Glorious Distance

We have ageless stories that need to be told
God’s courage guides our voices to be bold
While we laugh and cry in ordinary ways
Without fear, we claim Christ, is alive today

My spirituality awakened to listen to beauty’s mysteries
The cry I heard for relationship, turned out to be my own
Following, meant turning inward, towards a better self
I discovered Noah’s ark, it lead me to salvation’s door

My fears melted, when we ate as friends at the same table
My heart warmed when I washed your feet at the foot stool
Arm in arm, our walk slow, no need to rule the world
With you I have learned, I must be less, to become more

Your beauty illuminates a grace I had not known before
I am disarmed, your gift unwraps a new capacity to love
In it’s giving, I have received a communion of our hearts
Flaws in my own vessel have been sealed with joyful tears

Compassions lesson, is that we are loved by God as we are
Our daily task, live ordinary, let beauty’s wellspring flow
In this school of hope, I have found the generosity of self
God transformed my soul, any preconceptions have passed

Welcomed with open arms, is it you, that has assisted me
Our community, my companions, are united in solidarity
Intelligence re-defined has lead my heart to being human
Christ silent question answered, do you love me; yes, I do

Foundation set, faith’s layers unmasked, L’arche, my home
My humility declared, I have found holiness in hospitality
Jean and Henri revealed that within this glorious distance
God, has made you, a wondrous instrument of His blessings


For this poem, the “I” is especially important. This is a reflection on what might be inside the mind of an “assistant”, grateful for the experience of what had been revealed in mutual relationships at a L’Arche home.

In a visit to a L’Arche home with two young adults, I thought I was going to witness giving, but instead found the extraordinary grace of receiving. It seemed so easy and natural to immerse myself in an inner peace and love that is difficult to put into words.  As I watched both the intellectually disabled called members and their assistants interacting, all I could think of was the absolute perfect and innocent love of two very close young brothers playing together.

The sense of goodness and Christ’s presence, in a few moments of time spent in this small community of men remains etched in my mind. Paintings of the Last Supper, and a humble Foot Washing on the walls of the dining room where mesmerizing, speaking thousands of words.  Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen have helped reveal a treasure chest of love to explore in these New Noah’s Arks.  Friendship and love of neighbor could not be better expressed than in a L’arche home.

For further reflection: L’arche communities and John 21:15-19


At the Table
At the Table