Befriending the Stranger – Jean Vanier

Here’s a passage from Jean Vanier’s “Befriending the Stranger” that I felt was worthy to post here:

Jesus came into the world to re-create it,
to give it back its full meaning
to take away our limited vision of life,
a vision which prevents the birth of hope
and which paralyses us in front of all that seems impossible.
Yet “nothing is impossible for God…

Many of have been taught, for example,
that we should “do good to” the poor.
The gospel message tells us that it is the poor who do good to us.
A mother knows full well that her little child gives her life
just by the way he looks at her, smiles at her,
calls her, loves her and needs her.

Human beings grown from dependence of a child
to the independence of an adult.
In our journey with Jesus it is just the opposite:
we adults are called to become more and more like little children.
It is a reversal of our attitudes and certitudes.
We do not enter the Kingdom of God by becoming
more knowledgeable, more influential, more powerful;
but by becoming more humble, more gentle, more loving.
The Kingdom of God is the communion of hearts.

If we enter into personal relationships
with those who are weak and lonely,
– not just to do good to them, but to be with them
then we enter into a personal relationship with God.
And as we begin to celebrate life together
so we discover the heart of God.

-Jean Vanier (Befriending the Stranger 85-86)

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.