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Strength in weakness

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

I had come to Guatemala for a summer of Spanish immersion as a seminarian. The first few weeks were challenging: I was learning my way around a new town in a foreign country, I couldn’t communicate with the locals and I was very tired every day.

About halfway through the program, I found myself sitting in Mass feeling discouraged about my lack of Spanish comprehension. Then God’s words to St. Paul broke through my broken Spanish and I clearly heard, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9) from the reading. Those words were exactly what I needed to hear, and they gave me great peace.

In our culture that places so much emphasis on strength and the power of the human spirit, it’s puzzling to think that Our Lord can work through weaknesses, that our weaknesses are precisely the instrument God desires to use for his glory.

I saw further evidence of this as I looked around at the Guatemaltecas I was getting to know. Through my American eyes, their lives seemed full of challenges: poverty, corruption, poor health care, to name a few. At the same time though, I witnessed the power of God working through their difficulties. They have certainly seen a lot of suffering over the years, but the Lord’s strength has accompanied them and the joy they share in the midst of their trials was inspiring.

When we feel insufficient in our difficulties, we realize that we need a Savior, and that all things are for the glory of God. Learning Spanish taught me that this work is not my work, but the work of God. I’m simply an instrument. After this experience, I had more peace and knowledge that God can work in anything, especially in weaknesses.

Poczatek, who is from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge, is in his third year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021