Diocesan house

October 2017

On Friday, October 13, I had a heart attack and was quickly taken to Emergency in an ambulance whose siren cleared the road to the hospital in Compiègne. Tests revealed that the main artery feeding my heart was clogged up. This required a surgeon to place a stent in the blocked artery. After surgery, a deep weariness descended. I need serious rest. This is why I have been brought to a very special resting place! A diocesan house at the sea-side, one that welcomes Christian groups and individuals for times of healing and rest. This is where I am right now, supported and watched over by Odile, who was given the task of caring for me and my medical needs in my old age.

I feel well, but it’s obvious that my heart is weaker and therefore me too. I need a good long rest to recover my strength and better accept a life without too many activities. So, with the leader of the farm, Antoine Paoli, I have decided not to give any of the scheduled retreats, conferences and various meetings until early February. Three months of serious rest without any activity.

This is a radical change that calls me to live a very quiet life during this period, tucked away in my Lazarus House in Trosly. A life where I will learn to live with my own frailty and weakness, in this way becoming smaller: “the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children”, said Jesus. A life where, above all, I can learn and keep learning a longer prayer: to remain in God, to remain in Jesus who says: “Abide in my Love”. It will be a bit like a new birth. Christine McGrievy, the leader of my L’Arche community in Trosly, has given me an important mission: to stay close to God for all L’Arche’s needs, and I add for Faith and Light as well. Just to be there, in order to live the essence of our spirituality, in communion with God and with all my brothers and sisters of L’Arche, Faith and Light and our great spiritual family spread throughout the world.

For me, this new stage implies a certain letting go. Up until now, I have experienced friendship and support through accompaniment – meetings that have done me a lot of good. I will no longer have that grace and joy. I will also go much less to my foyer, the Val Fleuri, which has been and still is my joy – while staying in touch with Pat, Doudoul, Anicette and all the others.

Quite a radical change! And then, little by little, we will see what I can take on again in February and afterwards. In order to make this new life possible, Christine and Odile will sort out the essential questions. This life will also include reading (serious as well as light-hearted), walks in my garden where I will listen to the birds… and there will also be the “joy” of eating without salt and staying away from the foie gras pâté at Christmas! This life will not just be turned skywards but also towards the earth where there are so many joys and wonderful things.

I will be in communion with each of you. To better live what God seems to ask me now, I will need the support and the love of each one. Thank you.

Peace and love to each one,

Jean

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