August 28, 2011
Since the Poor Clares built their monastery in Barhamsville, they have had trouble with water leaks. Over the past 7 years, much time, consultation, labor and expense has been spent in attempting to make walls, roof and windows impervious to the outside elements. And so now the Sisters no longer fear every rainstorm that happens by. Even tropical storms cause little concern. But hurricane Irene proved yesterday that the sealed, patched, caulked monastery could yet leak under the duress of torrential rain being driven by 75mph winds. It is disappointing, but not altogether unexpected. Just as a hurricane will reveal the inevitable structural weaknesses of a building, so do the severe trials of life unveil the hidden weaknesses of our character. No matter how hard we try to examine our consciences, resolve our issues, deal with our problems, repent of our sins, get our lives together, or whatever else you want to call our attempts at self improvement, we always will come up somewhat short. And it is precisely here that we meet God. I once heard Scott Hann say that God gives us our strengths and gifts to be used for the benefit of other people and that He allows us to have our weaknesses and faults for our own sake. No matter how good or bad we are at self-improvement, we are all desperately in need of the mercy of God. Tax collectors and prostitutes enter the kingdom of God first because they know this truth very well since their faults are more obvious. The hurricanes of life prove to us that we are not God, we need Him as our Savior. Suffering and weakness are not the worst evil but rather sin is. And suffering, borne with love heals us of our sins. Our weaknesses which can be our greatest sufferings can actually be our greatest blessings. How paradoxical! It is the paradox of the Cross.