DRAWN INTO THE MYSTERY OF JESUS
THROUGH THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
Author JEAN VANIER
Jean Vanier is founder of at least two world wide communities committed to working with people with disabilities. This particular book is the result of many years reflections by the author on the Gospel of John. It format is simple and almost poetic. It contains Vanier’s interpretation of that gospel and very much speaks out the personal experience of faith and life and prayer of its author as well as his reading of older writers, mainly of a Roman Catholic tradition. The centrality of both Vanier’s experience and his understanding of John’s Gospel is that to pray is above all to dwell in Jesus and to let Jesus dwell in him. To live now in communion with Jesus in the place of quiet rest and work that springs from that quiet place. His testimony is that, ’these insights that I share in this book come from the life of Jesus in me, what Jesus teaches me in prayer, in study. They also flow from my life with people who are weak and who have taught me to welcome Jesus from the place of poverty in me. The interpretation of the Gospel of John cannot be separated from who I am, with all that is broken in me and from the way Jesus has guided my life.” From this quotation from the final chapter of the book we can see that this is far from an academic commentary. The style is meditative, it is prose but laid out in a poetic page structure. Lovers of John’s Gospel will find fresh nuggets in some of what this author discovers in his pondering. There is warmth, he is reaching the heart of God and bringing riches to us in the way he unfolds the story the Holy Spirit led John to pen. There are twenty-six chapters here, some deal with just one chapter of the gospel bringing out the main theme of that chapter whereas others divide a chapter such as the eighth which has two sections, the first on forgiveness and the second on the way the truth can set free. “How do we react to love” is the second part of John thirteen whilst the first part is entitled “ the vulnerability of Jesus”. There is simplicity here, edification and a freshness. A book worth a reread as we read through the gospel itself.