WCR Logo


October 6, 2014

In a little book called Tears of Silence, published in 1970, Jean Vanier wrote, "He who is or has been deeply hurt has a right to be sure he is loved." A right to be loved? To be sure that you are loved? What a novel concept!

Ours is an age of rights (even though those rights are routinely violated the world over). Rights can seal the individual in a cocoon of autonomy, in a protective separation from violence, hatred and other forms of abuse. Rarely do they acknowledge that we are relational beings, that it is relationships that make our blood flow, that call us to life.

Every "I" needs a thou. Vanier began his L'Arche after he entered an institution for the mentally handicapped and heard total silence. The handicapped had no reason to cry out because no one would respond to their cry. "Thou" was missing in action.

This is a form of violence from which all need protection. Even a moment of compassion, a deep look of caring, can fan the spark of life. Yet everyone needs love that lasts. Humanity has accomplished many things with its ingenuity, but it has not solved that problem. It has not yet guaranteed the right to be loved.