The Thorn in the Flesh and The Work

Michael B-C

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... you get the strong impression that the 'thorn in the flesh' must have been something to do with infirmities, i.e. physical issues of sickness or weakness.

That's very much my take on it too. I have wondered if it was in some way shameful to Paul and perhaps connected to his own actions in youth or an inherited more substantial defect than something such as a weakness of the eye etc (though this could be one of the symptoms of a wider more systemic issue). The term 'thorn in the flesh' is amplified by it being 'the messenger of Satan'. The use of the word 'flesh' so close to the naming of 'Satan' may have connotations of having at one time in his past succumbed to the hidden drives of the flesh i.e. lust or even perhaps being the offspring of such a union that led to issues post birth. Syphilis, either inherited from the mother or contracted by the individual can lead - when untreated - to significant long term problems that riddle the body with perpetual pain and discomfort. For example on inherited Syphilis:

Signs & Symptoms​

Congenital syphilis is acquired by the fetus when the treponema pallidum spirochete is present in the mother. Pregnant women with syphilis may have a reduction in estrogen while serum progesterone levels may increase. Symptoms of early congenital syphilis usually appear at three to fourteen weeks of age but may appear as late as age five years. Symptoms may include inflammation and hardening of the umbilical chord, rash, fever, low birth weight, high levels of cholesterol at birth, aseptic meningitis, anemia, monocytosis (an increase in the number of monocytes in the circulating blood), enlarged liver and spleen, jaundice (yellowish color of the skin), shedding of skin affecting the palms and soles, convulsions, mental retardation, periostitis (inflammation around the bones causing tender limbs and joints), rhinitis with an infectious nasal discharge, hair loss, inflammation of the eye’s iris and pneumonia.

Symptoms of late congenital syphilis usually present themselves after age five and may remain undiagnosed well into adulthood. The characteristics of late congenital syphilis may be bone pain, retinitis pigmentosa (a serious eye disease), Hutchinson’s triad which is characterized by pegshaped upper central incisors (teeth), and interstitial keratitis which consists of blurred vision, abnormal tearing, eye pain and abnormal sensitivity to light, saddle nose, bony prominence of the forehead, high arched palate, short upper jawbone, nerve deafness and fissuring around the mouth and anus.

The term 'thorn in the flesh' could be code for sexuality as well as constant pain and irritation that never leaves one.

Syphilis has also been seen by mystics and sacred poets as a metaphor for the cost to the spirit of taking part in material existence with all its devilish traps. Shake-speare for example famously concluded his sonnet sequence with a double set of highly enigmatic verses that relate to the wisdom of finally unifying an understanding of fire and water, and the 'gifts' of the gods Apollo and Artemis, with having contracted the ever burning fire of Syphilis that can only be balanced by the gift of quenching spiritual water.

Pure conjecture and probably way off beam.
 

Bernardo GA

The Force is Strong With This One
I don’t know if this post is better suited in the Religion or The Work forum so, I will start here in the Work thread since that is the context of my question

For the at least the last 20 years, I have had a burning question or series of questions within me concerning what Paul wrote about the “thorn in his flesh”. I have read many traditional theological interpretations and even some speculative ones about what Paul was referring to in the following verses from 2 Corinthians chapter 12: 7 – 10 (KJV)

“7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
I have read what has been said in this thread, and my appreciation grows more and more.
Since I am not a researcher although I would like to be one, my reflections on this subject are based on what you have said here, comparing it with the scriptural passages quoted at the beginning.

Analyzing what Paul said in these passages, one can clearly see his brilliant performance as a true messenger of the Most High.
What comes from those heights, has the characteristic of not being encapsulable, and therefore, having the potential of help and application, whatever the context from where it is being contemplated or considered.

This explains why a good interpretation made by someone does not diminish its validity, even its mathematical coherence, in the presence of another good interpretation, made by another person or the same person, looking at it from another angle.

Regarding the specific issue of the "thorn in the flesh", I am thinking of several things.
Paul, like every human being, has both physical and psychological weaknesses, which make him complete in the possibility of understanding.

The impressive and shocking encounter with higher energies, which he evidently had, combined with the assistance he had in transmitting the messages from above, may have put him in an internal struggle, from which to my understanding he learned a lot.

Being part of the messages from on high, he tells how he interpreted what he was experiencing; how he prayed to the Lord; what Christ answered and informed him; and how, from those answers, he understood and appreciated the meaning of pain.

As I said before, when it comes to matters of a higher order, meanings do not fit into a box.
Let us look at this case of Paul.
Paul interpreted, to my mind very well, that Satan's messengers put a "thorn in the flesh" in him, which was probably a well-known expression at the time, to refer to torturous difficulties both physical and psychological.

Wherever the expression came from, it is evident that he was referring to something that so tormented him that he attributed it to the work of Satan.

The fact that when he asks the Lord for help, the latter does not remove this "sting" and that he was informed of the necessity of suffering for the perfection of the strength of Christ, does not mean that the installation of this "sting" was not the work of Satan.

We already know a few things about the predator's modus operandi.
We also know that the prevailing religion there, which we could call the regime, is the creation of the lizards.
To this day they are still waiting for a Messiah, whose characteristics could never be those of a simple person, nor would they accept to listen to what is being said by someone who has difficulties and/or notorious defects.

The people dominated, controlled and enslaved by the lizards would only pay attention to someone with extreme good looks and a very high social status.

The bestial behavior of the masses, despising and attacking Paul, suggests that he did not meet the necessary conditions to be heard by the masses, being visible to Paul and also to us, the hand of Satan as he called him, perhaps lizards to us, installing that "sting in the flesh" or visible thing, to prevent the mass of people from listening to him, thus guarding their food.

What I have wanted to say with all this is that the message that Paul transmits in this occasion, is rather directed to those who are doing the work, and not so much to the masses.

Paul in telling this experience, although he does it from his interpretation, serves the Divine cosmic mind, which uses this support or canvas to tell many things to the one who is doing the Work.

Nevertheless, Paul speaks to us from his high level of understanding.
Among other things, he tells us not to despise too much the severe difficulties that make us need the help of others.

This is essential for several reasons. The list of reasons would be very long, but I would like to mention a few of them:

No one can understand others without having problems of his own; some severe and persistent difficulty is a permanent reminder, which decreases the probabilities of deviating, in not applying what we ourselves intend to teach; when one has something to communicate that comes from the Most High, it can only be received by people with a tendency to serve others, who for example in this case, would be those who would approach Paul to help him, support him and accompany him, for the notorious difficulty he had.

I thank Pablo for his lasting dedication, and also you, who while doing the Work, investigate, search, find, and share.

Best regards.
 

Jefferson

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Cross posting here a point brought out by Approaching Infinity that adds to this 'thorn in the flesh' discussion.

There seems to more than just Paul's illness embedded in the "thorn in the flesh" statement. As was mentioned in the above thread, it could also include other particularly stubborn programs or weaknesses an individual struggles to overcome, but also this "thorn" could be a metaphorical reference to some demonic or hyperdimensional forces:

Also wanted to bring attention to this paper, which argues that in 1 Cor 7:5's reference to "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan" the thorn is a metaphor, the angel literal. In other words, while many have argued that Paul had some kind of illness, he may have intended to get across that he had a demon pestering him.

The "thorn in the flesh" tends to support Paul's exhortations in his other letters to keep vigilant, to persevere, to make protracted efforts to better oneself, "to fight the good fight", and to protect oneself from the evil forces around and within us.
 

BHelmet

The Living Force
“Paul interpreted, to my mind very well, that Satan's messengers put a "thorn in the flesh" in him, which was probably a well-known expression at the time, to refer to torturous difficulties both physical and psychological.”

I'd like to knit pick (or nit pick, if you prefer) one part of this a bit before agreeing with another part.

Today we have the internet and lightening fast communications that speed ideas and memes wide and far in a heartbeat. But in the days of Paul there was no such mechanism. Guys travelled around in boats or caravans in the areas where Paul was bouncing around and writing letters. Travel can not have been easy or fast. Not every traveller was articulate or a story teller. There were many languages and localized dialects to further complicate the dispersal of sayings, ideas and memes of widespread understanding. So, I think well-known "expressions" were not all that common. An assumption. But that is minor. ( ... Asia Minor! budda boom!)

I think things tended to be more literal rather than figurative back in that day.

So what is it about thorns themselves? What are the lessons that thorns teach even today? Certainly if you are walking around in sandals where there are no concrete sidewalks, you are going to get acquainted with all sorts of thorns. I have thistles in the yard, roses, blackberries ("God's Razor Wire" as I call it) Some are mere tiny irritations, some are like sharp needles, some have many hooks that work into the flesh. Some must be avoided like the plague. Sometimes they get under the skin and you have to dig them out and the digging is worse than the thorn itself. In short; there are many types of thorns that can pierce the flesh and teach different lessons. Sometimes you can try to ignore them or live with them but they are still a constant nagging presence. Of course some have to be dealt with immediately because they hurt like hell. (Kiawe comes to mind, for all the Hawaiians out there)

In a larger sense, I like your comment: "We already know a few things about the predator's modus operandi. We also know that the prevailing religion... is the creation of the lizards."

It has also been noted that the body itself is a creation of the lizards. And that the original fall was a descent into physicality.
(Oopsies, we forgot to tell you, you can't go back! Mwah Ha Ha")

So I take this "in the flesh" to mean that our bodies, the flesh itself, and all its attendant desires, temptations, functions and infirmities constitute the thorn.

Physicality/the human machine/what 'it' wants vs. Spirituality/Being/Self/Soul/Conscious awareness.

I do understand that any physical infirmity represented sin in some (many?) of those cultures. That WAS a universal idea back then. It is referenced in the gospels. So the bad eyesight etc.also rings true as physical infirmity being a reflection of spiritual sinfulness, hence, the psychological hand-wringing and deeper meaning of the thorn. Still, that echoes the idea that the flesh itself is the thorn.

And God won't remove it because without it, we aren't here having this conversation. Without the body, no crosses can be borne. (except perhaps in our minds or in the metaverse to come!)
 

zak

The Living Force
I share here the version taken from the Treatise on the Holy Spirit (chapter xvi) by Mgr Gaume:
(...)

Without mentioning the temptation of Our Lord in the desert, we find in the New Testament a similar mission given to the devil, with regard to Saint Paul. Let us listen to the great Apostle: "And lest the greatness of my revelations should make me proud, there was given to me the sting of my flesh, the angel of Satan, to buffet me. Therefore three times I asked the Lord to remove him from me, and He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for virtue is perfected in infirmity.'" (II Cor., XII, 7, 8.) Let us notice that St. Paul does not say, "An angel of Satan blows me away," but he says, "An angel of Satan has been given to me, datus est mihi, to blow me away." This angel, the commentators add, is no other than a demon to whom God allowed to tempt the chastity of the great Apostle, as he had allowed Satan himself to tempt the patience of Job (Datus est non a diabolo, sed a Deo; non quod Deus tentationis sit auctor, sed quia diabolo, tentare Paulum parato, id permisit, idque tantum, in specie et materia libidinis, ad eum humiliandum. Corn. Lap, ibid.)

But why does St. Paul call the attacks made on him by the angel of Satan bellows, and not simply temptations? Here it is: with regard to the saints, the temptations of the flesh produce the effect of a bellows applied to the cheek. They do not hurt them, but they make them red in the face and experience the salutary pains of humiliation. The greater the holiness, the deeper the humility, quanto magnus es, humilia te in omnibus. What could be more in keeping with the wise counsels of God concerning his chosen ones, than that Paul, elevated to the third heaven, should be constantly reminded of his weakness and nothingness by the demon most suited to humiliate him? This monitor," says Saint Jerome, "was given to Paul to repress pride in him; just as a slave is placed behind the triumphant one, on his chariot, to tell him again and again: Remember that you are a man. (Hic monitor Paulo datus est ad premendam superbiam; uti in curru trimnphali triumphanti datur monitor suggerens: Hominem te esse memento. Ep. XXV, ad Paulam, de obitu Bloesillae).

Paul understood the paternal intention of his divine Master. A generous athlete, he girds up his loins for battle, and, assured that the trial will bring shame to his enemy, he exclaims: "Well, I shall be glad of my blows, my humiliations, my infirmities; the fiercer the struggle, the greater will be the brilliance of the divine strength that fights in me" (II Cor., XII, 9).

Indeed, the East and the West, Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, see the tireless fighter pass by. In spite of his troublesome monitor, he marches from victory to victory, until the day when, the demon forever confounded, Paul sings the hymn of deliverance and eternal triumph: "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; all that remains is for me to receive the crown of righteousness" (II Thim., IV, 7.)
 

Voyageur

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What of the Greek word Thorn itself at that time? It seems it can get a little confusing.

The basics of Etymology looks at it this way:

thorn (n.)

Old English þorn "sharp point on a stem or branch," earlier "thorny tree or plant," from Proto-Germanic *thurnīn- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian thorn, Dutch doorn, Old High German dorn, German Dorn, Old Norse þorn, Gothic þaurnus), from PIE *trnus (source also of Old Church Slavonic trunu "thorn," Sanskrit trnam "blade of grass," Greek ternax "stalk of the cactus," Irish trainin "blade of grass"), from *(s)ter-n- "thorny plant," perhaps from root *ster- (1) "stiff."
Figurative sense of "anything which causes pain" is recorded from early 13c. (thorn in the flesh is from II Corinthians xii.7). Also an Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic runic letter (þ), named for the word of which it was the initial (see th).

So it makes sense. However then you get this argument on ᾰ̓́κᾰνθᾰ moved to "Thorn" - see wiki - see also Sho:

How confident can the Greek translation to Thorn be? I don't know, however must assume it is well known and thus how it is interpreted.

So, came across this priest, Father Mark Nolette, who looks at this question. On his website he starts off with:

“Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!” – The Wizard Of Oz

A little about him:

My name is Father Mark Nolette. I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Portland, Maine, in 1987. Since then, I have served as parochial vicar or pastor in a number of parishes across Maine. I received a J.C.L. in canon law in 1991 from the Catholic University of America. Accordingly, I have worked for the Tribunal of the Diocese of Portland since then.

By the early 2000’s, I began to sense a calling to a more contemplative and solitary way of living out my priesthood. I hesitated at first in speaking of this to my Bishop, knowing that there is a shortage of priests and believing that he would not understand or perceive the value of such a vocation. When I finally told him, he was quite supportive. In 2010, I began to live as a priest/hermit at Transfiguration Hermitage in Windsor, ME, while maintaining weekend parish ministry. In 2015, I moved to St Agnes Rectory in Pittsfield, ME. It was unused by the parish, and was much closer to my weekend ministry than the Hermitage was.

In the meantime, a comment from a friend led me to wonder if I might be autistic. I had never given that possibility any thought before. In 2014, I was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (now usually referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD). That diagnosis, and the reading I did about autism, led me to rethink my entire life as it explained some facets of my life that nothing else had explained before. Parish ministry, while never easy for me, was becoming more and more exhausting. I was experiencing more frequent bouts with anxiety and depression. My psychologist eventually recommended that I do no more public ministry. This led, eventually, to my retirement from public ministry in July of 2020.

This continues...

And then he gets directly into the question of A Thorn In The Flesh? from a separate article.

Up front Father Mark states that "The Greek word that Paul uses here – skolops – can mean “thorn”. But it had another meaning in Paul’s time"

Ashworth in Paul's Necessary Sin - if recalled correctly, sees Timothy equate the Cross with post i.e., a sign post and Thorn was a thorn. Here below, Father Mark looks to the Cross as a stake, as does Thorn (skolops) to a sharpened stake.

Whatever the case, this article is what caught my attention, whether he is right or wrong, and thought it should be read.

Due to his vocation, Father Mark has a firmly held gloss, however with autism he has a slightly different take. He also wrote about covid in April 2020, and not about vaccines. He wrote in 2022 Demons Really? Last paragraph:


Yes, Virginia, there are demons. There are dark powers who mean us harm – even if they present themselves (at first) as angels of light. We should not ignore their presence. At the same time, we need not give in to some paralyzing fear. We are never alone. People who love us are never far. We are surrounded by angels and saints who strengthen us. Christ Himself has promised to be with us always. His grace can cast out these evil attacks, and teach us that we can trust fully, like children, in the love of our Lord.

Back to a A Thorn In The Flesh?

“A thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7

In this Sunday’s second reading, Paul presents us with this well-known image of the “thorn in the flesh”. Anyone who has handled roses or similar plants can get a feel for the image. A thorn in one’s skin is painful and not always easy to dislodge. It is an unwelcome nuisance. At times, people use the image of a “thorn in the flesh” to refer to someone they find difficult to deal with or tolerate; someone who offers them a severe test of their patience. Is this what Paul means when he writes this to the Corinthians, though?

Paul describes this “thorn” as so difficult to endure that he begged the Lord repeatedly that it be taken away from him. To put that in perspective, read what Paul says about his life a few verses before this in this very same letter to the Corinthians:

Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fasting, through cold and exposure. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)

Now, would someone who describes such experiences as an ongoing part of his life feel overwhelmed by a mere thorn?

The Greek word that Paul uses here – skolops – can mean “thorn”. But it had another meaning in Paul’s time:

“According to certain texts, the term refers to sharpened wooden stakes (1) that form a palisade for defensive purposes, (2) that are placed in a pit or depression on the hopes that opposing soldiers might fall upon them to their great distress, or (3) that are used to impale an enemy as a means of torture.” (New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 11, p. 165)

Paul knows himself to be an apostle called by Christ and sent as a missionary to the Gentiles. He also knows that the Lord has already achieved many great things through him. Paul, who at times portrays Satan and his angels in military terms, knows that Satan is aware of this success and doubtless wants to stop it. So, this “thorn in the flesh” is actually some trap or palisade thrown in Paul’s way by Satan in an attempt to trap Paul and stop his ministry – a trap that feels, to Paul, very much like having a wooden stake thrust through his body. This trap, then, seems like a danger not only to his ministry but to his very life. No wonder he begs the Lord that it might be removed.

Paul never says what this “thorn” or “stake” is. He is writing to the community at Corinth, a community he founded and knows well – and they know him well. Paul assumes that they know what he is talking about. Many scholars have put forward various guesses as to what Paul meant. The fact is that we will never know for certain. It is quite clear, though, that Paul experiences it as more dangerous than any other suffering he has had to endure – and that is saying a lot!

Paul begs the Lord, again and again, that this stake be removed. The Lord refuses. It is not removed. Why? The Lord does not give so much an explanation but a twofold assurance: The Lord’s grace is sufficient, and the Lord’s power is perfected in human weakness.

The sufficiency of the Lord’s grace is a major theme in Paul’s letters. The letter to the Romans, in particular, is shot through with it. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (5:20). Grace will have the last word in the end (5:21) {full stop here, as this reminded me of the C's crop circle comment on Grace}. Moreover, it is Paul’s conviction that nothing, no matter how severe, can happen for which God does not also provide some way out, a “new exodus” (1 Cor 10:13). Accordingly, though Paul does not claim that God causes all things to happen as they do, he does say that God works in all things to bring about good for all who love him (Rom 8:28). So, although God did not cause the stake to happen to Paul (it was Satan’s trap), God can work through it to keep Paul from getting too elated over the extraordinary revelations he was given (2 Cor 12:7). God can make what was an evil thing into a means of blessing.

The conviction that the Lord’s power is perfected or brought to its fullness in human weakness is also a basic Pauline conviction. The very beginnings of faith are a prime example of this (Rom 5:6). Human beings, no matter what abilities they may have, cannot save themselves or free themselves from sin. What we cannot achieve is given to us by the Lord – an act of grace. Earlier in 2 Corinthians, Paul uses the image of human beings as earthen vessels into which God pours such treasure (2 Cor 4:7) “to show that the overwhelming power is from God and not from us”.

Nowhere is any of this better illustrated than by focusing our attention on the Cross of Christ. It would not be hard to portray the Cross as a “stake” that Satan uses against Christ in an attempt to trap Him and stop His ministry – a stake which is transformed by the Lord into the ultimate act of love and the ultimate source of salvation. The Cross is also a sign of human weakness through which the power of the Lord is perfected. It is no surprise, then, that Paul is resolved to preach nothing but Christ, and Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2). When Paul tells the Galatians, “Let no one make troubles for me, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body” (Gal 6:17), he is very likely referring to this same “stake” or “thorn”, which he sees as literally his sharing in the Cross of Christ and which he can embrace and even boast about. To die with Christ also means to rise with Him and to live with Him. This, for Paul, does not happen only after his physical death. It begins now, as he dies to his “old” self so that the Lord is free to do many gracious things through him.

And what about us? Even if the challenges of our lives may not appear – at least to onlookers- to be on the same level as Paul’s, how are they for us? What is our own “stake” or “thorn”? Is there a “skolops” in your life, or mine? Something that feels like a very dangerous trap, like a wooden stake through our body, from which we cannot escape?

My guess is that most, if not, tall of us have such a “skolops” in each of our lives – or we soon will, if we don’t just yet. A trap that feels fiendishly designed just for you or me, exploiting our most vulnerable weaknesses and deepest anxieties. A trap that seeks to stop us from the mission the Lord has given us. A trap from which we might also beg to be freed, again and again – but that release does not come.

What then? Has God abandoned us to the trap? “By no means!”, Paul would say. God is already several steps ahead of that trap (at least!). Where sin abounds, grace all the more abounds. Look, Paul would tell us, for signs of this grace. Might God be transforming that trap, that seemingly evil thing, into a means of grace for you? Might that grace be not only for you but for others? Might this not become your own sharing in the seeming weakness of the Cross, so that the power of Christ might be at work in you and through you?

Paul would insist that this is no mere rationalization, no sugar-coating of a bad situation. The Lord is faithful and will provide us with a way out. God will work through this trap, this evil thing, this overwhelming reality, and transform it ultimately into a means of love.

Whenever you find yourself severely tested by whatever trap you find yourself in, let me recommend this. Take it to prayer before the Lord. Begin with Psalm 22 and read it through. It gives voice at first to the fear that God has forsaken us, and expresses in very vivid language the sufferings we can face, but then moves to a renewal of faith in the Lord and what the Lord does for those who are committed to Him. Likewise, the last Song of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52-53) that we read on Good Friday. Then, for the coup de grace, turn to Romans 8:18-39 and let Paul point the way to the Lord’s grace and lift your spirits on high. What once seemed like certain death will suddenly feel like new life. God does not disappoint!
 

Wandering Star

The Living Force
There is a phrase from a movie that I saw a long time ago that I did not understand when I heard it but that is enormously true:

No good deed goes unpunished!

The system reacts immediately to any action that defies the established.

It is certain that you have seen the aggressive reaction of people when you confront them with the truth and with everything that has happened in the last two years, there was always, always someone who, when I tried to comment on something that contradicted the "media current", would counterattack with aggressiveness crushing my attempt. Perhaps something would remain in the mind of the person listening, a doubt perhaps, but he always had confirmation from another person that going with the flow was the right thing to do.

So, we are where we are and we will always receive a puncture in the flesh as payment for genuine acts of kindness.

Balance perhaps, as the C's told Laura in response to the reason for her (I'm paraphrasing) part of her "evils".
 

Wandering Star

The Living Force
(Joe) So, when you asked in a previous session about your suffering...

(L) What suffering?

(Joe) In general at different times when you were suffering from different ailments or things... The response was that suffering was necessary to balance the knowledge that was given to the world, or words to that effect. The suffering was necessary as a result of spreading knowledge. I was wondering why that's necessary?

A: Balance.

Q: (Joe) Yeah, right. That's what they said last time. But... When someone works a lot to discover information and share it with the world, they've already suffered to acquire that knowledge. When they spread it, then they're in for another dose it seems.

(L) Is it the spreading that brings the additional suffering?

A: Yes. Think of something like Mouravieff's "General Law".

Q: (L) So in other words, if I just kept it to myself and I didn't create a stir, inciting others to struggle against the General Law, I wouldn't suffer so much?

A: Yes

Q: (Artemis) If you think about it, knowledge and information is like light and truth. Darkness hates light and truth...

(L) Well, my sorrow for the lack of knowledge that others labor under exceeds my concern for my suffering, I think. I would rather do the suffering than to have others suffer. Perhaps I bite off more than I can chew, but so far, I have always thought it was worth it. Okay, anything else.
 

Kay Kim

The Living Force
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It seems like some of suffering is beneficial for us!

A: Suffering activates neuro-chemicals which turn on DNA receptors.

Q: (A) I don't want to suffer if so! And to have my receptors ... (L) We'll have to invent a special suffering just for that. (A) Okay dear. [Laughter.] (L) Well we must be getting smarter with all the suffering we did back in July through January with this Vincent Bridges business. We must've really gotten smart cause we were really suffering and it culminated in incredible suffering. But I do not want anymore infections. That was not the right kind of suffering. But maybe that was evidence of neuro-chemicals being turned on! When we had our sicknesses in January I was very, very sick first, for about the same exact period of time that Ark was very, very sick. We both had massive infections that were hard to fight. We had to get major antibiotics. The pain was horrible. What was the cause of these infections?

A: Laura, Ark: First opening was stress. Second part was directed wave of negative energy. Third was bacteria activated by this frequency. End result was response from your system which did act beneficially.
 

BHelmet

The Living Force
And what was Paul’s original tongue before the Greek Enforcers converted the message into Greek? What is thorn in that language? Were the letters originally in Turkish?! (Saul of Tarsus). If Paul wrote his letters to a bunch of Christian enclaves in Greece ( Thessaloniki Corinth Philippi) was he writing in Greek? Did he write to the Romans in Latin? I guess I am saying it’s important to remember, according to the C’s, the gospels were filtered.
 

Jefferson

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
It is certain that you have seen the aggressive reaction of people when you confront them with the truth and with everything that has happened in the last two years, there was always, always someone who, when I tried to comment on something that contradicted the "media current", would counterattack with aggressiveness crushing my attempt. Perhaps something would remain in the mind of the person listening, a doubt perhaps, but he always had confirmation from another person that going with the flow was the right thing to do.

So, we are where we are and we will always receive a puncture in the flesh as payment for genuine acts of kindness.
I guess the key here is applying situational awareness and external consideration when we "comment".

These days, for most of those around us, the difficult topics are best avoided, as people are unlikely receptive to the message that "the elites hate you, think you are nothing more than talking cattle, prefer you would disappear, lie to you and manipulate you". This is because a large cohort is unable to fathom that their governments, authorities, and PTB do not care about them.

Applying awareness one can sense if there is a genuine questioning mind. Most often it is best not to "comment" but be gentle and compassionate, knowing the limbic systems of these people are screaming at them to avoid the pain and do everything to avoid and not face the ever-apparent reality around them.

No one-size-fits-all standard response exists for these situations, and each specific interaction and context will require a particular and specific response.
 

Voyageur

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And what was Paul’s original tongue before the Greek Enforcers converted the message into Greek? What is thorn in that language? Were the letters originally in Turkish?! (Saul of Tarsus). If Paul wrote his letters to a bunch of Christian enclaves in Greece ( Thessaloniki Corinth Philippi) was he writing in Greek? Did he write to the Romans in Latin? I guess I am saying it’s important to remember, according to the C’s, the gospels were filtered.

It may have been Koine (common) Greek (language of NT), and it may not have been.

Reading The Greek Element in Paul's Letters by Rev. George Holley Gilbert, PH.D.,D.D. - from 1909 (there is a general Jesus gloss that is the norm), make comparisons with passages and Greek words and works, especially the Stoic's. See below as example.

It also seems to look/critique the work of Edwin Hatch's (1897) work of The influence of Greek ideas and usages upon the Christian church (this can be downloaded and have not looked through it).

Stoic reference:
But practically far more important was Paul's introduction into Christian thought of the Greek (Stoic) conception of "conscience" (συνείδηση). The term is found in the New Testament only in Paul's letters, in Hebrews, and I Peter. In Paul's use, which "corresponds accurately to that of his Stoic contemporaries," the word has a somewhat wider significance than our "conscience" (e.g 1 Cor. 8:8-10; comp. 1 Cor. 4:4), yet in general it has an ethical sense and denotes the faculty or power of judging the moral quality of actions (Rom. 2:15; I Cor. 10:29). Through this one term Paul has made us heirs of one of the noblest achievements of Greek thought.

Further (of many):
In his conception of Christianity as an organism and as a cult Paul reveals an even more marked influence of Greek thought. Thus, in the first place, the designation of the Christian body as an ecclesia points to Greek history rather than to Jewish. The associations of the word are quite unlike those of the synagogue. It suggests the political status of the free self-governing Greek city, not the rule of hierarchy or of scribe. It meant the assembly of citizens called out to consult or act for the common good. Thus the use and associations of the word in Christian history and at the present are somewhat narrower and more religious than in Paul's time.

The author cites Corinth a number of times in an overly Greek leaning, and this is only an abstracted paper, and it is old.
 

Bernardo GA

The Force is Strong With This One
And what about us? Even if the challenges of our lives may not appear – at least to onlookers- to be on the same level as Paul’s, how are they for us? What is our own “stake” or “thorn”? Is there a “skolops” in your life, or mine? Something that feels like a very dangerous trap, like a wooden stake through our body, from which we cannot escape?

My guess is that most, if not, tall of us have such a “skolops” in each of our lives – or we soon will, if we don’t just yet. A trap that feels fiendishly designed just for you or me, exploiting our most vulnerable weaknesses and deepest anxieties. A trap that seeks to stop us from the mission the Lord has given us. A trap from which we might also beg to be freed, again and again – but that release does not come.
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Thank you for asking those questions.
It leads to deep reflection.
It points towards self-knowledge, which in my opinion, is the most important subject in this 3D school, so dense in catalysts or decision opportunities.
 
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