Faith gives us the vision to see everyone’s sacred underneath.
Agatha, a spry 75-year-old, sees the world as a dangerous place. But she walks through it daily shielded with her strong faith. She says, “My faith protects me.” 65-year-old Ken, a widower, stays at home avoiding as much engagement with his world as possible. He says, “I’m not interested since my wife died.”
The recently deceased Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche group homes for the intellectually disabled, sees his world through the words of Jesus Christ. As a result, everywhere Vanier looked, he saw ways to make a difference. Vanier entered his world enthusiastically.
Having the compassionate eyes his faith gave him, Vanier sometimes saw despair and loneliness in the eyes of intellectually disabled patients and decided to do something. Looking beyond their disabilities, he saw their beauty, their sacred underneath; namely, God’s image and likeness.
This sacred underneath is within everyone God created. Vanier saw this image through their sadness and pain. It inspired him to give people the gift of his heart. He knew they didn’t care about his degrees or fame. They just wanted love.
Jean Vanier became their friends. And that’s how he left smiles and joy in place of sadness and pain. He left a legacy of these group homes which are still befriending thousands of God’s sometimes forgotten children.
Like Jean Vanier, and everyone with faith, he brought his gifts of laughter and joy and these gifts made a big difference in other’s lives and approach to life. While Vanier stirred the flames of his faith, he revealed God’s plan for himself and these children of God. Vanier’s gift sprung from his compassionate heart instilling joy to their pilgrimage walk on his earth, keeping them pointed towards their final destiny: to be with God. Vanier’s actions shows that faith may start as a tiny mustard see, but when it splits open, it grows as Jesus said and “will not disappoint.”
Our faith reminds us we can all live on this earth with gratitude to the God who created us and make a difference. Our gratefulness can shape our lives encouraging us to use our gifts, as Jean Vanier did, and live our lives to the fullest. And then we can look around and see who may need assistance and offer it. When faith filled people reach out to serve neighbors as Vanier did, this service becomes an act of adoration to God the father. The moment we turn and serve a neighbor in need, our God is praised in heaven. Faith is full of God’s bountiful goodness which is everlasting and enough for every generation of believers to share.
“Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight. It enables us to see God in all things as well as all things in God.” -St. Francis de Sales