Jean Vanier, the man who committed his later life to serving people with intellectual disabilities in the L’Arche communities around the world, observed that “if you are blind to the poor, you become blind to God.”
His attitude was very much like that of St. Ignatius, who described three kinds of people: the postponer, the compromiser, and the free person. The postponer may have a vague interest in a life committed to loving service in imitation of Christ but feels that there are many more pressing needs to attend to. The compromiser, while making moves toward such a life, proffers various conditions to God: “I’ll follow you as long as I get to…” Such a person does not fully trust that God knows what is best.
The truly free person does highly unusual things. Maybe, like Vanier, the person lets go of the privileges of his early life and goes to live with people with disabilities. Whatever the call, God will lead the person to exciting new horizons of love, of service, of creative works of justice. Breaking bread with tax collectors; washing feet; mingling with those on the margins—these are the actions of a person who is not nervously glancing sideways at others for approval.
Let us make our prayer today that we become truly free.