In Weakness I am Strong

In the First Step of AA and other programs the person is expected to admit to their powerlessness over alcohol.

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.”*

In a recent reading from St. Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, we read:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10:
“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.”

I have no idea what the “thorn in the flesh” was, I’ve read somewhere, not certain exactly, that the speculation is that Paul had a follower who turned apostate and was harassing him, or some other rival was vexing him. I was always hoping he had what we call an addiction or “inordinate attachment” to something he was trying to rid himself of. (Sorry if that offends. ) It doesn’t matter, it is sufficient to understand that for whatever reason, St. Paul had been seriously troubled by a problem or a person and that the only way he could deal with the problem was not by force of human will, or even a human resolution, but to have faith and trust that God will support him through his travails.

In his weakness, Paul allows the power of Christ to dwell within him, to lift him up and sustain him in his trials. His will was in the way, his human strength would have taught him to not seek God’s help or sustenance. Granted, Paul could have dealt with the trouble in terms that make sense to the secular world, but at what cost to his growing closer to God? There is a price in not needing God or relying on Him, even if successful. That price is the peace of soul and serenity in knowing that you’re not alone. There is comfort in relying on God and on other people that He places in your path that are His instruments.

The Second Step flows outward from the First and is strongly implied in in Paul’s statements in the quote I emboldened.

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”*

The worldlings out there who scoff at religion and its observance suffer from higher anxiety, depression and stress than people of Faith. Prayer and meditation helps reduce anxiety.

“Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace.”

*From Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, AA World Services, 2001. (The AA “Big Book”)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"