“In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:7
God sometimes permits certain kinds of evil in order to draw out greater good: for example, in order to protect us from pride – the root of all vices – He sometimes allows us to be humiliated by an illness, or a defect, or even ashamed by mortal sin. Our faith sometimes needs to be tested in such ways, for us to be able to recognize…and admit that we are not as perfect and holy as we would like to believe, after all, and that we cannot stand firm in our faith just by our own efforts.
A “thorn”…an imperfection…may jolt us off any pedestal which we may have erected for ourselves. St Paul calls it “a messenger from Satan” because, in the case of illness or physical defect or suffering the evil one would be trying hard to take the opportunity to tempt us into blaming God and to take it against Him.
If the humiliation is the result of a weakness which leads to a grave sin, then the evil one will delight in seeking to persuade us that we are so unworthy that we should completely give up on our efforts to be holy. But the faithful Christian, who believes in God’s unconditional love and in God’s grace, will come out from such situations, humbler…and stronger, and more determined than ever to seek to do God’s will!
My Lord and my God Lord,
remove any misplaced pride from me.
Do not allow that I should to ever fall
for the deceit of the evil one,
whose only aim is to draw me away from You.
Lord, strengthen my faith;
my love for You and my trust in You
…whatever the circumstance.
Strengthen my faith, O Lord, and keep me humble.