Thought For The Week 5 May 2019
“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.” – Acts 9:43
This week one of the great heroes of our faith passed away. Jean Vanier was the son of a rich and powerful French-Canadian family who volunteered for the British Royal Navy at the age of 13 in 1940. In 1945, as a 17 year old, he took leave from the Navy to help his mother care for survivors of Nazi concentration camps as they arrived by train in Paris. This changed his life. He forsook the ways of power, wealth and war for the sanctity and preciousness of human life – all human life.
He spent some time volunteering at an asylum for developmentally challenged adults and was horrified at the inhumanity of their care. Rather than campaign for change and justice, in 1947 he invited two of the men to come and live with him instead. So the first “L’Arche” community was born, celebrating and living out the beauty of human beings sharing life together.
There are so many things to say about this man described by many as a living saint, but perhaps it is best summed up by his own words. “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”
Jean Vanier knew this. Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, knew this. We too know this in our heart of hearts. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus. This is what is means to be transformed by love. Not just the love that we give, but the love that we share with others.
May God’s love be with you always.