In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
I had a most blessed experience today in the Church of St Patrick’s as I prepared myself for Holy Mass. I knelt down and made the sign of the cross and allowed the beautiful music being played by the pianist to lift my heart to the Lord. I entered into contemplation and found myself confessing to the Lord, “Lord I am so full of weaknesses, all of which You know thoroughly, many bad habits and weaknesses of character developed during 58 years of life, whereby I commit the same foolish and careless errors of behavior and speech over and over again. These weaknesses are like “thorns in the flesh”, which torment me over and over again, How much I wish to be free of these weaknesses, and “be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect.” ( Matthew 5:48) I well understand the words St. Paul spoke through your Holy Spirit in Romans 7:15–20,
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:15-20).
The Holy Spirit continued to help me pray in “wordless groans” and inspirations in which I said to the Lord, “Lord You know all things, You know me inside and out, just as it is written in Psalm 139, and so I say to You, these “thorns in the flesh” which are my stubborn, repetitive imperfections, weaknesses and venial sins, – Well, I simply praise You and Your “grace is sufficient for me.” My imperfections and faults and constant failings humble me and make me realize my utter need for You, for Your assistance, forgiveness and infinite mercy. I can do nothing in and of myself to overcome my sinful nature. Without You I can do nothing! I know that I cannot improve myself, for it is only through Your grace that I can be conformed to your Holy and Divine Image. Your grace is sufficient for me!
(“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.“ John 15 :5)
After being led by the Holy Spirit to pray this way to the Lord Jesus, I felt a great peace come over my soul. I knew I was loved and forgiven. I knew the Lord was with me and would always be with me. I trusted that He loves me just as I am and He will never stop blessing me with His grace to complete the good work that He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6 ) to ultimately bring me to perfection and glory according to His will.
Holy Mass began. When the priest came forward to proclaim the Gospel, I was beside myself with joy as I heard him read the passage of Holy Scripture for Sunday, July 8, 2018.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Thank you Lord that your Holy Spirit helps me to pray, and gives me wisdom! And thank You for confirming to me Your Presence, love, forgiveness, and guidance by the remarkable timing which You orchestrated that I would hear the same Gospel reading of the Thorn in the Flesh that your Holy Spirit inspired in my heart before the mass began! Yes, your Grace is sufficient for me!
From Got Questions website:
In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul calls the “thorn In the flesh” a “messenger of Satan” that had a purpose of “torment.” Many explanations have been put forward, but whether Paul is referring to a physical, spiritual, or emotional affliction—or something else entirely—has never been answered with satisfaction. Since he was not talking of a literal thorn, he must have been speaking metaphorically. Some of the more popular theories of the thorn’s interpretation include temptation, a chronic eye problem, malaria, migraines, epilepsy, and a speech disability. Some even say that the thorn refers to a person, such as Alexander the coppersmith, who did Paul “a great deal of harm” (2 Timothy 4:14). No one can say for sure what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, but it was a source of real pain in the apostle’s life.
Paul clues us in concerning the thorn’s purpose: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations.” So, God’s goal in allowing the thorn in the flesh was to keep Paul humble. Anyone who had encountered Jesus and was commissioned personally by Him (Acts 9:2-8) would, in his natural state, become “puffed up.” Add to that the fact that Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to write much of the New Testament, and it is easy to see how Paul could become “haughty” (KJV) or “exalted above measure” (NKJV) or “too proud” (NCV).
Paul also says that the affliction came from or by a “messenger of Satan.” Just as God allowed Satan to torment Job (Job 1:1-12), God allowed Satan to torment Paul for God’s own good purpose.
No one likes to live in pain. Paul sought the Lord three times to remove this source of pain from him (2 Corinthians 12:8). He probably had many good reasons why he should be pain-free: he could have a more effective ministry; he could reach more people with the gospel; he could glorify God even more! But the Lord was more concerned with building Paul’s character and preventing pride. Instead of removing the problem, whatever it was, God gave Paul more overwhelming grace and more compensating strength. Paul learned that God’s “power is made perfect in weakness” (verse 9).
The exact nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh is uncertain. There is probably a good reason that we don’t know. God likely wanted Paul’s difficulty to be described in general enough terms to apply to any difficulty we may face now. Whether the “thorn” we struggle with today is physical, emotional, or spiritual, we can know that God has a purpose and that His grace is all-sufficient.