Thursday, January 31, 2013

What a Witness Looks Like

From Jean Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John, (New York:  Paulist Press, 2004), p. 30-31.  Commenting on John the Baptizer in John 1:19-34:

John the Baptizer and the beloved disciple,
and the first disciples,
and all the disciples of Jesus throughout the ages,
are called to be witnesses and to point towards Jesus, saying: 
"He is the chosen one of God." 
He is the one who came to heal our broken hearts,
to give us peace and to lead us further into the truth. 
Those who are witnesses to Jesus do not give out ideas,
ideologies or even doctrines. 
They do not seek followers for themselves and their own glory.
Rather, they seek to lead people to Jesus. 
They do not manipulate people
or impose their ideas or way of life on others.
They believe in the compelling power of the truth
and the freedom of people to welcome the truth or not.
They speak of what they have lived, experienced,
seen and heard in their hearts. 
They speak out clearly, truthfully and with courage,
even in the face of opposition or mockery.
They tell their story.
They tell how Jesus is healing their hearts of stone,
giving them hearts of flesh,
leading them into the world of universal love and compassion
and breaking down barriers of culture, fear and sin
that close them up in themselves. 
Witnesses tell how Jesus is transforming their lives
and bringing them a new inner freedom, peace and joy. 
People in our world find hope when they find credible witnesses,
men and women with a living faith,
bearing witness to the presence of God –
more by their lives, their growing compassion
and their dynamic love
than by their ideas or their words. 
Jesus said that people will know his disciples
by the love they have for one another.