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What an affirming statement: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." This is the spirit of Step One, recognition of our powerlessness in the face of the troubles and temptations and sins of our wounded nature in this broken world. Christ came to redeem, and this redemptive power of His is available to all who have the humility to accept their powerlessness. Once accepted, there is no situation too dark that the light of Christ can't pierce it. This is evidenced many times over and through the centuries in the lives of the Saints. There was no unhappiness too great to be lessened, no obstacle too great to be hurdled.
The Example of the Saints
Some Saints had to overcome slavery. With the power of grace, the stigma of having been a slave did not defeat these saints. For example, in the first Canon of the Mass, we have the twelve apostles given and then the next twelve, "Linus, Cletus, Clement, etc." The one that leads the group, St. Linus, was St. Peter's successor. St Linus was a slave!
In the same Canon we have the early female martyrs: "Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, etc." Here, too, the one that leads the list was a slave, St. Felicity.
The most renown Saint who was a slave, who in our culture is celebrated with great festivity each year, is St. Patrick. He was kidnapped as a teenager and made a slave by his captors. At the age of 22 he was able to escape and finally return home. And here is the beauty of Christ's Gospel: the Christian cannot take revenge on his enemies but must, in spite it all, learn to return a blessing. So St. Patrick returned home and became a priest and returned to his slaveholders and brought them the Catholic faith. It was the first time in history that a people-the Irish-suffered no martyrdom in becoming Christian.
Some Saints were conceived through the crime of rape and yet this, too, His power could overcome. I met a woman some years ago who was raped at knife point. Coming from a devoutly Christian family, she refused to abort the child she conceived. She gave birth to a lovely girl and gave her up for adoption. Twenty years later that girl, wanting to know her background, found her birth mother and, of course, wanted to know why she was given up for adoption. Her mother explained how she had been raped at the age of 16 just three blocks from her home. She said her daughter's first words were, "Thank God you didn't have an abortion!" She couldn't believe it, that she had been conceived through rape! St. David, the patron Saint of Wales was conceived in the same way.
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