What meaning can be found in life in the modern world? So many people today are searching, so many seem lost and no longer have any kind of ethical reference points; so many are dissatisfied with a purely materialistic life, with ephemeral pleasures or with a quest for power and success.
Through my experiences both before and in L'Arche I have discovered the importance of two essential elements in human life that can give it meaning both for people of goodwill who have no religion, and for people who are searching for God, whatever their religion: being, and being open, having a clear identity and being open to others. We establish an identity through the place where we live, our family, culture, education and physical and psychological state. But we establish it too through our choice of profession, our gifts and abilities, our values and fundamental motivations in life, through friends, through the commitments we make and through searching for truth in ourselves and in life. Being open to others, especially to those who are different from ourselves, is to see them not as rivals and enemies but as brothers and sisters in humanity, capable of bringing light and truth into our lives, and of living in communion with us.
Openness does not imply weakness, nor a tolerance which ignores truth and justice. Being open does not mean adhering to others' ideologies. It means being truly sympathetic and welcoming to people, listening to them, and in particular to people who are weak or poor or oppressed, so as to live in communion with them.
Jean Vanier, Our Journey Home, p 145