To me, the book's title is a bit of a misnomer. Perhaps that is due to the lenses that I bring to the book. It is more about what disability and programs like L'Arche have to say to the church. I resonated with much of what was said, particularly Dr. Vanier's comments of living with and among adults with significant intellectual disabilities.
One story told by Vanier that particularly touched me is shared on page 72...
There was a little boy with a disability who was making his first Communion in a church in Paris. After the liturgy a family celebration of tea and coffee took place. The little boy's uncle went over to the mother and said, "Wasn't it a beautiful liturgy? The only sad part is that he didn't understand anything." The little boy heard and with tears in his eyes said, "Don't worry, Mummy, Jesus loves me as I am."
Too often, we reject based upon our perceived notion of who people are. As the little boy related, Jesus never rejects us but loves us as we are. A bit later on (p 73), Vanier says,
We are called to meet people just as they are and to know that each one is precious and important...But the real question is always how to discover our fundamental identity as children of God who are united to all others with the same fundamental identity. As we discover this, we find ways to meet one another and dialogue with another.As I have stated elsewhere in this blog, if I don't know why you are precious and important, that doesn't mean you are not precious and important. That means that I don't know why you are precious and important. God tells me that you are, and it is kind of an adventure to understand God's perception of people. I approach people based on God's perception, and pray that he will allow me, will help me to see people as he sees them. Jesus truly does love people as they are. I pray that I learn that.
The book is very accessible, I felt. One chapter is a bit deep for some readers (but very good).