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Powerlessness

“…we live with powerlessness on a daily basis. We also see that in spite of this, terrible things are not always happening. In fact, most of the time they are not….We can choose to feel powerless and believe that we have no option other than to let these events act on us, or we can lean into them and begin exploring what healthy actions we can take.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Well-intentioned others may even try to stop me from admitting my own powerlessness—either out of fear for where it might lead me, or perhaps because they have come to depend on the version of me they know—the shiny surface of my mask. But in truth it is a relief when I surrender this mask, this false life that I have been calling my own and trying to manage on my own. I have received life as a gift from God, and I must return it to Him, for the one who loses his life for Christ’s sake gains it (Matt.16:25)…My surrender to God, my admission of powerlessness, my admission that I cannot truly rely on myself: these align me with reality, with truth. These put me in touch with life as it really is, and this is a step away from masks of shame and into humility.” (Andrew Williams)


“It is the depth of our love that determines the intensity of our weeping. Through tears, we give up our infantile images of God and give in to the living image of God. We confess our personal powerlessness and profess divine powerfulness. Tears confirm our readiness to allow our life to fall apart in the dark night of the soul, and to assume our new life in the resurrection of the dead. It is the grace to accept and appreciate that our limited perspective of life should be forgone in the light of an unlimited perspective of full life.” (Deacon John Chryssavgis)


“It is quite possible for our lives to be dominated by things that have no existence. Our dreams and fantasies, our fears and anxieties, take on an existence that overwhelms everything else. Not only can such concerns not be defeated on their own ground (they are the masters of the unreal world) they must be slowly dragged onto the very ground of reality, Christ Himself, so that they can be revealed in their powerlessness and swept away with the dust of non-being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Satan is highly overrated. Orthodox hymns celebrate Satan’s defeat and powerlessness in the face of Christ, the incarnate God. Christ defeats Satan by becoming part of creation – entering creation through the incarnation. It is in Christ’s self-emptying of His divinity and uniting Himself to humanity that Satan is defeated. In other words, God uses the created order to defeat Satan. God humbles Himself and becomes human to triumph over Satan. Mary, the Virgin Theotokos, helps make this, our salvation, possible. Satan, a creature, is defeated when God and the rest of creation cooperate (synergy). Humans, with God’s help, are able to defeat Satan because Satan is just not that powerful. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“Coming to terms with and making peace with our own powerlessness is the main aspect of letting go of control. In essence, we redefine powerlessness; rather than seeing it as a threat, we see it as the waiting room where we have our encounters with God and His providence…Eventually we reach a point where we see that the space of our own powerlessness is precisely the space where God acts, where He surprises us. It is here that we most clearly see God’s providence and activity. It truly is the space of miracles. Indeed, God often drops the most beautiful gifts into our lap when we are powerless and not in control.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“It is the innocence, weakness, and powerlessness of the poor that seems to create fertile ground for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The struggle for those of us within the middle-class (I do not imagine many of the poor read my blog) can often be described as seeking to acquire by virtue what many of the poor have by necessity. Is it any wonder that the monastic life seeks the weakness of poverty? I think we often elevate monastics like a spiritual talisman while we intend to do everything in our power to be nothing like them.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The 12-Step model strongly asserts that genuine recovery can only begin with each person only after the bravest act of courage and humility, when the “penitent” unconditionally acknowledges his or her powerlessness over this activity. These persons must declare that their lives have become “totally unmanageable” because of their addiction and that God alone is able to restore life to sanity. As a result of this unconditional surrender, they immediately turn their lives over to Him before taking another step forward. And this act is repeated one day at a time, day after day. For me as…[a] Christian living in contemporary society, this approach to repentance feels eerily familiar…usually, in a very good way.” (Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald, MDiv, PhD)


“…when I admit my powerlessness, then I am in position to truly turn my life and my will over to God as I understand Him. And in my powerlessness is my strength.” (Albert S. Rossi, PhD)


“My research on the internet, interesting as they are, cannot in fact supply me with “The Big Picture.” This is means, sad to relate, that I in fact am not in a position to pontificate or fix everyone’s problems. This does not mean that I cannot do anything. As the child’s hymn reminds me, I can still “shine with a clear, pure light.”… In short, part of my “shining with a clear pure light” involves accepting my own powerlessness. I cannot really fix great problems by my words because I lack the wisdom to do so. I can add my voice and make my little contribution to ongoing debates which concern me (assuming that they really do concern me), but I must do so realizing that I lack “The Big Picture.” At the end of the day, I remain confined to my small corner, as you do to yours. But that is okay, and the realization of it can be liberating. For on the Last Day, the Lord will not demand of me why I did not weigh in on every single debate and fix His world, but rather on how clearly I shone, and how fervently I prayed.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)


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