Is hope nurtured when we invite the other to our table?
Today’s Globe and Mail and Ian Brown bring to light, Jean Vanier’s comfort and joy: ‘What we have to do is find the places of hope’:
There’s a beautiful text of Jesus, where he says, when you give a meal, don’t invite the members of your family, don’t invite your rich neighbours. When you give a really good meal, invite the poor, the lame, the disabled and the blind. And you will be blessed.
Building a community…
At L’Arche [started in 1964], by fairly stunning contrast, people with intellectual disabilities (the residents) live and work side by side with the nondisabled (their assistants) as peers, in what L’Arche likes to call “mutually transformative relationships.” Because the disabled have an equal hand in setting the tone (often hilarious) and pace (unpredictable) of the homes they live in, they can fairly call these communities their own. They’re the residents, the co-bosses, not the guests. We, the able-bodied, are the ones who have to be integrated into their world, not the other way around. They are honoured as people in their own right, with a contribution to make, no matter how subtle that contribution may be.
“Vanier discovered,” the Templeton Prize citation declares, “that those people who society typically considers the weakest enable the strong to recognize and welcome their own vulnerability.”