Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim
“The founder of the L’Arche homes for the mentally disabled, Jean Vanier, says that people often look upon him as mad. The brilliantly educated son of a governor general of Canada, he recruits skilled workers (Henri Nouwen was one) to serve and live among damaged people. Vanier shrugs off those who would second-guess his choices by saying he would rather be crazy by following the foolishness of the gospel than the nonsense of the values of this world. Furthermore, Vanier insists that those who serve the deformed and damaged benefit as much as the ones they are helping. Even the most disabled individuals respond instinctively to love, and in so doing they awaken what is most important in a human being: compassion, generosity, humility, love. Paradoxically, they replenish life in the very helpers who serve them.