It’s fascinating to hear Paul, in the readings today, struggling to establish his bona fides as a real apostle to an audience that regards him with as much hostility as many converts today receive in some sectors of the Church.
But whatever any one dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. ¶ Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. ¶ Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. ¶ Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; ¶ on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; ¶ in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. ¶ Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? (2 Co 11:21–29).
As a hirsute flabmeister whose biggest danger is being unfriended on Facebook, it gives me perspective when I’m tempted to have pity party over some combox insult. Thanks for your labors, St. Paul. Pray for me that I be more of a witness and less of a whiner.