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Power Through Powerlessness – Henri Nouwen

October 7, 2022

The movement from power through strength to power through powerlessness is our call. As fearful, anxious, insecure, and wounded people we are tempted constantly to grab a little bit of power that the world around us offers, left and right, here and there, now and then. These bits of power make us little puppets jerked up and down on strings until we are dead. But insofar as we dare to be baptized in powerlessness, always moving toward the poor who do not have such power, we are plunged right into the heart of God’s endless mercy. We are free to reenter our world with the same divine power with which Jesus came, and we are able to walk in the valley of darkness and tears, unceasingly in communion with God, with our heads erect, confidently standing under the cross of our life.

It is this power that engenders leaders for our communities, women and men who dare to take risks and take new initiatives. It is this power that enables us to be not only gentle as doves, but also as clever as serpents in our dealings with governments and church agencies. It is this power that enables us to talk straight and without hesitation about sharing money with those who have financial resources, to call men and women to radical service, to challenge people to make long-term commitments in the world of human services, and to keep announcing the good news everywhere at all times. It is this divine power that makes us saints—fearless—who can make all things new.

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