By Owen Phelps, Ph.D.
Director, Yeshua Institute
In our Nov. 9 issue I wrote about the connection between vulnerability and lasting, life-shaping power.
Later that week I noticed that Pope Francis had weighed in on topic of power -- saying that the desire to have power and assert it over others is an obstacle to serving God.
Junno Arocho Esteves, reporting for Catholic News Service, said Pope Francis told his audience that “to serve God, Christians must learn to be at the service of all and not be dominated by a desire to exert power and authority over others.”
During his Nov. 8 homily at daily Mass, the pope said Jesus made it clear that "he who commands must become like one who serves."
"This desire for power is not the path to becoming a servant of the Lord," Pope Francis added. "On the contrary, it is an obstacle; it is one of these obstacles that we have prayed to the Lord to keep far from us."
Keeping God first
Another problem that keeps Christians from serving the Lord freely is disloyalty. It occurs, he said, when "someone wants to serve the Lord but also wants to serve other things that are not the Lord."
"To be disloyal means to play both sides: to play to the right and to the left, to play to God and also to play to the world. This is an obstacle," the pope said. "He who desires power is the one who is disloyal; he can hardly serve and become a free servant of the Lord."
Those who succumb to the desire for power and disloyalty, he added, are robbed of peace and "always anxious," eventually giving in to "worldly vanity and living for appearances."
"We all want to serve the Lord with goodness and faithfulness, but we have need of his grace; alone, we can't," the pope said.
"Always ask for this grace, so that he may take away these obstacles, that he may give us this serenity, this peace of heart to serve him freely not as slaves but as (his) children.”