I have a theory about the relationship between strengths and weaknesses. I have come to believe that the strengths that we are inclined to promote and which we intentionally cultivate often carry with them particular weaknesses. Although many talented people have flexible personalities that are able to adjust to new situations, everyone must come to terms with their limited perspectives and the shortcomings of their created nature.

I hold this theory because I have come to recognize and experience my limitations. Saying yes to one good thing often means saying no to many equally good things. There are only so many hours in the day, and we all must pick and choose our priorities. Due to this selection, many good and important things will have to go undone; many lesson must go unlearned. When we first begin our journey in this life, this can be a source of frustration and anxiety. It is a difficult thing, but we all must face our inadequacies.

There is something even more important. Our weaknesses bring out our need for others. We are made to be in relationship. This element of relationality is not simply to satisfy our natural needs, as if our relationships are the same as food and pleasure. It’s deeper than that. We need other people to discover our full potential. Our limited perspectives are insufficient in discovering and living the truth offered in Jesus Christ. Our intimacy with God and with neighbor is the means by which we discover who we are within the Body of Christ.

Awakening to our dramatic need for others is liberating. Instead of viewing the strengths and talents of others as a threat to our self-esteem, we learn that our flourishing is directly connected with our ability to work as a member of a team. This guides us along the path of true humility which teaches us that self-forgetting gives us the freedom to bring out the strengths of others. Humility awakens us to the reality that we have talents which must be actualized within the context of Christian communion.

To takes step towards this humility, we must be docile to the other. Our docility to the Holy Spirit gives us the foundation by which we learn to be receptive to our neighbor. The two play off of each other. As we recognize and come to experience our complete dependence on God, we also learn to recognize our complete dependence on our neighbor. Today, let us pray for this grace.