The Spirituality of Ministry

A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's depictio...

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A quote from Henri Nouwen

“…Jesus to his Apostles the day before his death: ‘No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.’ (Jn 15:13)

“For me these words summarize the meaning of all Christian ministry. If teaching, preaching, individual pastoral care, organizing, and celebrating are acts of service that go beyond the level of professional expertise, it is precisely because in these acts ministers are asked to lay down their own lives for their friends. There are many people who, through long training, have reached a high level of competence in terms of understanding human behavior but few who are willing to lay down their own lives for others and make their weakness a source of creativity. For many individuals professional training means power. But ministers, who take off their clothes to wash the feet of their friends, are powerless, and their training and formation are meant to enable them to face their own weakness without fear and make it available to others. It is exactly this creative weakness that gives the ministry its momentum.”

(Nouwen, Henri, Ministry and Spirituality; New York: The Continuum Publishing Co., 2000; p 93)

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