,
and a taste of your Holy Spirit
in all our thoughts, words, and deeds.
give us a lively faith, a firm hope,
a fervant charity, a love of you.
Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation
and all dullness in prayer.
Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you,
your grace, and your tender compassion
the grace to work for
the things we pray for.
—St Thomas More: Prayer for Fervor in Thinking of God