Today we hear St. Paul say: “That I might not become too elated… a thorn in the flesh was given to me… to keep me from being too elated.” There have been many theories about the meaning of the “thorn in the flesh.” Was this an illness or a disability or depression or a constant temptation he had to deal with? Does it refer to a person or those who opposed him?

He is showing his humanness here and it is easy to identify with his “torn in the flesh” because we can have many “thorns” in our lives. Paul is not defeated by this, but shows how this allows himself to be open to the power of Christ to dwell within him. This is a helpful passage from St. Paul when we are dealing with something that might be a real “pain.”

Take a look at the advertisement for the workshop on the Psalms that begins this week. This program will be presented over the course of three weeks and will conclude with Solemn Vespers on Thursday, July 26. The Psalms are an important part of our worship both at Mass and at the Liturgy of the Hours. They are also beautiful prayers that can enhance anyone’s prayer life. Understanding their history and theology can help us appreciate why these prayers from our Hebrew roots have had such a significant role in the church over the years. Sign up now!

Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.