Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/1/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I have been reflecting upon my own weakness a lot these days. I have discovered that the older I get the less I know and the more imperfections I discover in myself

I have been reflecting upon my own weakness a lot these days. I have discovered that the older I get the less I know and the more imperfections I discover in myself. As a younger man, I labored under a misconception that living the Christian life would somehow get easier as I - figured it all out.Well, nothing could be further from the truth.There is, in fact, a reverse reality at work.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/1/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: weakness, spirituality, earthen vessels, holiness, piety, Christian maturity, Corinthians, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The first reading from today's Holy Mass is from St. Pauls first letter to the Christians in Corinth contains these heartfelt words:

"When I came to you, brothers and sisters,proclaiming the mystery of God,I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power,so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God." (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

Paul was quite frank about his limitations and well aware of his weaknesses. In his second letter to the same community of early believers he writes: 

"For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ.

"But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death, for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh
."(2 Cor. 4: 7-15)

I have been reflecting upon my own weakness a lot these days. I have discovered that the older I get the less I know and the more imperfections I discover in myself. As a younger man, I labored under a misconception that living the Christian life would somehow get easier as I - figured it all out.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

There is, in fact, a reverse reality at work. I am more and more aware of my own weaknesses as I age and have only just begun to understand the honest admission of St. Paul to the young disciple Timothy that he was "the chief among sinners"(1 Tim. 1:15). This honest admission of Paul did not reflect some kind of poor self image.

To the contrary, it revealed the mature self awareness and humility of a Christian man who had come to understand why we call God's redemptive work in our lives amazing grace. Classical Christian theology speaks of the ongoing struggle we will face as we try to live a faithful Christian life. We constantly need a Savior precisely because we are Earthen Vessels.

Yet, the Lord in His infinite mercy and love has made our own weakness and frailties become the path to a deepening relationship with Him. They are the door to our own progress in our baptismal call to holiness. This process of being emptied of self and filled with His life happens by grace. However, that wonderful free gift invites our continual response, our cooperation, with His loving plan.

St. Francis DeSales (1567-1610) was a great pastor of souls. He once wrote in a letter to one of the many who sought his holy counsel "God wants your misery to be the throne of His mercy. He desires that your powerlessness be the seat of His omnipotence."

So it is with each one of us. The reality of our frail human nature is that we are weak; the struggles we face in our daily lives do not necessarily lessen as we age. We fall and fail. The Good News is that the Lord is always there, ready to forgive, to heal and to help us to get back up and, with the help of His grace, begin again and again and again.

In another letter to a pilgrim seeking his spiritual counsel, Francis DeSales wrote:

"Be patient with the whole world, but, above all with yourself. I want to tell you not to lose your serenity because of your imperfections, and always to have the zest to raise yourself up. It gives me joy to see each day you begin again. There is no better way to finish life well than to return to the starting point always and not ever to think that we have done enough".

This is sage advice for all of who are coming to understand the truth that we hold this treasure of God's life within us, in earthen vessels.

-----

Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis refers to Martin Luther to spread important message for the Church Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks unity.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Speaking to a delegation of pilgrims led by Lutheran Archbishop Kari Makinen of Turku, Pope Francis shared a special message, in which he quoted Martin Luther. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic Herald, Pope Francis spoke of the his October ... continue reading


Pope Francis says REAL Christians are at constant war with the devil Watch

Image of If you are a Christian, you are constantly battling the devil.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The closer we are to Christ, the more the devil attacks. Why? Because the enemy wants us to fall from grace - just like he did. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During his early morning Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis described the ... continue reading


The truth behind sex change surgery - The tragic case of Bruce-Brenda Reimers Watch

Image of The truth behind gender reassignment surgery (Medscape).

By Mary Rezac (CNA/EWTN News)

You've probably heard of Bruce Jenner. Phoenix, AZ (CNA/EWTN News) - Now referred to as Caitlyn Jenner, the high-profile Olympic athlete with a famously dramatic family had a very high-profile transition from male to female - including mutilple surgical alterations, a ... continue reading


Mexican exorcist claims the devil fears him - 'He can't enter us if we do not open doors' Watch

Image of The devil fears the presence of the Lord.

By (CNA)

Fr. Francisco Lopez Sedano is an 80-year-old Mexican exorcist. In the past 40 years of service, he has conducted at least 6,000 exorcisms.And, he says, the devil is afraid of him. Mexico City, Mexico (CNA) - Fr. Lopez told the newspaper Hoy Los Angeles (Los Angeles ... continue reading


Pope Francis to bless Philippines President after receiving letter of peace Watch

Image of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offers peace to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has made several negative comments about Pope Francis and the Catholic Church - So why is he suddenly writing the pontiff a letter of reconciliation? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Duterte's violent war on drugs has been a ... continue reading


Nebraska law created by KKK forces nuns to remove habits in the classroom Watch

Image of Nuns are not allowed to wear their habits in Nebraska classrooms (not pictured).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sister Madeleine Miller applied for a teaching job at a Nebraska high school. Unbeknownst to her, a shocking, nearly century-old, law calls for her to remove all religious clothing before stepping foot on school grounds. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The law bans ... continue reading


This pope is about to do something controversial when the Virgin Mary sends a message... Watch

Image of Pope Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun as he debated affirming the Assumption of Mary.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Venerable Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun in 1950, which he took as confirmation of an important declaration. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Pope Venerable Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun in 1950. At that time, he faced a decision. He wanted to ... continue reading


Catholic school faces lawsuit for firing gay teacher Watch

Image of Charlotte Catholic High School is involved in a discrimination case against a teacher involved in a same-sex civil marriage.

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

A lawsuit against a Catholic high school claims that it was illegal discrimination to fire a teacher for contracting a same-sex civil marriage, but a law professor suggests the case will not make any progress. Charlotte, NC (CNA/EWTN News) - "What they're trying to do ... continue reading


Dominicans celebrate 800-year anniversary with special reflection and prayers Watch

Image of Dominicans celebrate 800 year anniversary with reflection and prayer.

By Hannah Brockhaus (CNA/EWTN News)

As the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans, celebrate the 800th anniversary of their founding, they gather in Rome from around the world to reflect on their history, their charism of preaching, and how they can continue to put this charism at the service ... continue reading


Our Lady of Fatima will be crowned by Cardinal Nichols at initiation of the 100-year anniversary Watch

Image of An Our Lady of Fatima statue still be crowned to begin the centenary year (Mary Anne Urlakis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The World Apostolate of Fatima National Pilgrim Virgin statue will be received, blessed and crowned by Cardinal Nichols on Saturday February 18, 2017. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This year is the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's appearance to three children in ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 8:6-13
6 As it is, he has been given a ministry as far superior as is the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:8, 10, 11-12, 13-14
8 I am listening. What is God's message? Yahweh's message is peace for ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:13-19
13 He now went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 20th, 2017 Image

St. Fabian
January 20: Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian's ... Read More