07 May 2019, The Tablet

Words and wisdom from Jean Vanier


'All of us have a secret desire to be seen as saints, heroes, martyrs. We are afraid to be children, to be ourselves'


Words and wisdom from Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier
Photo: Jean Vanier Facebook

“When you die, you fall asleep. And you wake up, and there’s a very gentle peace. You feel well. And then you discover the face of God coming through that ‘wellness’ “
Speaking to the Tablet in 2017

“We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

“Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed.” 
Becoming Human

“When we love and respect people, revealing to them their value, they can begin to come out from behind the walls that protect them.” 
Finding Peace

“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness” 

“All of us have a secret desire to be seen as saints, heroes, martyrs. We are afraid to be children, to be ourselves.” 
Community And Growth

“But let us not put our sights too high. We do not have to be saviours of the world! We are simply human beings, enfolded in weakness and in hope, called together to change our world one heart at a time.”
Becoming Human

"True peace can rarely be imposed from the outside; it must be born within and between communities through meetings and dialogue and then carried outward
Finding peace

"It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of community."
Community and growth

"Wisdom is something that comes, little by little, through a lot of listening."

"A society which discards those who are weak and non-productive risks exaggerating the development of reason, organisation, aggression and the desire to dominate. It becomes a society without a heart, without kindness - a rational and sad society, lacking celebration, divided within itself and given to competition, rivalry and, finally, violence."
Man and Woman, God Made Them

"I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes."
Community and growth

"Love is an act of endless forgiveness"

"'Going home' is a journey to the heart of who we are, a place where we can be ourselves and welcome the reality of our beauty and our pain. From this acceptance of ourselves, we can accept others as they are and we can see our common humanity."

"Prayer is like a secret garden made up of silence and rest and inwardness. But there are a thousand and one doors into this garden and we all have to find ours"
Community and growth

"...Individualistic material progress and the desire to gain prestige by coming out on top have taken over from the sense of fellowship, compassion and community. Now people live more or less on their own in a small house, jealously guarding their goods and planning to acquire more, with a notice on the gate that says, 'Beware of the Dog." 

"Every human being is a mixture of light and darkness, trust and fear, love and hate."
Seeing Beyond Depression

"I remember that throughout history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it always...whenever you are in doubt that that is God's way - the way the world is meant to be. Think of that and then try to do His way."

"The belly laugh is the best way to evacuate anguish."

"Envy comes from people's ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts." 

“I’m just somebody who was born ninety years ago and will die in a few years time and then everybody will have forgotten me. This is reality. We’re all here, but we are just local people, passengers in a journey. We get into the train, we get out of the train, the train goes on.”
Rules for Life to Become More Human


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