"Life's Great Questions" - Book Review

"Life's Great Questions"Book cover

By Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, Founder of L'Arche, seeks to answer some of the big questions of life, and they don't come much bigger than 'What is reality?' 'Why is there evil in the world?' 'How do we know God exists?' and 'Why are we here?’

The answers he gives may not be the ones you are expecting. As someone who has spent a large part of his life working and living alongside those with intellectual disabilities Vanier not unsurprisingly draws from that experience and understanding and throughout the book he comes back to a foundation of love for all, building understanding and breaking down barriers.

I found his writing style engaging and easy to read, his illustrations varied. As I read, I felt a gentle, but no less challenging, wisdom being imparted that drew me on. His chapter on what happens when we die is beautiful and typifies for me Vanier's simple theology of love, which some may or may not agree with.

I can identify, as I'm sure many others will, with his understanding of anguish as a central theme in life. Who am I? Where do I fit into this world? Am I loved? Vanier believes that only by being in true communion with each other, setting aside differences, ego, pride and self-interest, can we truly find a place of love that will fulfil us.

If you are hoping to find the definitive answers to life's big questions, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Vanier’s answers are just the beginning of more questions to ask ourselves about how we live our lives, live with others and build a better world, but I would heartily recommend this book as a guide for the journey.

Revd Karen Colley, Asst. Priest, Manor Parish

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