the road to resurrection of people’s gifts

I often find in communities members who are suffering because they feel they have been put aside; after years of carrying responsibility, they have difficulty finding their new place in the community. They are grieving the loss of responsibility. These people have to discover that we are all in community not because it is wonderful and brings human fulfillment, but because we are called by God.

It is to be hoped they will discover that through their pain they are being called by Jesus to a new and deeper intimacy with the Father, and that this is their gift to be lived at this particular time. Is this not finally the ultimate gift for each person?

If they do not realize their new gift; if they do not discover the road to resurrection through humility and inner pain, then they may remain simply in the bitterness and humiliation of the cross.

Sometimes when people are taking on responsibility ‘successfully’, and when the yare admired and looked up to, they may forget that communion with Jesus and the Father is our goal, our source of peace. They can in some ways by-pass a certain quality of trust in God; they can replace God by community. Community is then no longer a place of love flowing from God and to God, manifesting his life, but becomes an end in itself. This manifestation of the life of God always flows through our own poverty and feeling of helplessness.

But of course community leaders and councils must not spiritualize their own error and injustice or lack of love by saying that these people who are suffering must obey, bear their cross and pray.

No. Leaders must learn to rectify their errors and injustice if they have committed them; they must see that these people find the spiritual help they need, and the opportunity to continue to exercise their gifts. For this, leaders need to be truly compassionate and creative.

~Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, 55

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