The to-and-fro of love

by Christine Sine

My rapid reading course has been slowed down by delving into Jean Vanier’s writing which I have not done since I read Community and Growth some years ago but am planning to make his writings part of my Advent discipline.

I am currently reading Jean Vanier: Essential Writings, and am being profoundly impacted by it partly I think because it resonated so deeply with NT Wright’s comment that the language of God’s kingdom is the language of love.  Here are a couple of quotes that I am reflecting on at the moment made more profound by this season of Thanksgiving when so many participate in meals for the homeless and abandoned and then turn their backs and forget about them.

To love is a way of looking, of touching, of listening to all: taking time with them, especially with those who are broken, depressed and insecure, revealing to them their importance.  As we take time with them and enter into communion with them, they in turn reveal to us our beauty.  Communion is a to-and-fro of love; we give and receive mutually.  (p44)

To eat at the same table is to become friends.  The vision of Jesus is to break down the dividing walls of hostility and prejudice that separe people and to bring them together in love.  But the poor are wounded and angry, fearful and depressed.  They disturb.  Their anger disturbs.  The rich too are wounded and fearful, hiding behind barriers of self-satisfaction and power.  Communities of faith, of God’s reign, rbing together into oneness those who by culture and education are far apart.  This is the body of Christ.  This is the church.  The poor are evangelized.  They discover they are loved.  but even more, the poor evangelize.  They possess a healing power that awakens and transforms the hearts of the rich. (p64)

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