A Short Reflection On Jean Vanier’s Call To Become Weaker

Yes. With age we do increasingly become weaker. We feel our faculties diminishing, as do all our controlling powers. Prufrock lamented, “I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled”. John the Baptist felt he must diminish as Christ’s glory was magnified. St Paul also reminded us that when we reach an age someone else will fasten our belts and lead us. There are so many depressing references to natural decay and loss of power. And, one tends to counter with rebellion- however futility the exercise.
Vanier poses an alternative point of view. “Human”, he seems to say,” It is in vain you strive to be self-reliant and strong. You build your trust in your own abilities and alliances. But, one day you will fall off your perch, like a sparrow, unhonoured and unsung, back to whence you came.” Better for one to think of Him who values us more than that sparrow that could be bought for a penny.
The most beautiful and most powerful things grow to a point of splendour; and yet a thousand years in that splendour are but a moment to the One who created them. And, what good all this pomp and power if not put use to honour and glorify the master builder? We are after all from the same clay and shaped by the Potter to be burnished in the furnace of His love. Should we not, therefore, renounce our desires for power, surrendering ourselves to His will, honouring Him and glorifying Him along with the eternal melody of the cosmos?

A Wasteland

Another day opens to headlines of death, blood and mayhem on our roads. The media outlets feed our insatiable and sedentary lusts for adventure and excitement. Cathartic clichés absorb the rest of the day, on juvenile and immature blood-spills. “Where will it all end?” we lament, purged, and resolved to carry on.
We can blame it on this and we blame it on that; this catalogue of accidents and premature snuffing off of lives that mattered to someone, somewhere. Lives cut short of their fulfilment.
It is obvious that punitive measures are failing as deterrents. One would think that they attract like forbidden fruit. There is no profit in stealing expensive (and not so expensive) cars, if the sole purpose is to ram them into some innocent bystander or an inanimate object. Who knows what motivates the idle mind into such thoughtless acts? We blame law enforcements for not effectively dealing with this inconvenience of damages and loss of life.
We have labels and slogans to placate these juvenile delinquents. We blame the social groups to which they belong. In fact, we blame social maladies, upbringings and (lack of) education. They blame everyone and everyone blames them. No one takes responsibility because the buck stops with each one of us. Each one needs to do some soul-searching. We are social creatures and as such must find social remedies to social maladies. The question must be directed to ourselves, “What can I do”. True, it is someone else doing the wrong thing and it may not affect us directly. But, if we are part of the same culture and society, we must find remedies to problems that affect us all. There can be a million plausible solutions. Rather than finding a panacea, let’s begin with “me” and see what role I can play in discovering maturity, respect and positive attitudes in the community in which I live and hope to thrive in.