Dec. 2, 2015 Wednesday: 1st Week of Advent
He broke the loaves and gave them to the crowds. (Matthew 15:36)
Ruth Stull was a woman given to a cause—the natives of Peru. Originally from Ohio, Ruth traveled to Peru to share the gospel with them. It wasn’t an easy vocation, and there were times that she must have felt as crumbly as the bread that Jesus held in his hands in today’s Gospel reading. But Ruth saw great hope and consolation in this story, not an occasion to worry about herself. “If my life is broken when given to Jesus,” she once said, “it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.”
What a wonderful perspective! Of course, very few of us are called to share the gospel in a Peruvian jungle, but we have all experienced what it’s like to be tested and tried—and divided into many pieces—in the course of doing God’s will. Parents experience this as they pour themselves out for their children. Priests experience it as they minister to their many parishioners. Everyone experiences it with the everyday demands of life! We know that we are able to touch so many more people if we allow ourselves to be “broken and scattered” than if we remain safe in our comfort zones.
We all face situations in which we feel fragile or unsure as to whether there is enough of us to go around. But here’s the miracle and the paradox. If we can place ourselves in Jesus’ hands as we keep moving forward, we’ll find his comfort and strength—and we’ll end up bearing much more fruit than we ever thought we could.
We may think that we are most suited to help people when we feel strong and capable. And of course we need to take care of ourselves so that we don’t become exhausted or dispirited. But many times, it’s when we feel weak that God works most powerfully through us.
Ruth Stull learned to “boast most gladly” in her weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can, too.
Today, keep repeating these simple words: “When I am weak within myself, then Jesus will be strong in me.” It’s not a paradox. It is a simple statement of faith in God’s grace and strength.
“Lord, give me the strength to work hard, the peace to survive my demands, and the desire to give myself generously to others.”
The Word Among Us