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20:00:57 End Interview - Jean Vanier 1 T
WE JUST TOUCHED ON THIS BRIEFLY YESTERDAY BUT WE WANTED TO TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED HERE AT L'ARCHE OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS OR SO.
I suppose over the last 27 years, I'd say the first thing is the incredible beauty of people. You see, people with mental disabilities have been pushed aside, they've been seen as no good, as being a problem, as being a dramatic effect inside of a family and so on. And what do we discover is that they have a heart, that they're simple, they're loving. Of course they have moments of anger, depression, madness. I mean we all have that. But essentially, they're very beautiful people. But then you find the assistants who come here very beautiful people. The visitors -- I mean it's somewhere I sense that people have lost the sense of their own beauty and their own capacity. It's the first thing I think, that whoever people are, every person is beautiful but somewhere he has to be told that. It has to be revealed to him. The other thing is how profoundly broken we are. And I'd say that for myself because living with people with disabilities I've touched my own brokenness, my own angers, my own powers of violence, my own capacity to hate. And to discover that this also is our human condition, that every person is beautiful but also every person is very broken. And maybe what I was doing before was hiding the brokenness, being a naval officer, being somebody in philosophy, you're spending a lot of time pretending.
Rationalizing or pretending or showing that I'm good because I'm efficient and wanting promotion, wanting success - God knows what. But maybe human wisdom is to discover that I'm broken and it's okay. It's okay. It's okay. We must discover that and then discover what the path of wholeness is. Maybe what I'm discovering is that all of us must learn how to live with anguish and loneliness in a constructive and a good way because maybe the danger is we're flying from loneliness, filling ourselves up with work, with projects, with alochol, with drugs, with television, with things and s on. And because we're filling oursleves up, this terrible emptiness in us, we never get down to the real meaning of that emptiness. In - there was a book and I forget - but it was saying, a little girl saying, all my life I've been running away from my loneliness until one day I discovered God was hidden in my loneliness. Because maybe that is somewhere the secret. So I would say those are two fundamental things - the beauty and the brokenness.
I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU WHAT THE MEANING OF THAT EMPTINESS WAS. IS IT DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE?
No, I think it's something very fundamental. You see, we were born - we were conceived for communion. And communion is a to and fro of love. Not fusion where I possess you and our frontiers break down and we don't know who we are. Communion is you are you and I am I and we're called to be in communion together - to be one body, to be one body. But we've all been wounded in communion. As children we were wounded in communion because our moms and dads were angry with us or they were tired or they were depressed or they were this or that And sometime at one moment - (pfft). And a child is too young to be hurt. So what happens is that children build up barriers around their hearts, their broken hearts. I think we all begin with an open heart but then it becomes a wounded heart and a wounded heart then we cover it up.
Protect it. And so we're all people protecting ourselves. Why? Because we're frightened of rejection. And I think that the experience of loneliness or that emptiness is broken communion. I often call anguish as broken communion. And communion, not fusion, not manipulation, not people domineering no, but communion. I am I and you are you and we can love each other. And to love someone is not to - it's not sentimentality, it's not emotional stuff, it's to reveal to the other person their beauty. It's to reveal to the other person that they have light inside of them, that they are living beings. And living beings part of this incredibly beautiful universe of ours. So communion - to be in communion with people is to really love them and to be united, to be one. But we've all been broken, we've been broken.
ONE OF THE ASPECTS THAT WE'VE BEEN LOOKING AT OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS IS THE RISE OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE IMPACT THAT IT HAS HAD ON ALL OUR LIVES. AND I WONDER IF TECHNOLOGY IN SOME WAY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF US BEING REMOVED FROM THAT SENSE OF BEAUTY THAT WE SHOULD HAVE ABOUT US.
I think we always have to be careful because we can make technology the enemy. (laughter) If there's no technology it would be - or we'd all be loving. I think we have to put everything into its place. Technology can be beautiful. We can cure people with technology. We can take a plane and visit someone. I mean there's beauty in technology. But it's how we use it. And the danger of technology is to replace human beings by technology or to see technology as an ultimate end instead of seeing technology just at the service of humanity, service of human is to permit us to be more human. And what does that mean? It means that we're less fearful, less fearful of ourselves and of others, that we know how to celebrate our humanity and not just do it through alcohol or movies, that we know what it means to be human, to rejoice in our humanity and to rejoice in our hearts which are capable of loving. To be human is to love this universe of ours - the beauty of the universe, the light that is there and the movement and the love that holds all things together. But technology can kill the human and we can be seduced by technology because technology can give us an incredible power over other human beings. YOu see this through wars with nuclear war or laser operated bombs and so on. Power we can control, you see. Then you're no longer human, you're just a controller of others. To human - to be human is to be vulnerable. It's to be weak. It's to discover that we are weak, that we are broken but together. You have a gift which I haven't. I have a gift which you haven't. And we can be together. We can build together not against others but with others to build up humanity to be together.
I GUESS WESTERN SOCIETY HAS, REGARDS LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM POWER NOT FROM WEAKNESS. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM WEAKNESS.
I think we're terribly frightened of weakness and that comes back to the child in me that if I was manipulated and hurt and used because I was weak, if I had an over-protective mother, ah holding on to me and frightened that I might grow and - well then we're frightened of our weakness because then you're going to conquer me, you're going to hurt me, you're going to manipulate me, you're going to reject me and so on. But if I can discover something else, that ah that I'm loved as I am. And what am I? I am a mixtur of strength and weakness. I'm strong, I'm a human being and I have life inside of me but I'm weak because I can go outside and be hit by a car and die. So I'm confronted by death. Death is in front of me and life is in front of me. So to discover that I am weak, that I am fragile, that there are flaws inside of me, that there is a world of darkness in my unconscious, that I can also manipulate people and want glory and power, all this broken part of me, to accept that that is part of me, but also I can grow. I can grow in love so our societies push down weakness because we're in a competitive society. And so we're not allowing people to be themselves. You only have to develop the strong part, only have to develop the mind, only have to develop the power inside of you because if you have power you'll have money, you'll have prestige, you'll have all that but then we're denying something inside of ourselves, we're killing a part of our being. The child inside of us, the child which is called to trust, to sing, to dance, to look at other people without fear and without wanting to control them. To discover the child which is incredib-- who is incredibly beautiful inside of us, but we're frightened of the child. So it's true our society is killing children.
THAT'S THE CONSEQUENCE OF THAT DENIAL THEN.
Yes. Because you see frequently also we only want children not to be themselves but to prepare themselves to have power.
TO BE ADULTS.
To be adults -
IN A VERY AGGRESSIVE WORLD AND THE ONLY WAY TO -
Yeah yeah yeah.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE MAINSTREAM CHURCHES OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS HAVE MET THAT CHALLENGE?
I think maybe there's a danger of sort of categorizing the mainstream churches, you know, that it's - you see the churches are people, individual people, beautiful people, frightened people, people who believe and who don't believe. And also we can see it as the organizing instead of seeing the church as myself and you and others and Jean Pierre and this is who we - who we are. Because the Gospel message is that. I love those words. I mean there is nobody more active, more powerful, more beautiful, more strong than St. Paul. Accepting danger, ship wrecks, going into incredibly difficult situations. But what did he sense, Paul? He sensed that he himself was a weak person. And in the Epistle he writes to Colotians, he asks that the Lord will take from his flesh the thorn. We don't quite know what that thorn was but it was something that made him feel out of it, weak, unable to go forward. And the Lord said, no, my grace is sufficient to you. My power will be manifested through your weakness. You see maybe the great thing for human beings is to be humbe. To be humble is to accept myself as I am, not to pretend I'm better than others. I am who I am. I have my place in that universe. I shouldn't take up too much space. I'm there to help other people find their space. And together we can find this beauty. Humility is that. Humility is the knowledge that I am broken, that I am broken. But I can be mended by a power which comes from God and the experience of God. I can be mended. Not totally mended but I can be mended. And that spirit of God can come in me to do all things new. You see our world is a strange world. It's a world where you were saying that the rich crush the poor, the strong crush the weak. And that's the story of humanity. You just have to read the history of humanity or to look around humanity today. And God wants to do all things you. That's to say he wants to bring up the poor, help them to discover truth and light and love and humanity and bring down the rich, to make them poor so that they can go up on the upward route again afterwards. So somewhere you will find throughout the mainstream churches - this is happening, it's all over the place. But then there are other maybe main streams that are going on through the - through the churches. And the danger of us all and maybe the danger of all the history of Christendom is to be tempted by the power of the worldly power. You found this with the Jewish people. In the Book of Kings, the Jewish people wanted to have a king like the others around them, a big king who will give people security and power and always said, no, I don't want you have a king, I want you to be my little people, loved, and you can trust in me. And I will defend you. I will be with you. NO, we want kings! If you want a king, you can have - I'll give you a king. You can be king. So then he brought the kingship into - because they were seduced by power. And you will find this - you see Jesus was an incredible person. He washed people's feet. And he said, you will be blessed, you will be happy. You will find fulfilment if you too wash people's feet. Frequenty we're all seduced by power and we don't want to wash people's feet. And so what you say, it's true that Christians, Christians, all of us, we can be seduced by power, privilege, a sense of our own religious importance. I can and I am all of us, hypocrites and pharasies. That is to say seeing ourselves as the one who are right and the others are wrong. So we're all seduced by power.
DO YOU THINK IT'S TRUE THAT THERE IS A GRETER LONGING NOW FOR SOME KIND OF SPIRITUAL ANSWER OR SOME KIND OF MEANING THAN PEOPLE FELT THE NEED FOR SAY 25 YEARS AGO?
I think it's different. I think the need was there. But there are strange things going on, you know, today. I was told about a book shop and the books that were being sold the most were around black magic, astrology, witchcraft, the whole world of the sect. I'm told of the number of sects that exist in the province of Quebec. I still hear of somebody, a very good person confronted by an impossible situation went to see a sorcerer(?) to find the answer.
NOW WHY ISN'T THAT PERSON GOING TO THE BIBLE OR GOING TO THE LORD. WHAT'S HAPPENED?
You know it's the history of humanity. In Jeremias, you know, Jeremias cries out the Jawee speaks through the prophet Jeremias. I gave the living waters and all they've done was to drink from the dirty, muddy, poisonous water. Isn't that part of humanity? I mean maybe we're frightened of going on the right road. Because it's a road of humility and it's a road of littleness and it's a road where we meet God. So we're always being tempted by the extraordinary, by the - what we think will cure us in a - in a way that we don't need to give our hearts. And so we're seduced by the mysterious, we're seduced by - by the powerful parent prophet, the sect, the - whatever it might be. Or by consoling words and funny evangelists, you know. Get rich and you'll be blessed by God and--
OR MAKE ME RICH AND YOU'LL BE BLESSED BY GOD.
And ah but somewhere you see our God is a very hidden God. The whole mystery of the resurrection. You know, some people could imagine and Christ has been risen from the dead and going above the temple of Jerusalem. (chuckles) We won, we won, you know. What did they do? Because somewhere his message is a very little message - very strong message. It's a very simple message. You are loved by God. Now bring that love to the poor. And that's rather disarming. The first part - you're loved by God, you know, that we can take quite easily. Then he says, now bring that love to the poor, the downtrodden, the weak, the broken. One of the parts of the words of Jesus that I love and which is a founding text for us is when Jesus says, when you give a lunch or a dinner, don't invite your friends, don't invite your rich neighbours. Don't invite the members of your family. Then he goes on and he says, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame and the blind and you shall be blessed. You know, it's crazy. (chuckles) And what does that mean, eating with the poor? It's to become their friend. NOt to do things for them but to liberate them. Not to do big big things - become their friend. That's to say get down from your pedestal and eat with human beings in all their littleness and in all their brokenness. So I think the message of Jesus is a very -- why did they crucify him? Why didn't the Jewish people listen to the prophets? I mean you just have to read through Isaiah, Amos, the whole - all of them. God weeping, God weeping. Why have you left me my people? And Jesus weeping at the gates of Jerusalem. You see this in the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus weeping, weeping. If you had but known the message of peace. He came to give someone. People don't want it. Christians don't want it. Part of me, I don't want it. In all of us there's this struggle because the path of Jesus, what is it? It's said in an incredible little way in the - in Josiah. The valley of Acor will become a door of hope. What is the valley of Acor? The valley of Acor is a gorge de garj - a pathway, a dangrous pathway not far from Jericho which nobody wanted to go through. Everybody avoided it. Avoid the valley of Acor because it's dangerous. What is the most dangerous for all of us? What is the most dangerous for human beings? Pain, anguish, suffering? That's what we have to avoid. Take Valium, go to the movies. Forget forget forget. But humanity is a -
Start 21:17:34 Interview - Jean Vanier 2 T
SO WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT WAS HOW WE AVOID THAT PAIN.
What are we all running away from, all of us? Pain. Not exterior pain. I mean you know, a toothache. You know it's disagreeable. What are we really running away - it's anguish. And that anguish I was talking about of the child. Because what happens with anguish? When the child is first rejected he discovers he's not loved and then he's not loveable. And if he's not loveable then he's guilty, he's no good and that's our pain is triggering off the guilt, the pain and all that. We're all running away from that. We don't want that. We're frighted of it. And what Jesus is saying is you must go into the valley of Acor. The valley of Acor, and you will discover it will become a door of hope. Go into your inner pain and go into the pain of others because salvation and healing will only come to me if I discover the poor and the weak who will be my healer who will discover - that I will discover that his love will be healing me. So this is, you know, none of us really want to believe that the cross and the resurrection are intimately linked, that death and life are intimately linked. You know, one of the things I'm always amazed by, alcohol, which we use to clean our - it comes, what does it come from? Putrid grapes. Penicillin comes from, you know, putrid stuff. It's a - the whole mystery that in order to find life we have to go through the valley of Acor what we're all the time trying to avoid. Pretending it doesn't exist. My brokenness and my pain inside of me. And yet to discover God loves me. And it's true. You see the danger for all the churches and when I say all the churches I'm talking also about religions, because you'll find the same tendencies - either they slip into legality and sacredness but without the presence of God - a sort of distance sacredness or legalities moral, legalities of faith, what you must believe in, creating fear. Or into social activity, doing things for others. But that's not what religion is about. Religion is to link people to God. It's a meeting. And in that meeting I am liberated because I have an experience of God. I am experiencing God, experiencing his presence and his peace. That's the whole mystery of sacrament because the sacrament is the place where God resides. And maybe churches and religions and that's throughout humanity. Don't think it's specially today. They will slip into the legality, they will slip into the social and somewhere they wil forget that each of us - I'm not just saying the priest or the bishop or the minister or the pastor or the woman priest or the (chuckle) ..... you know, that's not the point. Is is that priest, minister, Christian, is he a revelation of the face of God, the face of a lover, the face of compassion, the face of a reconciler, the face of forgiveness. Because that's what it's about. But the history of the church has always been that. You just have to know a little bit the history of the church that it's flipping - (chuckles) and then schisms and breakages because power - because they were caught up in legalities, caught up in sacredness but a human sacredness. Or caught up in social activity and forgetting that the road to God is a presence of God in humility.
BUT IT'S ALSO CRITICAL THAT THAT BE DONE IN RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER PEOPLE. I MEAN IT'S SUCH A POWERFUL NOTION TO THINK THAT BY ENTERING YOUR PAIN I WOULD BE HEALED.
Yes and that -
THAT WE'VE FORGOTTEN THAT SHARING ASPECT.
You see, in a natural way throughout history of humanity people were together, the tribe, the extended family which you find in India, which you find with Arab - in the Arab culture. You find it in the tribal realities of Africa. People come together and they give security. If you like the sum basis of community there. But community not always because in the tribe or in the extended family it is the word of the father which is law. It's not bringing people to freedom. Now that, if you like, the tribe has been broken. Broken, why? By the seduction of well, some riches, the seduction of liberty, freedom. And so we've moved from the extended family to the broken family, to the dysfunctional family where woman and man love each other but don't know how to live together so they hurt each other. Because woman is expecting too much from man and yet he's weak and fragile, and man is expecting too much from woman and she's weak. And so because you cannot give me what I need, I look elsewhere. So then you get the broken family, the dysfunctional family, the broken heart of the child, the broken heart of the woman, the broken heart of the - so we've moved from the extended family into a world of individualities. Obviously what is church, what is religion - it's bringing people together in freedom and in love and community, as a school of freedom, as a school of love. Because in community, we're going to hurt each other. We're going to tread on each other's feet. You just have to see in the Gospels, Jesus brings together the disciples and then what do they do, as soon as Jesus has his back turned? I'm better than you; no, I'm more important. They're all struggling for the first place. So then Mazeberdy comes in and she says, Jesus I want my two sons, James and John on both sides of you when you get to your kingdom, you know. Everybody wants power, to be in the best place, not just to be in his or her place but in the best place because we're all in a world of competition. So community is a learning place. It's a place of pain. It's a place where I'm going to touch brokenness because I'm going to sense jealousies and I'm going to sense all sorts of brokenness inside of me. I've got angers and depression and so on. So community is a place where I'm going to learn about how I need Jesus. I'm going to learn about how to live prayer, how to love, how to love the enemy because the heart of the message of Jesus, very simple, I say to you, love your enemies. Love your enemies. Speak well of those who speak evilly of you. Do good to those who do evil to you and pray to those who persecute you. And of course Jesus says it's easy to love those who love you but I say love your enemy. So in order to go through the valley of Acor in order to love the enemy, in order to really to eat with the poor, you can't do it by yourself. You need the spirit of God because somewhere the whole of the message of the Gospels is all things will be done new. We will be given a new spirit, a new power, a new love so that is in community where as men and women we learn to love each other, we learn to be together, we learn to grow together, not in a closed way, but open. Come, come all of you who want and we will live together and grow together in love. But that means that all of us we're sensing our brokenness and we need to learn. We need to learn to love. And we need continually to be crying out to God to feed us, to nourish us, to give us this new power.
SEE BECAUSE I THINK PEOPLE ARE FEELING MORE LOST AS WE ENTER THE NINETIES THAN THEY WERE WHEN WE FINISHED THE SIXTIES.
Yeah I think they are. You see the people of the sixties ah the war had just been won, expansion in economy, idealism, we're going to change the world, 19 May '68. All the students are there. We had a vision. We knew we'd do it. And we were going to throw out all the old bad authoritarian ways of doing things, we were going to do it. So people had trust, trust.
AND COMMUNITY IN A SENSE THAT TOGETHER THEY COULD DO IT.
Trust and community but in an idealistic way, you know. Let's - we'll go up into the mountains with ten goats and then we'll live happily ever after. It was the hippie, the time of the hippie movement, the Jesus people, looking for small - but then when you start living together it's not as easy as that. Man and wife, groups of people, .... angers. Because it wasn't based enough on prayer, fulness. So there was a sort of idealism. Now we're in the age of discouragement. The sixties and early seventies was the age of optimism, the age of idealism. Now we're in the age of discouragement, great discouragement. The world is a bad place. We must forget about all the pain. We'll hide ourselves in leisure and television. Or in projects. The anguish. Many people coming from dysfunctional families, broken families. People who got married with great idealism and then (French) ... they're broken ..... Therefore a sort of maybe I don't know how to love. Maybe we don't - none of us know how to love. So there's an air of discouragement. Thank God there's Russia, there's Poland, there's Hungary, there's Czechoslovakia who have lived over 70 years for Russia, 40 years when it's Hungary and Czechoslovakia. People are rising up. So maybe we can rise up as well. If we discover that we've been living under an oppression of money, an oppression of power, that maybe we have the courage. Each person - I come back to what I was saying, the beauty of each person, maybe each person can start standing up and say no to this culture, which is saying you're only happy if you have success or power. If you haven't then you fall into the world of discouragement, of alcohol, of sex or God knows. So we can stand up. And the spirit of God is is with us as he was with and is with the Russian people, the Czechoslovakian people, he is with also the Canadian people, the American people. And we don't have to be oppressed by all the powers of money and technology. We can use technology, we don't have to be oppressed by it.
I DON'T THINK PEOPLE UNDERSTAND -
BECAUSE I DONT THINK THE AVERAGE PERSON ON THE STREET FEELS OPPRESSED BY TECHNOLOGY. THERE'S BEEN SUCH A SALES JOB FOR TECHNOLOGY THAT IT'S GOING TO MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER AND EASIER AND QUICKER AND CLEANER, THAT WE DON'T KNOW THAT YET.
And I think, you know, people who are in the extended family, until you've tasted freedom you don't know what freedom is. So we've been brought up in this technological society where we've been brainwashed into being told that you have to have this, you have to have that, you have to have this in order to be free, in order to be happy. And so people have no experience really of what it means to be free. We're all being somewhere being manipulated by a society which is pushing us into a world of material success and privileges but we're not being taught about inner freedom and being brought to inner freedom. Very few people know what community is about. You know when you talk about community they think you're just talking an area of the city. But community is a bonding, it's caring, it's belonging, it's openness. But people have had no experience of it. And so you're right, many people just don't know what it is to be free. And in order to be free, somewhere it's the spirit of God that will teach us the freedom to love.
AND THE FREEDOM TO BE HURT AND THE FREEDOM TO CRY.
The freedom to be ourselves which is this mysterious darkness and light which is in us, pain and resurrection, a vulnerable heart, to open our hearts to risk, to risk loving people which means also to risk being hurt, to risk believing that the power of God is much greater than my weakness. So there's an element of risk and I think we are frightened of risk, frightened of being ourselves, frightened .... of the valley of Acor. We're all going around the valley of Acor. We're all being told don't go into there, it's a place of pain. So we're told not to look at Africa, not to look at South America, that poverty of countries. We're being confronted by immense problems about population, about ah AIDS,
(overlapping) POLLUTION, ECOLOGY.
- diseases, and all - we're all - yes ecology, the earth getting hurt. We're all being told be frightened, you know. But no, enter into compassion. Visit the people who are in pain. I find one of the great movements of this age is the palliative care where people who are working with the dying people are saying that they are curing me, they're healing me. That the dying person - you see when you're with a dying person you're sort of confronted by the essential, confronted by my death. If I am close to a dying person that brings me to my death. And then to discover that dying people are bringing us to look at the essential. And what is the essential of a human life? It's to love. And that's what we've been told, you know, be careful about ....(chuckle) To love and to love particularly the weak, the broken, the little and the poor.
THE CHURCHES HAVE BEEN THERE FOR THE LAST - I MEAN WE'RE JUST LOOKING AT 25 YEARS AND I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT FROM '67 TO NOW, FOR SOME REASON THE CHURCH'S MESSAGE ISN'T BEING LISTENED TO AND I DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT'S - THE PEOPLE AREN'T WILLING TO LISTEN OR THE MESSAGE HAS BEEN WRONG, THE MESSAGE HAS BEEN DELIVERED THE WRONG WAY.
It's you see, the only way the message can be given is through the face, it's not through words. And I think that just as I was saying a few minutes ago, we have been seduced by - we, Christians have been seduced by the power of the culture. And what is the power of the culture? Intellectuality? We must be intellectuals, we must have power. We must do theology. We must have a lot of knowledge. If I have a lot of knowledge then I can give the message. We've been seduced by a whole vision of power of the culture. So it comes back, you see, and why is that? I think it's the whole history of humanity. I think it's the history of the church right from the beginning. Because all we are called really to be is the face of Christ and to be humble, to live the beautitudes, to be compassionate, to announce the good news to the poor. It's something very simple. But maybe it's so simple that we lose trust in it. The churches lose trust in it. And as I say then they flip into legalities, sacredness, power, clubbiness or they slip into social work altogether. But somewhere they're not showing the face of Christ. And that is the story of humanity. It's the church today, the church yesterday. (chuckles)
WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME -
Start End Interview - Jean Vanier 3 T - restripe
- YOU SEEMED TO BE IN THAT MOMENT.
Well you can have it. Come and live with us.
BECAUSE I WONDERED WHY MY REACTION WAS SADNESS.
No I don't think so.
WELL JUST THAT WAS -
You see, we belong to each other and you know, I could have the same experience going alone to a community where they're living something which is an evident belonging. I'm not - it's not that. That doesn't mean to say you don't belong somewhere else. But somewhere it was - you didn't have an experience of belonging but you had an experience that here was belonging, but I didn't belong. I mean that's - I give an interpretation.
NO BUT THAT RINGS TRUE FROM WHAT SOMEONE SAID IN NEW YORK ABOUT HOW TELEVISION IS MAKING YOU KNOW OF THINGS BUT NOT ABOUT THINGS. THAT IT'S - ANYWAY, SO THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHURCHES OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS HOW DO YOU -
It's incredible. It's incredible. I mean I can say I knew quite well the churches of the fifties but to see what I see as being the most incredible evolution is towards simplicity. You see it in art the way chapels are - the way people are coming back to what? The Biblical message. Right to the heart of the Biblical message. But you see it also the way chapels are being created - just not too many pictures, just something very simple and the sacrament there. You find like at the first Vatican council meeting the cardinals came wearing a train of four metres long with a little guy holding it. Crazy. You know. You know, nowadays looking at a film like that, they say these are all theatre guys. But all this has changed now. What are some of the very fundamental things that the churches all are saying? Preferential option for the poor. They're all saying it. I don't say they're all doing it. (chuckles) But there's something coming into this - ecumenism - it's incredible. I mean you just have to see the warfare between all groups not just saying between Orthodox and Catholic, Catholic and Anglican but you know the Baptists and the Anglican or the Lutheran and the Pentecostal. I mean everybody was fighting. Now has grown up the World Council of Churches, has grown up all the links that exist between - people are talking to each other. But it's a slow operation. People think it should go quicker. No, people are talking to each other. They're loving each other, they're cooperating. They're working together. That doesn't mean to say it all ... So there's an incredible change towards simplicity and towards unity. And it's phenomenal, it's phenomenal.
AND PEOPLE - YOU JUST TOUCHED ON SOMETHING. IMPATIENCE OF PEOPLE. WE'VE BEEN DES-- ALMOST PROGRAMMED NOW TO EXPECT THINGS QUICKLY.
We don't know how to wait. And I think that is a big thing. Because waiting is anguish. Whereas we want to program, fix it, organize it, and somewhere waiting. It's like a girl waiting to be married. She doesn't know .... It's like a woman waiting for a child, you know. Having union with her husband but the child is not -- waiting, we don't know how to wait. So we're running away from waiting because waiting is again anguish. It's that phenomenal pain. And so you know one of the things about history is to discover the beauty of humanity which has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years and we must learn to wait. We must - you see in a way we are denying nature. WE were all of us little little children in the womb of our mothers. We spent 9 months there and we were born, and we're all growing. But somewhere we deny growth. We don't want to be part of this nature. And so to grow is to wait, you know. We're moving. We're all - and myself today with the age I have, it's not finished. I still have to wait. Other things will come. The future is there in front of me. I must live today as it is but to grow, to let things come. and it's true, I think we're in an impatient world. We want everything and straight away. And we've lost that fundamental concept of growth and nourishment, to be really nourished intellectually, to be nourished spiritually, to be nourished to have a good earth, community, to let ourselves be lit up by the sun - light, truth, to love truth. BUt we're in a world where that isn't always --. So the church is always giving the message. It's always giving the message. The Gospel message is there, the sacrament is there. It's always there. But we don't always want it. You see, because the heart of the message whether it's in a Baptist or the Orthodox or the Catholic - confession - you must change the road. You were going on the road of success, you must now go on the road to weakness. That is to say towards the poor because a disciple of Jesus is to announce the good news to the poor, to liberate the captives, to live with the oppressed, to give sight to the blind and to announce a year of grace and of freedom. So it's - the church is always saying come into the valley of Acor. But it's true, maybe some of the people who are saying, come into the valley of Acor have obviously never walked in it. (laughter) So they're saying the right words but you know there can be a double message from the churches. But, but the churches are there and they've been going on for 2,000 years and it will still keep on going on. And you find incredible things happening. I mean I'm just so rejoicing with Russia and Lithuania and Poland and to see the churches coming up from the catacombs, catacombs, coming up from the prisons, coming up from years of oppression. And they're there, the Christians are there, and they're beautiful people. Maybe you know, they'll get a little bit tempted by television and by money and stuff like that and they won't be quite as strong as they were before, but it goes on.
DAVID: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S HAPPENED OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS IS THIS INCREDIBLE SENSIBILITY TOWARDS HUMAN RIGHTS.
Yes this is one of the incredible things again in the progress of our - in the vision of our world is the rights of people. I mean that's one of the beautiful things of United Nations. People can decry United Nations, say it's no good, but somewhere the proclamation of human rights, that every person has a part to play, that every person is important. Of course this is proclaimed but then people start saying, you know, babies are not important so we'll abort them. And then that white people are better than black people so we can -- but somewhere throughout humanity there is that vision that every person is important. People with handicaps are important and they have value. All people are important and they have value. It's coming back to what I was saying right at the beginning, and so you're seeing incredibly beautiful movements in South America but it's the same reality in ah in Manila when the people were down in the streets. The realization that people together can be people and we can cry out together for freedom. But we must bring people together in simplicity, in love, in sharing and so on. So today, you know, that every person may develop fully, that women might develop fullly, that men might develop fully, that we mustn't be frightened of each other, that we need each other. Man needs woman and woman needs man. It's true. There is a macho tendency in man to dominate. It can be a little some time domination of mother-child and I sometimes get a little bit angry when I see moms screaming at their children. So you know it's not all one-way (chuckles) that women are all pure and beautiful and if they all have power the world will - the world will change. No we're all broken. Women are broken; men are broken. But there is a tendency in man to be macho. And somewhere the revelation that every person must come to fulfilment but not as a lonely individual being but in a body. And I think one of the gifts of L'Arche is that we live, men and women, together. We see how much we need each other, that we can give to each other. That people with disabilities, we need them. They can heal us. And so it is in L'Arche but it's everywhere, that the Indian people or the Amerian Indians that they have incredible beauty, incredible vision. The aborigines in Australia, what incredible wisdom. But they've been broken, they've been crushed. And because they've been crushed they've been - entered into a world of alcohol. But that, where does that come from? It's because we pushed them down. And that is the danger of the white person who thinks they have supremacy and power. So we're in a world where human rights, I think it's something totally new. Amnesty International, that they can come up and publish that in such and such a country there have been so much torture so many -- and other people will rise up so we can influence each other. One of the great things of television and radio, we can talk about these things and this pushes oppressive governments to liberate people. So we're in a world where there is an incredible vision of the rights of human people but somewhere we have to all work at it that every human person finds their freedom and that begins with the child in the womb.
I THINK IT'S DANGEROUS TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE FUTURE CONSIDERING THE CHANGES IN EASTERN EUROPE IN THE LAST YEAR OR SO. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK A FEW YEARS AHEAD WHERE DO YOU SEE - DO YOU SEE THAT MOVEMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS GROWING, CONTINUING AND WHERE IS THAT GOING TO TAKE US OR -
You know, it's a strange thing. It is growing but also dying out. What do I mean by that? I could speak in a school today here in France in a Christian school and talk about handicapped people and their rights. And you would hear girls of 15 and 16 saying, if I had one of those in my womb, I'd get rid of it. You see, it's - there's a theory of human rights. But it has to go further than that. It has to be the discovery of something about my fecundity, that I can give life to people, that I can be part of a community where I can give life to people and that I don't have to be frightened. You see, we're frightened. People in the United States are frightened of Islam. People in the north are frightened of the south. People in the south are frightened of the north. We're frightened of each other. We're frightened to walk on the streets of New York and Montreal at night. We're frightened. So somewhere in order to leave the fear, we need community - a community based on the spirit of God, a living spirit of God, I believe deeply attached to church. I believe in church because church is community, church is symbol, church is sacrament. Church is movement from the day that Jesus died and rose and gave the holy spirit up. So church is part of -- but ah we're lonely, we feel anguished, and we're frightened of people. So that's part of it. I'm not sure - I don't know what the future is. I don't know. All I know is that it's exciting to live today.
DAVID: JUST AS AN ADDENDUM, ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE TODAY HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK THESE KINDS OF COMMUNITIES ARE TOWARDS .... IS IT THE ONLY WAY?
What I believe deeply today is that the complexity of our world demands immense wisdom, immense wisdom. And that wisdom must be based on a notion of wholeness. Wholeness is community, is body. Because there I will be healed, there I will discover that you love me as I am, not as you want me to be, not because I'm powerful but because I am who I am. Because somewhere your heart has touched my heart. So fundamentally we all need community. But springing from this community we need men and women who are going to orientate humanity to humanity. Men and women who are going to help us discover what it is to be human. We're going to have men and women who are well in the political sphere, in the economic sphere, in the media sphere, whatever sphere it is, in the health sphere, to help everybody to find that wholeness because I think that is the vision - wholeness and freedom, not freedom to do what I want but freedom to be together in love and to accept each other as we are with all the differences that that implies. So we need wise people, we need people who are strong in front of adversity, people who know what it is to be peacemakers, to be reconcilers. That means a lot of wisdom. To really discover today, for instance, in Canada how to really walk forward wisely, to help our brothers and sisters, Americo-Indians, to find their place in our society without crushing and letting them also lead us to what we have to discover. Because we have to become peace makers in a broken world.