The powerlessness of Christ

“You can look at a slum or a peasant village,
but it is only by entering into the world
— by living in it —
that you begin to understand
what it is like to be powerless,
to be like Christ.”

Penny Lernoux

 Penny Lernoux, journalist, author of books and articles on the Latin American church, including the classic Cry of the Poor, died on October 8, 1989.

As she grew ill she recognized that in her illness she was experiencing something of the struggle of the Latin American poor she had loved and lived with. As she wrote:

“I feel that I’m walking down a new path. It’s not physical fear or fear of death, because the courageous poor in Latin America have taught me a theology of life that, through solidarity and our common struggle, transcends death. Rather, it is a sense of helplessness — that I who always wanted to be the champion of the poor am just as helpless — that I, too, must hold out my begging bowl; that I must learn — am learning — the ultimate powerlessness of Christ. It is a cleansing experience. So many things seem less important, or not at all, especially the ambitions.”

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