“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, January 08, 2007

Henri Nouwen on the contribution of the marginalized

In preparation for a class I am teaching, I was doing some research on Henri J. Nouwen. He was an amazing man. A professor and author who ultimately met Jean Vanier, and lived in the Daybreak community in Canada (one of the L'Arche communities). Anyway, in doing the research, I came across the combination of one of his sermons and a brief interview with him. I particularly point you to the inverview which is at the bottom of the webpage hosted by "thirty good minutes." I would encourage you to view the entire webpage.

In one part of the interview there, there is the following interchange.
Hardin: We don't see these people as fitting in, do we? We have a misconception about them that is very sad.

Nouwen: It is very true. Quite often people with handicaps, whatever their handicaps, are considered marginal in our society. They don't make money; they are not productive and all of that, but they are the real poor. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor." Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are those who care for the poor." Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are those who help the poor." He says, "Blessed are the poor." That means the blessing of God is right there in their vulnerability, in their weakness, and that is what I experience. God gives enormous gifts to people who come to our community through those who are most weak and handicapped.

Now that is a fascinating read on the words of Jesus. Nouwen sees enormous gifts given to those who are with persons with disabilities just through their presence together. "The parts we think are unimportant are absolutely essential."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the quote by Nouwen about blessed are the poor. And especially the part, of how blessing of God is right there in their vulnerability, in their weakness. It's really good.

Julie R. Okc, OK