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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Being Born Is Important

(The Butterfly by William Kurelek, 1927-1977,
Canadian artist and writer)

The life of Jean Vanier is an example of agape (pronounced ah•gah•pay) or unconditional charity in action.

Born in 1928, Vanier is a Canadian philosopher and theologian. In 1964, he established L’Arche, or “the ark,” an international movement of communities where intellectually disabled persons live and work together with those who take care of them. He travels around the globe to plead for the poor, the lonely, and the handicapped.

“To love people,” wrote Vanier in
Becoming Human, “is also to celebrate them . . . . every child, every person, needs to know that they are a source of joy.”


Being born is important.
You who have stood at the bedposts
and seen a mother on her high harvest day,
the day of the most golden of harvest moons for her.

You who have seen the new wet child
dried behind the ears,
swaddled in soft fresh garments,
pursing its lips and sending a groping mouth
toward the nipples where white milk is ready —

You who have seen this love’s payday
of wild toil and sweet agonizing —

You know being born is important.
You know nothing else was ever so important to you.
You understand the payday of love is so old,
So involved, so traced with circles of the moon,
So cunning with the secrets of the salts of the blood —
It must be older than the moon, older than salt.

~ Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), American poet and writer and biographer of Lincoln

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