Jesus was a revolutionary, who did not become an extremist, since he did not offer an ideology, but Himself. He was also a mystic, who did not use his intimate relationship with God to avoid the social evils of his time, but shocked his milieu to the point of being executed as a rebel. . . . Every real revolutionary is challenged to be a mystic at heart, and he who walks the mystical way is called to unmask the illusory quality of human society. Mysticism and revolution are two aspects of the same attempt to bring about radical change. No mystic can prevent himself from becoming a social critic, since in self-reflection he will discover the roots of a sick society. Similarly, no revolutionary can avoid facing his own human condition, since in the midst of his struggle for a new world he will find that he is also fighting his own reactionary fears and false ambitions.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Jesus: Mystic and Prophet
• Called to the Field of Compassion to Be Both Prophet and Mystic
• Why Jesus Is My Man
• The Model of Leadership Offered by Jesus
For more of Henri Nouwen's wisdom at The Wild Reed, see:
• And As We Dance
• Active Waiting: A Radical Attitude Toward Life
• A Guidepost on the Journey • To Be Held and to Hold
• Lent with Henri
• In the Garden of Spirituality – Henri Nouwen
Image: Artist unknown.