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Those on the margins give us life

Henry Nouwen says, “Those who are marginal in the world are central in the Church, and that is how it is supposed to be! “Thus, we are called as members of the Church to keep going to the margins of our society. The homeless, the starving, parentless children, people with AIDS, our emotiona…
By Seth Barnes

Henry
Nouwen says, “Those who are marginal in the world are central in the
Church, and that is how it is supposed to be!

“Thus, we are called as
members of the Church to keep going to the margins of our society. The
homeless, the starving, parentless children, people with AIDS, our
emotionally disturbed brothers and sisters – they require our first
attention.

“We can trust that when we reach out with all our
energy to the margins of our society we will discover that petty
disagreements, fruitless debates, and paralyzing rivalries will recede
and gradually vanish. The Church will always be renewed when our
attention shifts from ourselves to those who need our care. The
blessing of Jesus always comes to us through the poor. The most
remarkable experience of those who work with the poor is that, in the
end, the poor give more than they receive. They give food to us.”

When
we claim our own poverty and connect our poverty with the poverty of
our brothers and sisters, we become the Church of the poor, which is
the Church of Jesus. Solidarity is essential for the Church of the
poor. Both pain and joy must be shared. As one body we will experience
deeply one another’s agonies as well as one another’s ecstasies. As
Paul says: “If one part is hurt, all the parts share its pain. And if
one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

Often
we might prefer not to be part of the body because it makes us feel the
pain of others so intensely. Every time we love others deeply we feel
their pain deeply. However, joy is hidden in the pain. When we share
the pain we also will share the joy.

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