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VANIER (FOUNDER OF L'ARCHE), JEAN
Communities which start by serving the poor must gradually discover the gifts brought by those they serve. The communities start in generosity; they must grow in the ability to listen. 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 discover their own gifts. It isn't a question of arriving in a slum with the money to build a dispensary and a school. It is more a question of spending time with the people who live in the slum to help them discover their own needs and then together building what they want. Perhaps these buildings won't be as beautiful. But they will be more used and loved, because they will belong to everyone and not just to a foreigner who means well. It will take a long time. But all service which is really human takes time. The promise of Jesus is to help us discover that the poor are a source of life and not just objects of our charity. If we are close to them we will be renewed in love and in faith.
Community and Growth | Link To Source
Tags: Developing Nations, Urban America, Preparing To Serve, Homelessness, Faith/Theological Exploration, Sustaining Service, Poverty: Urban US & International, Community