Jean Vanier

We can only care for others if we are cared for

We can only care for others if we are cared for... Caring is not something sentimental; it means giving time, listening, affirming, understanding and encouraging. It means also challenging and evaluating, when necessary....To care for people does not mean to flatter them; it is to help them discover their own worth and their gifts, in order to grow in truth, and to accept their brokenness and shadow sides...

~ from LETTER TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN L'ARCHE by Jean Vanier

To forgive means to give life

To forgive means to give life, to remove what has been an obstacle to friendship and communion: those inner, psychological walls that had prevented dialogue or communicatíon. These walls are judgments that separate and isolate us from others and push people into anguish and inner death. To forgive means we no longer judge others. Forgiveness breaks down blockages to communication and communíon so that we can say to one another: I love you and want you to live.

~ from THE SCANDAL OF SERVICE by Jean Vanier

Solitude

For, when all is said and done, each of us, and in the deepest part of our self, has to learn to accept our own essential solitude. In each of our hearts, there is a wound -- the wound of our own loneliness which hurts at moments of setback and can be even more painful at the time of death. And all suffering, sadness and depression is a foretaste of that death, a manifestation of our deep wound which is part of the human condition. Because our hearts thirst for the infinite, they will never be satisfied with the limitations which are always a sign of death, a manifestation of our deep wound which is part of the human condition. Because our hearts thirst for the infinite, they will never be satisfied with the limitations which are always a sign of death. We can touch that infinite in art, music, poetry and silence. We can experience moments of communion and love, of prayer and ecstasy -- yet, they are only moments.

~ from COMMUNITY & GROWTH by Jean Vanier
Community and Growth
By Jean Vanier

I ask Jesus to help me grow old as He wants

We received a beautiful letter from Jean Vanier sharing his reflections on retreat as he celebrated his sixtieth birthday and the 25th anniversary of the L'Arche communities. He writes in part:

Sixty years is a turning point in life, and I am trying to prepare for it. I know that after sixty we begin to lose strength. I ask Jesus to help me grow old as He wants. If to disappear, how to trust others more, how to live with less power, but more from the grace of Jesus and the poor and to be more centered in prayer. In my prayer here I have a deeper desire to do the will of God, to be a friend and a servant of Jesus, and to let Jesus penetrate more and more into my whole being. Often my prayer has been just that: inviting Jesus to come with Light and Love into all the darkest, most hidden corners of my being.

~ Jean Vanier

We will be healed by the weak

Faith and Sharing celebrated their twentieth year with a retreat in Montreal in July. Jean Vanier shared out of his experience in the Faith and Light and the L'Arche Communities around the world the healing power of the poor. "The power of the powerless is to touch people in their hearts ... We will be healed by the weak ... To love someone is to reveal they are important, to reveal their beauty, to spend time with them."

~ from WELCOMING JESUS IN THE POOR by Jean Vanier
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