On the edge of a village near Seville, southern Spain, at the end of a dusty road running through fields of sunflowers and olive trees, is a house which is home to a community of people. The residents of the House of Bethany work together, eat together, laugh together and cry together, celebrating the life that God has given them. Every member of the community is unique, yet each has come to the house for a reason … even if they do not yet know what that reason is.
The House of Bethany is a place in which people discover their second calling: a purpose so surprising, so far beyond expectation, that it can only be learned from each other.
The Second Calling is a novel inspired by the life and work of Jean Vanier (recipient of the Templeton Prize in 2015) and the ministry of L’Arche, a worldwide network of communities in which people with and without intellectual disabilities live together. It was written by Hans S. Reinders (Professor of Ethics at the Free University of Amsterdam, and President of the European Society for the Study of Theology and Disability) after Jean invited him to write a book to introduce the work of L’Arche to a wider audience.
“This book is a gift to us all, as is Jean Vanier himself.” - Krista Tippett
Vanier explores the ponderings every great philosopher seeks to understand, such as: Who are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? With Vanier’s characteristically deep yet accessible style, the philosopher and humanitarian encourages his readers to delve more deeply into their own faith and spirituality, while guiding you to find your own answers to life’s great questions.
An audible Audio Edition is also available
5 hours and 41 minutes
“Vanier thoughtfully explores the topics of love and purpose while expanding on God’s greatest mysteries.” - Fr. Dan Kroger, OFM
Vanier examines the two great commandments: the love of God and love of others. Vanier eloquently demonstrates how the two commandments are, in fact, the same as individuals express their love for God through compassionate care for one another and encounter the love of God tangibly through closeness. In this chapter-by-chapter exploration of the Gospel of John, Vanier explains how Jesus taught this lesson throughout his ministry. The book includes personal stories from his work with L'Arche that express the great privilege we have of developing our relationships with one another and with God.
This book aims to educate, to reflect theologically and to provide practical advice and guidance, with first-hand personal experiences of people from the marginalized people, theological reflections by Jean Vanier and John Swinton, and a resource section containing addresses, websites and practical advice on improving a church's inclusivity.
This inspiring book of meditations includes a new introduction by Vanier, a foreword by author and education activist Parker Palmer, and new photos by Montreal photographer Jonathan Boulet-Groulx. The tears are those of Vanier's own heart, faced with the pain and humiliation of so many people with intellectual disabilities, abandoned in terrible institutions or on the streets. Through his tears rises a cry of anger at the indifference of the world to this abandonment. Vanier asks where do we find the courage to let ourselves be challenged and transformed so that we might rise up as messengers of peace and unity?
The Second Vatican Council released its vision of a Church which would put society’s weakest and most marginalized members at its heart. At the same time, Jean Vanier founded L’Arche, a new sort of Christian community in which people with intellectual disabilities could be welcomed to a life of freedom and dignity. What has become of the radical hope for a renewed Church and those who should be its central concern? Vanier identifies the seven paths of transformation at the heart of L’Arche, the same paths that should be heeded by the Church: From humiliation to humility; from normalization to the awakening conscience; from exclusion to encounter; from power to authority; from isolation to community; from strength to vulnerability; from secret to mystery.