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Message from Jean Vanier

 We are all in a state of shock after the attack on the United States. It reveals, yet another time, the terrible vulnerability of our world and of each one of our lives. Many of us live in countries where we feel safe. Suddenly, our security and our vision of life have been destroyed. Hearing the reaction of many friends and of our communities, I realize how deeply we are overwhelmed right now and how fearful we are for the future. Some of us are even more deeply distressed because of family members or friends who are missing or have been killed. It seems our world can never be the same. I feel close to everyone who is living a state of terrible suffering. At the same time, I realize how important it is for each of us to remain profoundly centered on our love of God and in God's love for us. Yes, we are called to remain upright in our hope. I am grateful for all the courageous people who went to the help of others who were in extreme danger, many who themselves lost their lives. Our world appears to have become crazy. There are a few winners in the world of money, power and success. There are many more losers and even more victims of injustice everywhere. I also think of all those people, in Africa, Asia, Central America and the Middle East, who have lived for so long in extreme poverty and violence, conflicts, civil war, refugee camps and situations of oppression. We are all joined together in the insecurity of this time but also joined together in our hope. Yes, our hope is in God. Our hope is in our love for each other. Our hope is in those who are weak, those who need us. We must not succumb to panic, revenge or vengeance but live in faith. We have all been called by God to testify to love. There is a big danger of seeing born new forms of racism and divisions. Let us give our hand to all those around the world who suffer, who cry and are fearful. Be one in prayer. Let us remember that the smallest gesture of beauty and tenderness, done with humility and confidence, will bring unity to the world and break the chain of violence. You know of my love for the Gospel of John which does not simply give the life and message of Jesus but also reveals a spiritual path, a mystical path of transformation by God. It is necessarily a path of compassion and closeness to the weak and poor, because God is the God of compassion. I have just finished a series of 25 one-half hour sessions of sharing on the Gospel of St. John which will be released on Canadian television in January of 2002. It was an enormous privilege for me to speak about Jesus through the eyes and heart of John. Let us remain in our hope, in our commitment to each other and in our desire to work for peace. Jean Vanier 14 September 2001