One of my favorite bedtime stories as a child was The Little Engine That Could. A tiny switch engine working in a train yard is asked to pull a freight train with a heavy load over a steep grade. Bigger, stronger engines had refused because the work was too hard, but the little engine agrees to try. As he builds up steam pulling the long line of cars filled with cargo, the miniature locomotive repeats the mantra, I think I can, many times over. As he reaches the peak and starts to coast down the other side, he cries out enthusiastically: I thought I could; I thought I could!
The iconic tale reminds its readers that perceived powerlessness need not hold us back. In particular, Christians rejoice over their weaknesses in order to make room for the power of Christ to live within them. As Saint Paul says in the second reading today, we should be “content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints,” because it is when we can admit that we are “weak,” then we truly become “strong.”
The practice of stewardship is a daunting spirituality. It requires generosity when resources are scarce, devotion when time is limited, and commitment when talents are needed elsewhere. We may see ourselves as too weak, too poor, too untalented, or too exhausted to give back the best portion of our blessings to God. But as the Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, think that you can, and through his grace and power you will.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
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