Jean Vanier

Born: September 10, 1928

Occupation: Philosopher

Quotes of Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier

When we begin to believe that there is greater joy in working with and for others, rather than just for ourselves, then our society will truly become a place of celebration.

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Jean Vanier

To be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefor unloveable. Loneliness is a taste of death. No wonder some people who are desperately lonely lose themselves in mental illness or violence to...

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Jean Vanier

When children are loved, they live off trust; their bides and hearts open up to those who respect and love them, who understand and listen to them.

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Jean Vanier

Every act of violence is also a message that needs to be understood. (23-24)

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Jean Vanier

Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative,...

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Jean Vanier

I have discovered the value of psychology and psychiatry, that their teachings can undo knots in us and permit life to flow again and aid us in becoming more truly human.

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Jean Vanier

But let us not put our sights too high. We do not have to be saviours of the world! We are simply human beings, enfolded in weakness and in hope, called together to change our world one heart at a time....

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Jean Vanier

To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth and their importance.

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Jean Vanier

I believe every act of violence is also a message that needs to be understood. Violence should not be answered just by greater violence but by real understanding. We must ask: 'Where is the violence coming...

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Jean Vanier

Love is an act of endless forgiveness.

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Jean Vanier

When we judge, we are pushing people away; we are creating a wall, a barrier. When we forgive we are destroying barriers, we come closer to others.

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Jean Vanier

People are longing to rediscover true community. We have had enough of loneliness, independence and competition.

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Jean Vanier

Community begins in mystery and ends in administration. Leaders move away from people and into paper.

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Jean Vanier

He who is or has been deeply hurt has a RIGHT to be sure he is LOVED.

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Jean Vanier

People may come to our communities because they want to serve the poor; they will only stay once they have discovered that they themselves are poor.

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Jean Vanier

Each human being, however small or weak, has something to bring to humanity. As we start to really get to know others, as we begin to listen to each other's stories, things begin to change. We begin the...

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Jean Vanier

In the end, the most important thing is not to do things for people who are poor and in distress, but to enter into relationship with them, to be with them and help them find confidence in themselves and...

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Jean Vanier

The friend of time doesn't spend all day saying: 'I haven't got time.' He doesn't fight with time. He accepts it and cherishes it.

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Jean Vanier

Those we most often exclude from the normal life of society, people with disabilities, have profound lessons to teach us

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Jean Vanier

Stop looking for peace. Give yourselves where you are. Stop looking at yourselves, look instead at your brothers and sisters in need. Ask how you can better love your brothers and sisters. Then you will...

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Jean Vanier

I remember that throughout history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it...

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Jean Vanier

In any case, community is not about perfect people. It is about people who are bonded to each other, each of whom is a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, love and hate.

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Jean Vanier

We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities...

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Jean Vanier

It is my belief that in our mad world where there is so much pain, rivalry, hatred, violence, inequality, and oppression, it is people who are weak, rejected, marginalized, counted as useless, who can...

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Jean Vanier

A tension or difficulty can signal the approach of a new grace of God. But it has to be looked at wisely and humanly.

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Jean Vanier

To invite others to live with us is a sign that we aren't afraid, that we have a treasure of truth and of peace to share.

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Jean Vanier

Each person with his or her history of being accepted or rejected, with his or her past history of inner pain and difficulties in relationships, is different. But in each one there is a yearning for communion...

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Jean Vanier

The belly laugh is the best way to evacuate anguish.

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Jean Vanier

Envy comes from people's ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.

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Jean Vanier

Life is a succession of crises and moments when we have to rediscover who we are and what we really want.

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Jean Vanier

We cannot grow spiritually if we ignore our humanness, just as we cannot become fully human if we ignore our spirituality.

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Jean Vanier

A community is only a community when the majority of its members are making the transition from 'the community for myself' to 'myself for the community'.

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Jean Vanier

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals.

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Jean Vanier

True peace can rarely be imposed from the outside; it must be born within and between communities through meetings and dialogue and then carried outward.

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Jean Vanier

Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work -- hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss -- loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that...

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Jean Vanier

When we love and respect people, revealing to them their value, they can begin to come out from behind the walls that protect them.

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Jean Vanier

We can be seduced...by powerful political groups that promise more wealth and lower taxes. Those with power can use clever, psychological tricks and play upon our weaknesses and brokenness in order to...

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Jean Vanier

[Happiness] comes when we choose to be who we are, to be ourselves, at this present moment in our lives.

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Jean Vanier

We work for peace every time we exercise authority with wisdom and authentic love.

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Jean Vanier

Wisdom is something that comes, little by little, through a lot of listening.

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Jean Vanier

...Individualistic material progress and the desire to gain prestige by coming out on top have taken over from the sense of fellowship, compassion and community. Now people live more or less on their own...

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Jean Vanier

This evolution towards a real responsibility for others is sometimes blocked by fear. It is easier to stay on the level of a pleasant way of life in which we keep our freedom and our distance. But that...

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Jean Vanier

The response to war is to live like brothers and sisters. The response to injustice is to share. The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness....

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Jean Vanier

Jesus is the starving, the parched, the prisoner, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the dying. Jesus is the oppressed, the poor. To live with Jesus is to live with the poor. To live with the poor is to...

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Jean Vanier

All of us have a secret desire to be seen as saints, heroes, martyrs. We are afraid to be children, to be ourselves.

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Jean Vanier

A community that is growing rich and seeks only to defend its goods and its reputation is dying. It has ceased to grow in love. A community is alive when it is poor and its members feel they have to work...

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Jean Vanier

People cannot accept their own evil if they do not at the same time feel loved, respected and trusted.

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Jean Vanier

If we are to grow in love, the prisons of our egoism must be unlocked. This implies suffering, constant effort and repeated choices.

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Jean Vanier

[...] We have to realize that this wound [of loneliness] is inherent in the human condition and that what we have to do is walk with it instead of fleeing from it. We cannot accept it until we discover...

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Jean Vanier

A growing community must integrate three elements: a life of silent prayer, a life of service and above all of listening to the poor, and a community life through which all its members can grow in their...

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Jean Vanier

A Christian community should do as Jesus did: propose and not impose. Its attraction must lie in the radiance cast by the love of brothers.

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Jean Vanier

We discover that we are at the same time very insignificant and very important, because each of our actions is preparing the humanity of tomorrow; it is a tiny contribution to the construction of the huge...

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Jean Vanier

Look at your own poverty welcome it cherish it don't be afraid share your death because thus you will share your love and your life

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Jean Vanier

I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.

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Jean Vanier

The poor are always prophetic. As true prophets always point out, they reveal God's design. That is why we should take time to listen to them. And that means staying near them, because they speak quietly...

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Jean Vanier

Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don't talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.

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Jean Vanier

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can...

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Jean Vanier

Love doesn't mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.

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Jean Vanier

When people love each other, they are content with very little. When we have light and joy in our hearts, we don't need material wealth. The most loving communities are often the poorest. If our own life...

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Jean Vanier

Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy--in fact, the opposite.

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Jean Vanier

We have to remind ourselves constantly that we are not saviours. We are simply a tiny sign, among thousands of others, that love is possible, that the world is not condemned to a struggle between oppressors...

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Jean Vanier

At the heart of the celebration, there are the poor. If [they] are excluded, it is not longer a celebration. [...] A celebration must always be a festival of the poor.

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Jean Vanier

Every human activity can be put at the service of the divine and of love. We should all exercise our gift to build community.

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Jean Vanier

It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of community.

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Jean Vanier

Our danger is to think that happiness will come from outside of us, from the things we possess or the power of our group, and not from within us, from the inner sanctuary of our being.

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Jean Vanier

The strong need the weak as much as the weak need the strong

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Jean Vanier

Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness

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Jean Vanier

A community which refuses to welcome - whether through fear, weariness, insecurity, a desire to cling to comfort, or just because it is fed up with visitors - is dying spiritually.

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Jean Vanier

A society which discards those who are weak and non-productive risks exaggerating the development of reason, organisation, aggression and the desire to dominate. It becomes a society without a heart, without...

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Jean Vanier

Every human being is a mixture of light and darkness, trust and fear, love and hate.

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Jean Vanier

We don't know what to do with our own pain, so what to do with the pain of others? We don't know what to do with our own weakness except hide it or pretend it doesn't exist. So how can we welcome fully...

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Jean Vanier

The person in misery does not need a look that judges and criticizes but a comforting presence that brings peace and hope and life and says: 'you are a human person: important, mysterious, infinitely precious,...

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Jean Vanier

Communion is mutual trust, mutual belonging; it is the to-and-fro movement of love between two people where each one gives and each one receives. Communion is not a fixed state, it is an...

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Jean Vanier

So many in our world today are suffering from isolation, war and oppression. So much money is spent on the construction of armaments. Many, many young people are in despair because of the danger...

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Jean Vanier

So we need places, laboratories, the creation of places which could be each one of our homes, where we invite people who are different, and we listen to each other, people of different class groups.

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Jean Vanier

Community means caring: caring for people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: "He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community." A community is not an abstract ideal.

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