Powerlessness

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Powerlessness | The common denominator throughout almost every experience that causes us suffering is that of powerlessness.  As people, we have limited ability to affect change in situations that are difficult for us or for those we care about | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #PowerlessnessPowerlessness

The common denominator throughout almost every experience that causes us suffering is that of powerlessness.  As people, we have limited ability to affect change in situations that are difficult for us or for those we care about. This in no way diminishes our fundamental value; it simply part of the human condition. We come into the world almost totally powerless.  As we grow and develop and gain power, we have to learn to navigate our abilities without running over others, literally and metaphorically. Even though our ability to cause change increases as time goes by, we still have limitations.  These limitations can at times mean inconvenience for us and at other times they may lead to great suffering.  Regardless of our age, we always have a limit to our power.

What we do with our powerlessness greatly affects our spiritual life, peace, and joy. If we meet times when we don’t have power with pride, our self-reliant response will fail. Our failure leads to shame and shame leads to a desire to hide. When we hide, the isolation can lead to disconnection and deeper suffering. We don’t have to look very far to see this pattern in people of all ages when faced with challenging situations. There is a better response.  We can choose to accept the fact of our helplessness and meet the difficulty with gratitude that all will be used by God as gift for us, no matter how painful it may seem at the time. When we choose this way of interpreting a difficult situation, our faith and hope in God transforms the very same situation. Even though from the outside it may seem that nothing has changed, our ability to stay aware of the truth that God is with us and for us can help us to remain at peace.

St. Francis of Assisi had a particular devotion to Jesus’ incarnation, his suffering and death on the cross, and the Eucharist. He was awestruck by the humility of the omnipotent God who chose to make himself powerless to stoop down to us and raise us up to him. In doing so, Jesus gave us these three profound examples of how to embrace our own powerlessness. When we have times when we are painfully out of control, we can take consolation in the fact that the Lord understands our experience and we can trust that he is present to us through them. They can be occasions for intimacy with him if we choose to endure them with him. There is something about accepting and even embracing our powerlessness that prevents us from complicating already difficult situations.  Walking through the trouble with Jesus enables us to reject the temptation to put inordinate pressure on ourselves (or others) to fix things that are beyond our control. Once we’ve done all the Lord has asked of us, we lay the experience at his feet with hope, not for a particular outcome, but hope in him and his goodness that will use the trial for our good.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What emotions arise in you when you think of Jesus choosing to embrace powerlessness as a baby, at his death, and in the Eucharist?
  2. What emotions arise in you when you think of being powerless?
  3. What do you think about the idea of embracing your powerlessness as imitation of the Lord?
  4. Do you think it would affect your experiences of suffering to consider them as occasions for intimacy with the Lord, as a sharing in his powerlessness and an imitation of him?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the immensity of your omnipotence and the exceeding humility with which you laid your majesty aside for our sake, to embrace the incarnation, your suffering, and to remain with us in the Holy Eucharist. Thank you for showing us how deeply you desire intimacy with us and for leaving us examples of how to embrace the powerlessness of our humanity. Help us to remember that you are with us always in the Blessed Sacrament. We pray all this in your holy name. Amen.

Action Step

Find a time our Lord set aside his omnipotence for our sake and place a reminder of it, either as a scripture quote, an image, a song, etc., somewhere you will see it throughout the week.

Journaling/Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you what you most fear about your own powerlessness and invite his perfect love into that place of fear.

Scriptures for Meditation

Mark 10:45

Luke 1:26-38

John 13:3-72

Corinthians 8:9

Philippians 2:5-11

Hebrews 4:15

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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