Henri Nouwen on Passion

From “The Road to Daybreak”:

This moment when Jesus is handed over to those who do with him as they please is a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. It is turning from action to passion. After years of teaching, preaching, healing and moving to wherever he wanted to go, Jesus is handed over to the caprices of his enemies. Things are now no longer done by him, but to him. He is flagellated, crowned with thorns, spat at, laughed at, stripped and nailed naked to a cross. He is a passive victim, subject to other people’s actions. From the moment Jesus is handed over, his passion begins, and through his passion he fulfils his vocation.

It is important for me to realize that Jesus fulfils his mission not by what he does, but by what is done to him. Just as with everyone else, most of my life is determined by what is done to me and thus is passion. And because most of my life is passion, things being done to me, only small parts of my life are determined by what I think, say or do. I am inclined to protest against this and to want all to be action, originated by me. But the truth is that my passion is a much greater part of my life than my action. Not to recognize this is self-deception and not to embrace my passion with love is self-rejection.

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