"The danger for those serving the poor"

That quote yesterday about "Santa Clauses" fits well with what I've thought and wrote before about "benefactors." Simply giving material handouts (or taking control of someone else's life) puts ourselves in the position of power and honor and can end up debilitating the one we're trying to help, enfeebling their spirit, rather than encouraging them to grow. My experience working here (and what I've seen) bears this out.

And I'm reminded of this passage from Jean Vanier's “The Broken Body” (one I found a couple summers ago when I was out walking):

In a special way,
for those of us called to live or work
with very broken people,
our purpose is to help them rise up
and discover and exercise their own gifts,
to discover their beauty and their capacity
to love and to serve.

The danger for those who are serving the poor
is to hold them back
by doing too much for them,
like parents who do too much
for their child with a handicap.
It is always easier to do things for people
than to help them find their dignity, and self-respect,
by doing things for themselves.
When we do too much,
not helping others to grow
or take responsibility for themselves,
are we not just serving ourselves?
--seeking power and a pedestal?
To serve broken people
means helping them, like a mother helps her child,
to discover their own gifts and beauty,
helping them to a greater independence,
so that gradually we may disappear.