Spring flowers

May 2018

In my previous letters, I have often shared my wonder for the birds, but this time I am going to speak to you about the flowers. Now, in early May, we have the sun and nice weather. Every day, I take a walk in my little garden, with my eyes looking down because I have to be careful where I walk: this means I notice the primroses. They were already there in December, but now it’s a real festival of primroses. Imagine all the colours of the rainbow. Of course, there are a lot of white, yellow, very dark blue, mauve and then once in a while, a reddish-purple, with a very bright yellow heart. It’s a feast! In addition, a good part of the lawn is covered with daisies – hundreds of them. Their petals are wide open like arms, which makes me think of God with his own arms opened wide for every human being out of sheer love for each one.

A long time ago, I used to despise dandelions, judging them good for nothing but the compost heap, and that’s all. Now I see them differently. With their yellow eyes, and those edible leaves which can be added to high quality salads, they look radiant. No one has planted these dandelions, these wonderful daisies or these primroses; nor has anyone watered them and yet they are there. These flowers sing out the glory of God.

Our earth is like a mother, life flowing and silently springing forth.

Since my health concerns last October, I am greatly enjoying silence. In the morning, I stay in my room on the first floor of my little hermitage; I devote my time to prayer, reading the Bible and also Pagola’s book on Jesus. Of course, silence is not an end in itself – it is a desire and the fruit of a meeting with the God of goodness, revealed by Jesus and his Gospel. I love spending time with Him who loves each human being, each one with their difference in culture, age, religion, history, fragility and strength. He is the God of life who longs for each human being to truly flourish and fully live, especially those who are weakest and most rejected.

Sometimes, in a small way, I feel the wound in the heart of God: wounded by all the divisions, hatreds, violence and fears as well as by the immense poverty and injustice. But, at the same time, there are so many, many people seeking to work on the path of unity, of peace and of justice.

Everywhere, there are good people.

My morning meetings with God are very gentle, I feel happy in my new life. I feel so greatly helped and supported by Odile, by La Ferme, by my community and by the few meetings that I can manage in the afternoon.

My health is as good as can be, and the doctor has told me that my heart is fine as long as I don’t do anything. So I am waiting for the future by living the present moment as much I can. I no longer give conferences or retreats, but I can do some small projects: for instance, making videos of 4.5 minutes on what I have been learning at Faith and Light and L’Arche.

Essentially, what I have learned has been about the beauty and importance of the human family around the world, and the beauty of each person. Each with their primal innocence hidden in the depths of their being but also often hurt by life: and that then turns into anger, aggression, depression and loss of self-confidence. For each of us, this primal innocence is waiting to be awakened, so that each one discovers the meaning of their life. Isn’t that the goal of our communities: to be transformed by the presence of those who have suffered humiliation?

Of course, at least once a week, I share a meal and an enjoyable evening in my L’Arche foyer. This has been my joy, my happiness over so many years. The people in my home are so simple and wise, and so alive. I am happy to be part of their family.

In a press conference on his return from Bangladesh, Pope Francis answered a journalist’s question about which was more important: evangelization or dialogue? He replied that we should not oppose the two. Evangelization is not about proselytizing but about bearing witness to the way of living the gospel. Live like the Good Samaritan, forgive 70 times 7 times, love your enemies, etc. Dialogue is really meeting the other person as they are, really listening to them. To live the gospel, the good news for the poor, is the heart of everything.

Thank you to each of you for your cards for my health but most of all, thank you for your prayers.

I am praying and feel in communion with each one of you.


Download PDF version

The Letter from Jean Vanier is published approximately 4 times a year. The Association Jean Vanier maintains the subscription list and does not share information with third parties. Only the Email and Language fields are mandatory. The other fields will help us customize the content and prevent double entries.

Do you wish to receive a summary of news about Jean Vanier and his impact in the world? This monthly newsletter will be launched in fall of 2018