Invited to live
244 Pages
English

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Invited to live

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Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more
244 Pages
English

You can change the print size of this book

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The history of Invitation to Life is linked to the story of Yvonne Trubert, founder of this Association, and to the thousands of people, who for more than twenty years, have followed the path of Christ, to find new hope and meaning in their lives. Through an approach based on personal stories and the precepts of love, the reader will discover the singular quality of Invitation to Life, an ecumenical movement now established on five continents, for the sole purpose of renewing human dignity.

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Published 01 September 2007
Reads 145
EAN13 9782336256214
Language English

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Invited to live
On the path of Invitation to Life

Albertine Gentou
INVITED TO LIFE
Written by a Collective Literary direction of Albertine Gentou. English edition edited by Naomi Knight Sub editors: Alison White, Pete Kimberley Published in French under the title Invitis à vivre.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to express our gratitude to Yvonne Trubert for allowing us to quote certain of her themes, to all those who shared their personal stories and allowed us to publish them. Special thanks to the whole team - Maud, Lorène, Marie-Helène, Arnaud, Sara, Rousbeh and Christine, who enthusiastically helped to put this book together. Thanks to all the members of Invitation to Life and also the non-members, who have been with us through the years. Thanks to Pierre, Gerard, Bernard, Alain, Nicolas, Marcel, Philippe, Michel, Philibert, Hervé, François, Jean-Pierre. Thanks to Fabienne, Christine, Marie, Nada, Carole, Louise, Patricia, Bernadette, Catie, Sylvie and Anne... Thanks to all those who have put their trust in us, and for the love and fraternity which enabled this book to be written. Albertine Gentou
Cover photo by A.G productions
© L‘Harmattan, 2007
5-7, rue de l’Ecole polytechnique ; 75005 Paris
http://www.librairieharmattan.com diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr harmattan I @wanadoo.fr
9782296037663
EAN : 9782296037663
Forward to English edition
Our journey started when Michael brought a copy of Invites à vivre from France to New Zealand. Alison, a teacher of both French and English, began by translating the Preface from the IVI book. I offered to edit the first transcript into a more flowing format and we agreed to work together.
We regarded a protocol as important for the translation work. Prayer was our essential tool, and we were both aware of being guided through the prayer. It was also important to research all biblical, legal, medical and geographical references for their English equivalents. This was time consuming but very necessary to clarify the transcripts. My background in nursing and pharmaceutical work proved useful here.
Daniela organised IVI members from all around the world to take part in the translation work, which was then sent on for editing. These translations were written with different levels of expertise. Some needed further clarification from Alison and Pete.
I would then edit the chapters into an easy-reading style, before we checked and rechecked against the French edition. The work was very intensive but interesting, and required close co-operation.
I feel deep respect for those IVI members who have generously revealed their lives in these chapters. They are an inspiration to all who read their stories and follow the teachings of Yvonne.
It has been a privilege working with Alison to translate the message of faith, hope and love expressed within these pages.
We are especially indebted to Pete Kimberley for his extensive translation and checking work and to Albertine Gentou for her continuing support.
A special thank you to the team of translators, all IVI members, who made the English edition possible: Alison, Ari, Beth Ann, Catherine, Cécile, Daniela, Danielle, Elisabeth, Eric, Erik, Hania, Helen, Lucy, Maria Isabel, Nada, Pete, Rosemary.
We have received an Invitation to Life.
Naomi Knight, editor
Table of Contents
Title Page INVITED TO LIFE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Copyright Page Forward to English edition PREFACE FOREWORD INTRODUCTION PART ONE: THE WITNESSES
REPRESENTATIVES THE FAITHFUL YOUTH INTERNATIONAL
PART TWO: THE TEACHINGS
SAYINGS SELECTED EXTRACTS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
PREFACE
It is now two thousand years since Christ revolutionised the world with his laws of love:
“You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
“Love your neighbour as yourself”
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
In this oppressed land, gripped for centuries by diverse authorities and now, yoked to the Roman Empire, Christ’s appeal for love sounded strange indeed.
Jesus announced to a people, overwhelmed by despair, that God his Father would soon reign on Earth in a spiritual kingdom of glory and light. With poetic mastery he taught his remarkable parables. Through miraculous cures, exorcisms, and the prayer of love which he taught his apostles, the Our Father , he convinced the ordinary people, the humble, deprived and rejected; all those he felt closest too. For himself Jesus claimed no title except to do the will of his celestial Father. He came “not to abolish the law but to fulfil it,” and none could turn him from his path. Already his followers saw in him the long awaited Messiah, recently announced by John the Baptist.
Such audacity, stamped with the mark of blasphemy, was to lead Jesus to his death, a crude death of common law reserved for the worst criminals, whose fate he would share, hung between two of them on the cross.
Yet his extraordinary message of universalism and freedom would soon break down the ancestral values and age-old traditions. Although not yet visible, a new order was being established. This great change would transform the world, transcend divisions, and question allegiances.
Two thousand years later, what has become of the teachings of Christ? Has our world upheld his precepts of love? Have we changed?
Certainly, the words of Jesus have spread to all continents; they have crossed the seas and inspired populations. The Churches have transmitted this new awareness, this message of hope and life, which has changed the destiny of man. Yet what of the wars and atrocities that have been perpetuated in the name of God? What of the controversies and factions which have profaned Christ’s sacred vision of peace and love?
Our 21 st century, lulled into a flourishing materialism, has not escaped from troubling turbulence. Yet beyond hatred, poverty and futile guilt, the prospect of a better world remains unchanged. The teachings of Christ give us a unique and brilliant source for a new and peaceful universe, based on God’s love, which brings reconciliation, peace, trust, and hope to mankind.
The collective work presented here, under the direction of Albertine Gentou, brings to light the work of Yvonne Trubert. For more than twenty years Yvonne has inspired people from all walks of life to find within themselves a new breath of life, energy and love. Her teachings are a guide for the inner salvation of humanity.
Contrary to many systems of positive thought, the words of Yvonne Trubert have no other objective than to liberate mankind from the multiple chains we have fashioned for ourselves, chains which hamper our daily lives in a thousand ways. Yvonne Trubert’s goal is anchored in a return to the source of the Gospels. She teaches prayer. This prayer leads to a new reality, indeed a new way of living, a new reconciliation among mankind.
No illusory paradise is proposed. Happiness is not attained without an individual struggle against everything that blocks the presence of God; the inner light and beauty which irradiates the life of man. Welcoming, listening and sharing, which are skills we all can learn, are central to this teaching of fulfilment and freedom. Every type of problem in daily life is explained in sayings or extracts from within this work. These teachings reject mediocrity. They push one to comprehend a powerful process in which truth is experienced as a personal evolution.
Those who are guided by the light of faith, and attribute their progress to “Invitation to Life”, speak with passion of this extraordinary message of universal wisdom and inner freedom. For them the arduous path of self-transformation brings the prospect of reuniting with God’s eternal values for mankind. Inspired to reject excess materialism, they work with others to seek a way of life based on a foundation of solidarity and self-renunciation. Yvonne’s teachings present a new dimension, which guides the future direction of their lives. Her wisdom has strengthened their faith and revealed a bridge to God.
From a murky past confined in a complaining world of suffering, not so much physical as spiritual, a bridge towards this vision has been shown. An alternative, lucid and profound vision that opens wide the door to a recovery of the soul. Mankind is treated generously, without hiding the real difficulties from seekers of self- transformation. It is no small thing to surrender oneself entirely to the love of God! True support is needed in the spiritual struggle to answer the call of Christ.
Those who are hungry for God will find nourishment within these pages where in union with Christ and his kingdom, love flows around like a light breeze. Yet, is love something to be afraid of these days? Dare we still speak of love? These pages invite us to live with joy and love in our being.
Marie Mignon-Gardet
FOREWORD
Many of our contemporaries feel concerned about the future when the problems of our planet are reviewed on television: financial scandals, AIDS and cancer, global warming and disasters, pollution and the pains of our civilisation - there is every indication from the news that the situation will not improve. Nowadays, we have two types of people: those who are resigned to circumstances, and those who in their search for solutions, have joined together to work for the greater good of humanity.
Daily life has become a perpetual struggle; parents tremble for their children as drugs and racketeering proliferate in the schools. We see misery everywhere. Many grieve for their fading youth as they watch the wrinkles form; a man weeps for the wife he loves — she now lives with his closest friend; a neighbour is in depression after losing his investment on the Stock Exchange. Some sit on the fence, some mock, yet when disaster strikes, their derision turns to fear. They seek answers in all directions, before admitting that they too need to find more meaning in their lives.
Eating, sleeping, working, making love and acquiring money: this is not sufficient to justify existence. Some ask God for answers or seek religions and retreats. Others join voluntary organisations and charity groups. Some talk of Invitation to Life. Is this organisation a new church or a cult? No. Invitation to Life was founded in 1983 by Yvonne Trubert, a French woman born in Brittany. A mother of four with several grandchildren, she was about fifty years old at the time. She had raised her children, worked at several jobs, including a cleaning business, when in 1976 she dedicated herself to helping other people. She listened to those around her, starting with family, neighbours and acquaintances. In this way she offered comfort to those in need. Then in 1983, with the support of her friends, Yvonne founded an ecumenical association. While living faithfully by the Christian message, she offered the practice of prayer along with the teachings of Christ and the gospels. She presented harmonisation and other tools, which will be discussed in the following pages. This knowledge was to help people release guilt feelings and destructive tendencies, to find again their divine dimension with a new sense of love and freedom. An excellent intention, but can this be achieved? Yes, through faith in God.
These teachings explain that those who turn away from God are unable to reach their full potential. For many centuries now man has been destroying himself in his quest for power. He has waged war against his neighbour in an attempt to feel alive. Seduced by the life of luxury, he has wrought destruction on himself and the environment by rejecting the laws of God, which nourish and feed him. According to Yvonne, we must regain our deeper values and work to overcome the stress and strain of life so that we can find peace and hope again.
She explains that there is no miraculous intervention, no passport to heaven. Being an IVI member does not insure against misery. The results depend on the investment made. For the alcoholic and the addict, it is more than freedom from addiction. They must wake up, change their attitudes and live a saner life. Transformation is not spectacular for those who take this path; with time and perseverance, patience and humility, the awareness comes that in everyone there is a spark, a great purpose and power, an energy of love which we call God.
Love is more than words - it implies action, a gesture towards another. Therefore, it is important to care for others, to honour the words of Christ: “Love your neighbour as yourself,” by respecting the living temple where God seeks to abide within.
Yet how can we reach these goals? We can learn to live together by meeting in groups, where we pray and share experiences through giving testimony and harmonisations.
Further details of these practices are available in the book. In brief, harmonisation is an exchange of energy between two people, through prayer: one gives and the other receives. After relaxing with a harmonisation, one feels more aware of the inner presence of God. The harmonisation does not entail any healing therapy or hypnosis. It is energy, channelled solely for the comfort and benefit of the client.
Sometimes, we can answer a cry for help with a prayer, a kindly glance, or a helping hand. Christ said, “When two or more are gathered in my name then I shall be among them.” No man can evolve alone: Invitation to Life is built on this important truth.
Thus, we redefine the word “brotherhood”. God means love, energy, universal consciousness. The battle between good and evil is fought first in spirit, where the ego, our mental aspect, struggles to control the divine force, cosmic spark, our indwelling soul.
There is no point in waiting for suffering to occur. It is time to seek life’s purpose by reaching out to others. The reason for these pages is not to preach or give instructions. Each person can pray and give support to other people in their own way.
To help Invitation to Life to be understood, it seemed essential to collect the thoughts and testimonies of those involved in this collective experience - to present testimony, and testimony alone, to record this exalting human adventure.
INTRODUCTION
Everything you need to know for a better understanding of this book.

Regarding this book
By definition, a biography or study, no matter how serious, can never be complete, for the simple reason that a character or community is never static. Everything is in a state of endless evolution, for change is the essence of life.
Our goal here is not to prove a point, but rather to present the Association of Invitation to Life, to go beyond the façade and show the way it functions, as explained by those who walk this way of life. Here are some of Yvonne Trubert’s sayings, which are characteristic of her teachings, and further explained by the stories of twenty-four people who follow this path. There is also an explanation for certain keywords.

What is Invitation to Life?
Invitation to Life is an association created to facilitate the spiritual growth of mankind and support those who seek the harmonious fulfilment of their lives. It presents the means and structure for members to gain increased awareness, find their soul potential and reach their goals, as they follow the teachings of Christ on a daily basis.
Invitation to life, usually called IVI, was founded by Yvonne Trubert in 1983. The daily management of the Association is entrusted to an administrative council, in accordance with the French law passed in 1901. Today IVI is present in more than 50 countries. Invitation to Life recommends a demanding daily effort to modify negative emotions such as fear, jealousy, resentment and anxiety, which cause suffering to ourselves as well as others. The basic principles of IVI tend toward simplicity, without any esoteric concepts or selective intellectual process.

What we believe
Of divine essence, spirit and matter, atom and energy combined, we are more than we appear, more than we ourselves believe. The inner unseen soul is often overlooked in our mainly materialistic culture. However, this immense and powerful soul contains an infinite potential, which has been forgotten.
When we ignore this other reality, the invisible divine energy that dwells within, we remain imprisoned by fears and self-imposed limitations, which prevent us from reaching our full potential.
Yet we are all unique with specific talents that create the inner heart and foundation of our beings, on which we build our lives and our relationships with others. By becoming our total selves and sharing this with the world, we fulfil the purpose for which we came to Earth. With knowledge and respect for ourselves and other people, we will participate in the building of a better world. As the journalist Gerard Moatti wrote (in “Les Echos”, Thursday 17 th October, 2002): “Solidarity should not be confused with brotherhood, and the solutions to our problems will not come from institutions. We must stop regarding society as a collection of people, and bring responsibility back to the individual.”
We in Invitation to Life believe that recognition of the individual involves development of a spiritual aspect. Therefore, we must endeavour to free ourselves from traumas that limit and prevent our soul potential. This is a personal effort based on experience. Each individual has experienced so much pain and suffering, that no one can achieve success alone. Fears and guilt are hard to deal with and accept, even harder to control, so we need help from others to achieve real progress. Members of IVI belong to prayer groups. In these groups we practise quiet, respectful listening, as each person shares experiences and solutions. This cooperation helps us understand our pain and the effects on our daily lives. We can then begin to correct those issues caused by unconscious reactions.

How we function
When we come into contact with IVI we are welcomed by a member of the Opening Mission and invited to attend an information meeting. We learn among other things, that IVI activities are organised in seven Missions: Opening, Teaching, Harmonisation, Listening, Linking, Discovery, and Writing, the latter being in charge of the IVI Journal. Those who wish to join are assigned to a new group by the Teaching Mission. Here their progress can begin, whether or not they are committed to the Association.
Once a week, each group convenes to pray and hear a tape on a specific theme: forgiveness, perseverance, etc. Then, during a respectful silence, each person in turn can testify and thereby release the stress and strain of daily life. A shared meal follows to end the evening.
During the first months, the group is animated by experienced members of the Association. Then comes the “seminar”, a weekend during which Yvonne Trubert transmits the rite of the harmonisation to new members. (See the following page).
Having learnt how to harmonise, each member of the Association can volunteer to serve in IVI centres, or join pilgrimages and missions, which visit groups in France and other countries. In this way IVI members support and comfort each other and also those in the community. We need to mention that Invitation to Life is an association of volunteers — except for the office and accounting staff who receive a salary.

Our spirituals tools
In order to create harmony between the ego and the soul, the human and divine aspects of man, we use three ’keys’ to release our energy. They are prayer, harmonisation and vibrations. These keys enhance communication with a higher dimension. They expand our consciousness and regenerate our souls. These are the tools that support and accelerate the dynamics of transformation.
Like our body, our soul needs nourishment: the food is prayer. We pray to God with the rosary each day, reciting Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be . By repeating these prayers, we calm the mind and find peace within our souls. Prayer is direct communion with God. We express our faith and appeal for His divine love and guidance to heal our emotional and physical pain.
Following a precise sequence of movements, the harmonisation concentrates on energy centres known as chakras, which relate to certain organs and physiological functions. In his book Croire et Guérir ( Believing and Healing ), Régis Dericquebourg defines the harmonisation as: ’a light massage on the body of a person who remains clothed and covered. During this session of about thirty minutes, the person lies down, preferably with the eyes closed. The harmonisation cannot be done without prayer - in this case the rosary, which is said silently, in respect for the values of the one being harmonised.
It is clearly noted in the IVI constitution that in no case, when the harmonisation is given to a sick person, is it intended to replace medical treatment. The harmonisation is not a medical treatment. ‘It is used on a complementary basis’, as explained on the Association’s website. ‘It gives comfort, relieves fear and suffering, helps to restore the vital energy and brings a desire to heal and live again.’ In fact, it helps each individual gain a better emotional balance. In cases of illness, those who have been harmonised face up to the problem and the necessary treatment with a more positive attitude.
In Russia, Brazil, Germany, France, Columbia, Argentina, Belgium and Australia, doctors have learned to harmonise. They advise patients who express a wish to be harmonised to arrange a separate time from regular medical visits. These doctors have noticed that beyond the obvious improvement in the patient’s well-being, the harmonisation helps alleviate physical symptoms such as pain, which is recognised as a subjective experience.
The effects of harmonisation over first and second degree burns are especially interesting, as the results are objective, systematic and indisputable. To observe such burns healing after a harmonisation is verification of its value.
When healthy individuals are harmonised, they experience physical relaxation with a sense of peace and well-being, which is most appreciated in their busy lives. The third key: Vibrations use a system of breathing and sounds to link the earth with the cosmic energies and individuals with the universe. A group of people create vibrations by repeating sounds together - similar to chanting mantras. They experience a sense of peace and connection to the earth.
In his book ‘Croire et Guerir’, Régis Dericquebourg also writes: “These vibrations regenerate the chakras of the earth, which have the same need for energy and life as those of man. They energise, feed and help the earth to heal. In fact they are a form of harmonisation for the earth.”

What we develop through this daily practice:
- Self-confidence, which means, trusting God within and therefore an ability to approach others without fear of being judged.
- To see below the surface - to acknowledge the soul and dignity of other people; to listen to the one who does not talk, and talk to the one who does not listen.
- To discover again the true meaning of love: the energy that connects all mankind without distinction, not just the emotional bond between two people.
- To accept responsibility for our lives and actions; to participate in the life and transformation of our world.
- To be free - free of fear, guilt and emotional distress from childhood.
- To rediscover the joy and good fortune of being alive.
- To live fully in the present moment, unencumbered by the past and without fear of the future.
- To cultivate hope, which reassures us every day that God loves us, listens to our prayers and heals us when we fail.

A few words to understand Invitation to life:
There is perhaps one word that overshadows others on the path of Invitation to Life: simplicity. This path is neither secret nor sophisticated; it is the application of the values given in the Gospels, simple, timeless and accessible to all. But sometimes they have lost their deeper value and become a set of rules, with a sense of obligation, which makes them hard to incorporate into everyday life.

To transform ourselves, we must integrate the fundamental values of faith, hope, charity, patience, perseverance and tolerance... so that they become the source of our thoughts and actions. Below are definitions, some from famous men - with mention of their authors. Others, in quote marks, come from the teachings of Yvonne Trubert.

The Soul
The soul is the divine aspect of man given by God, “created in his own image” as the Bible relates. Rediscovering the latent potential of our soul implies listening to and being guided by the voice of God within. Such is, we believe, the purpose of our path on earth.

Love
The concept of love as an emotion between two people who have chosen each other, is a very limited understanding of this word. Love, the energy of God, is the most powerful energy of all. Love is our link with God. He is our life, our soul, our divine spark, our connection with each other. Love enlivens these soul connections, which are often buried beneath such issues as jealousy, judgments, power play, resentment and games of seduction. Loving ‘one’s neighbour as oneself’ is deeper than kindness or indifference. It is the ability to see each human being with love and compassion, as through the eyes of Christ. “Loving others implies respecting, understanding, listening, sharing, and simple ways of helping.”

God
“Man is miserable without God,” said Pascal. Away from God, man is limited; he suffers if unable to energize from the divine source of life. “We were taught to keep our distance from this God, who somehow judged our thoughts and actions, through a father’s eyes at best, but more often as an uncompromising judge”. We try to live by the teachings of Christ, who says that God is a father overflowing with love, longing to welcome his children back and forgive, as in the story of the prodigal son who was welcomed back from his wanderings and forgiven by his father. “God did not create love. He is love.”

Listening
Above all, Christ advised his apostles to console. Consolation is given by listening, or showing friendship if someone is alone. “Listening is giving love, and loving is giving life”. See in the Extracts the chapter dedicated to the Listening Mission.

The listening session
In the IVI centres, members of the Association as well as non-members can receive a harmonisation or a listening session. With the prayer and support of a person trained to listen, those who come for a session can speak from their heart to clear their conscience. Emotional release and a sense of well-being can be gained from trusting a compassionate listener.

Faith
“Faith is trust we place in God”. Faith is not an abstract word, or a state of grace that has fallen from on high. Having faith is trusting God with each moment of our life, confident that He leads us on the most enriching path, the path that is best for us. “Living in trust means knowing that God provides for our present and future needs.” It means entrusting God with those troubles that are too heavy for us to bear, while being completely certain that he lifts and carries us forward. Faith is therefore the sister of hope, as biblical theology stipulates.

Joy
“We need to break down the walls of our prison. Joy is the way to reach life and freedom” Through difficult, times we must maintain our faith: “Be joyful and responsible without taking ourselves too seriously.”

The three keys: prayer, harmonisation, vibrations
The three keys are the foundation of this path. They are not a ‘magic potion’ and do not replace the daily endeavour to remove our faults. They are tools which help our transformation.

Fight against ignorance
“Ignorance is the first sin of our world. Ignorance is standing back, believing that we’re OK, when others are dying on our doorstep.”

State of mind
“We are unlimited beings. It is our state of mind which makes us believe in limitations. ”

Participating in missions
Whether by being available to serve close to home, or more specifically to visit groups in other parts of France or around the world, members can, if desired, offer time on a voluntary basis to help others and be of service in the Association. “Being on a mission means listening to others in silence and humility, and remembering to stay in the light ” (IVI Journal No.34)

Non-judgment
Non-judgment of others and respect for their ways, which may differ from our own values and traditions, is one of the most fundamental values in IVI. How do wars begin? They begin with judgments, discrimination and factions, which rapidly spread intolerance. All human beings should have equal freedom of choice and be worthy of respect.

Pilgrimages
“Being a pilgrim today is based on an old tradition. We remember the first Christians: how they went forth, inspired by faith alone, leaving all else behind. We have come to this earth as children of God, to live for a little while and bear witness of his love. Our pilgrimage really begins at birth, and then, as we wend our way on this path, we nourish ourselves by sharing our hearts in sacred places where we offer devotion to God. We enliven the earth with our prayers, our presence and vibrations, the way God requests us to do, in the service of humanity. We travel in harmony; our thoughts are with those who suffer, those who have lost their faith and those who would like to be here in our place. Our prayers go out to all the prisoners of this world.” (IVI Journal No.67)

SOS Listening
This phone service, which operates at certain hours every day in France, offers listening sessions and support through prayer.
“Whether in a listening session or by phone, the purpose is the same: the listener is the link between Man and God.” (Listening Mission Jan. 18,1995)

Testimony
“To give testimony is to become a lasting witness of the life of Christ in man. Each man living on this earth is a vibration, an incarnated soul, so that the glory of God may be acknowledged.” (IVI Journal No.65)

Transformation
Life is continual movement, transformation and evolution, within both the environment and man. The events of daily life oblige us to transform, to acquire more wisdom, detachment, patience and the virtues that bring us closer to God. Man is always on the path and this transformation has one goal: to teach us to love - to attain universal love. “Being an IVI member means learning first of all to cleanse our inner selves, and understand the nature of our ego and its faults. Through our personal efforts we can shrug off the yoke that prevents us from feeling free and happy to be alive.”

Defeating fear
“Fear is the enemy of God”:
When we have fear we forget God, yet the greatest energy of all resides within our souls. If we call upon Him we have no need to fear - not from death, disease, enemies, or what lies ahead - even irrational fears that can arise at times; they are illusions when faced with the real and living God, present within ourselves.

Life
Each manifestation and spark of life deserves respect, because it is of divine essence. Life is a gift from God; we have forgotten its value, its magnificent meaning. We drag it along like a ball and chain. “Joy is found in little things. Believe in your creator - he runs your life, so trust in Him completely.” A happy life is built not on sand but on a rock, in a permanent relationship with God. You will have strength and love to share with others when you live in the certain knowledge of His love.
PART ONE: THE WITNESSES
REPRESENTATIVES

I
MAURICE
Maurice looks a lot like General de Gaulle: tall, distinguished, impeccably dressed - even his moustache is the style that De Gaulle wore in his youth. But the one thing he lacks is a military stride. He looks like a man you can trust and respect, for that is his character, not the result of age. Indeed it is hard to believe that Maurice was ever young; he has a mature quality, which was always part of his nature.
He walks with difficulty now, yet bears the poise of a sage who has led his people through a desert to the edge of their promised land. Yvonne Trubert made no mistake when in 1983 she chose him as president of an association that she was about to form.
Maurice performed this role for twelve years, to the complete satisfaction of all. Since the nomination of other leaders, he has answered to the title of “Honorary President”. However, before relating this part of his story, our great man - almost two metres tall, with wisdom gleaned from seventy-six years of living - speaks of the trials and tribulations that led him on the path of faith.
Born 1926, Maurice, the third child, grew up with his sister and two brothers in a close and caring family. Living in the Normandy region of France, they were not unduly concerned with the turbulence that disturbed the thirties. As a boarder from the age of eight in a catholic school, he received the benefit of being taught by a cheerful, dynamic priest, who was also his confessor.
While at college during the war years, he suffered malnutrition. He, along with the other teenagers dined ‘royally’ on swedes, with only ten grams of meat a day. Unfortunately, being deprived of good food during the growing years weakened his immune system. From the age of 14, he suffered firstly from tuberculosis in the bones and then later his kidneys became infected. Five long years of sickness followed. In desperation it was suggested that Maurice go to Switzerland as a guinea pig for a course of treatment to test streptomycin, a new experimental drug from the United States. These drugs were hard to obtain, so the surgeon at the clinic where Maurice was due to stay had them brought across the Atlantic by diplomatic mail.
His doctor came to an understanding with Maurice’s father. ‘There is nothing more that can be done,’ he said. ‘We can try this, but I must warn you of the risks. He may remain paralysed or even die.’ Guided by the faith in their hearts, his parents consulted each other and immediately accepted. Maurice recalled the treatment: “It was a harsh treatment, exhausting, requiring three-hourly injections, even during the night. Over a period of four months I received 960 injections of streptomycin. At this time, I must explain, the drug was not purified and I was given two grams a day. Over the first nine days I began to regain my appetite, and then my weight rapidly increased.
“In the mornings we were given all our nursing care; in the afternoons, come rain, hail or shine, we were put out on the veranda under canopies. It was very important to breathe in the pure mountain air.
“In the evenings we gathered together in each others’ rooms. Those who couldn’t walk were wheeled on their beds. Regardless of the surroundings, there was a bond amongst us all that made a pleasant atmosphere. This boosted my morale, so despite my physical problems I remained in good spirits, yet felt apart from the world, as if living on a different planet. I prayed a great deal, calling on God and Mary, to heal me and uplift my faith. Every night I prayed my rosary before falling asleep. At the clinic there were about a hundred young people from many countries, along with some older patients. Everyone came to me looking for consolation. When a problem arose, they would say: ‘Come on, let’s go and see the ambassador,’ for that’s what they called me. I followed a specific diet as part of my treatment at the clinic, and then, after fifteen months the TB was gone. I was healed. God be praised!”
Back home in France, Maurice felt socially withdrawn and avoided the general public; however he gradually began to take up ‘normal’ life again. As an adult, because of his medical history, his doctors, who continued to watch over him, advised Maurice to find an occupation where he could live in the country.
During the next three years, following the English model, Maurice began the first project in France to breed white mice specifically for scientific purposes and cancer research. As clients he had the Faculty of Pharmacy in Paris and the Rhone-Poulenc Laboratories. His business was working well. Modem installations ensured performance and profitability, but then a dreadful epidemic struck. In the course of three days Maurice and his assistants were obliged to exterminate four thousand breeding mice.
Refusing to be beaten, Maurice started another enterprise. He turned to poultry farming for the restaurant trade, where he supervised every day. Always busy, working weekends and holidays - it was tough!
Fortunately, love blossomed in his life. In November 1950 he married Jacqueline, a young artist who was not yet twenty-one. In 1955, their daughter Isabelle was born and some time later, Veronique.
In 1959, his elder brother Gilbert suggested that he and Maurice should start a car parts business in the Paris region. Within six months Maurice had wound up the poultry farm, and settled down to a more promising future. All went well. Very soon, the two brothers agreed to divide the work, Gilbert doing the trading and Maurice the management.
It was in 1976 when his wife Jacqueline, now a real estate agent, first heard of Yvonne Trubert. She was showing a client around an apartment when the latter began talking about emotional problems. During the conversation she said to Jacqueline: ‘Look, if you like, I can give you the address and phone number of a woman who has really helped me.’
Jacqueline was curious and did not hesitate to phone Yvonne. On arriving home the next day after that first meeting, Jacqueline suggested that her husband do the same. At that time Maurice was feeling very depressed. His daughter Isabelle had left to study at the Sprechen Deutsch Institute in Munich, Germany. Being a sensitive father, he missed his daughter and found it hard to cope with her being so far away. However, he gruffly refused his wife’s suggestion.
Jacqueline did not give up. She patiently recounted the details of her visit with Yvonne while encouraging him to reconsider. Maurice felt no better a month later and finally relented. During their first conversation, Yvonne, ‘a radiant woman with a kind demeanour and auburn hair,’ held his hand to help him talk. Later she encouraged him to follow a path ‘where the soul had priority’. Over the next seven years they had many long discussions in relation to the gospels and other subjects. These talks confirmed the principles of faith in which Maurice had been immersed from childhood, yet with his new friend he discovered them in a deeper sense.
In fact when Yvonne, overtaken by events, with people waiting at her front door and queuing down the stairs, asked Maurice to help her, he accepted. A first group of seventeen people, the Blue group, started on 29 January 1982. Yvonne taught them to walk in the steps of Jesus, and take heed of the gospels. At the end of six months she invited them to a seminar, so they could help others through the gift of harmonisation.
After the seminar, in a private conversation with Maurice, Yvonne announced to him: “Well, we’re going to create an association, and you will be the president.”
Without giving her time to carry on, he burst out, “That’s impossible! I’m far too shy!”
Saddened by meeting with a refusal, Yvonne expressed her surprise: “What! Don’t you want to help me?”
“Then,” explained Maurice, “at that moment another voice spoke within me. I said yes.
“The Association was formed with the help of lawyers and friends. Next a council and board were organised and we took up our tasks in Invitation to Life. I retired from my business at sixty years of age, and then without the distraction of work, I devoted all my time to the work of the Association.
“At the beginning it wasn’t easy - we had to budget. We typed the mail on an old Remington typewriter which had once belonged to our company. Gilbert and I donated part of the rent for the administration premises, as we owned the building.
“Along with many people of good will, the Blue Group set to work. Sometimes there were problems.
When there’s a job to be done, we must not encroach on another’s domain. Everyone has their own responsibilities, but with poise, patience, fairness and respect we can empower each other and all work together.”
After 12 years of good and faithful service, Maurice handed over the role of President to his friend, Georges, former vice-President, supporter and co-worker during his term of office.
Maurice believes it is important to continue along the path we have been shown, to show joy and pleasure when we welcome visitors to IVI, to reveal what we have within ourselves as we meet others soul to soul.
During the time Maurice was President, he had an increasing number of meetings to attend. About three weeks before a seminar, he would spend an evening with new groups, getting to know them and making sure they were well prepared. He phoned his good wishes for birthdays and celebrations, answered all mail, even if briefly, and still found time to visit sick members at home or in hospital.
Maurice took enormous pleasure in setting out on a pilgrimage. Each journey was a lasting discovery of places, people, history and the world.
While looking through his wife Jacqueline’s magnificent photo albums, Maurice shows a slight preference for Peru, although he still talks about Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Colombia, and Scandinavia.
On one of these journeys, he was sitting near a woman named Tania, who was by herself in the coach. She was Brazilian, and did not speak French.
“Although I didn’t speak her language,” he recalled, “We immediately understood each other. At the first stop we went out separately then returned to our seats with identical small floral posies. At the following stop, without consulting each other, we went with our flowers into the church and together laid them at the Virgin’s feet. From then on whenever I have met Tania again, it’s as if we’d never been apart. Pilgrimages are like that... moments of fraternity.”
In one of the photo albums Maurice points out a post card showing a scene from Samos. We return now to Greece - one of the first pilgrimages organised by the Association.
One morning, Maurice went down to breakfast in the hotel dining room where the group was staying. Yvonne entered the room. Immediately, with that legendary gallantry so characteristic of him, he arose and went to greet her. After a warm embrace with the President, she went around the tables embracing everyone who was present. Maurice looked at her questioningly, and then she turned to him and said, “Maurice, you do the same!”
From that time on, each morning when on pilgrimage Maurice has continued to greet each participant with an embrace.
“I have so much to thank Yvonne for,” he continued. “Overnight I changed completely. She gave me the courage to approach people, kiss them on the cheek or look them in the eyes. When one is president in an association of this kind, it is important to lead by example. I may not have always succeeded yet I’ve tried to act in a way that brings respect to IVI.
“Invitation to Life shares this message and we must pass it on: ‘Love one another’. With these words God invites us to participate in divine life. If we all became aware of this, the work of IVI would be known throughout the world. We all need love. Love liberates us; it sets us free. On this path we comfort those who suffer - we help them find peace and joy again.
“We don’t fully realise the harm we cause when we criticise each other. By putting aside gossip and personal grievances to prioritise what is good and fair, we would certainly increase our membership, and attract more people to IVI. The noblest action is always to put our brothers before ourselves!
“Life in IVI has brought me love and happiness. Over the years our daughters have returned to us. With her husband Michel, Isabelle has given us six fine boys, the eldest now 21 and the youngest nine. With Christian-Yves, Véronique has borne two girls and two boys. The eldest, Jennifer, is 21 and Vincent, the youngest, is 11.
“In the last three years we have lost Véronique and my son-in-law Michel. It has been very hard to accept their deaths, but through the comfort of our faith, we have found the ability to continue on with our mission.
“To finish, I would like to pay homage once again to Yvonne, who has given so much time and support, listening to us and encouraging us to be strong. It is extraordinary to have her beside us. I wouldn’t like to forget Pierre, Yvanne’s husband, who gave his heart to this work, yet unfortunately died too soon.
“Now at the age of seventy-six, I see how much Invitation to Life has given me. It has taught me how to live and ways to overcome the evil in the world. Although I walk with difficulty, my path hasn’t finished; I’ll be there with my pilgrim’s staff to the end.
“The lack of understanding among humanity has brought suffering to so many people. Yet God can unite us; he is calling us to stop the slaughter and lay down our arms. We can help mankind, rediscover hope, and then those of good will can continue our work with the love of God in their hearts.”

II
GEORGES
Georges, a 33-year old doctor, now a patient at Yvelines hospital, lay in bed enduring the pain of a renal colic attack. It was ironic, for earlier that afternoon during May 1981 he was holding a clinic at this very same hospital when the first spasms struck. He quickly diagnosed his own condition, and then booked into the ward so his colleagues could keep him under observation.
Of medium build with brown hair, Georges, an agreeable young man, exuded kindness from gentle brown eyes, set in a serene young Napoleon face. As always, despite his present discomfort, he tried to show a calm composure.
However, three hours later, the pain was so intense that he held his breath and grimaced with every spasm. Suddenly, a face flashed before his eyes. Yvonne! At first he rejected the message, besides did he know her well enough to just arrive at her door? Yes...but should he attempt to drive in his present state? He hesitated.
At a dinner party in 1977, a friend introduced Yvonne to Georges. At further social events he had shown an interest in her work and confided his own emotional issues - still, he was undecided.
One Sunday morning in 1979, when they were both attending to a sick friend, Yvonne showed Georges a harmonisation, a procedure for balancing energy. At that time he was more interested in esoteric systems, such as astrology and acupuncture of the ear, so he paid little attention.
Now, recalling the harmonisation, he longed for the same experience. He struggled out of bed, dressed and set out to collect his car. Despite his severe pain he hurried along the motorway to the Parisian suburb of St Cloud.
On arrival, he took the lift to Yvonne’s apartment, reached out to ring the bell, and then noticed to his surprise that the door was ajar. He entered and found seven people already in the hallway, waiting to see Yvonne. She was busy caring for a visitor in her lounge. Naturally reserved, Georges joined the queue. Feeling like a ‘condemned man,’ he leaned against the wall while struggling to control his pain. A minute later the lounge door opened. Yvonne saw her visitor out, turned towards Georges, looked into his eyes and said: “It’s so painful, isn’t it?”
Georges could not hide behind his usual good manners and charming smile. He could only agree by nodding his head. Without further words she took his hand and led him through to be harmonised. Five minutes later the pain was completely gone. She added as she said goodbye: “Come back tomorrow, I must see you again, and then it will all be over.”
Georges was amazed. He returned to his car thinking about what had happened. “She could see at a distance that I was in a crisis, then later at her flat she was able to relieve my pain - all without medical training - it’s hard to believe.”
The night passed relatively well. The next day as foreseen, the symptoms returned. With the same frugality of words and gestures, his friend harmonised him again, then explained:
“There, it’s over now, although there’s still a little pain. Go to the apartment below, to my son Philippe’s place. Drink a cup of tea. In twenty minutes, the stone will come out. If you pass urine into the basin you’ll see it for yourself.”
It all happened just as she said. Twenty minutes later, as he passed urine, normally at first and then with a flow of blood, Georges released a kidney stone of considerable size. It was astonishing to see that such a large stone could be passed with comparative ease. He found himself reflecting on events of the previous day. “I must make a choice”, he thought. “Either step back or become more involved in this method of healing”.
His health restored, Georges married Patricia that same year in June. Seven months afterwards in January 1982, the couple accepted Yvonne’s invitation to join the first prayer group.
Prayer was not an unknown practice for Georges. His paternal grandmother was an expert at praying the rosary. She was a goat breeder who could neither read nor write, yet her son had become a very successful man. She had initiated Georges from childhood into a sense of the sacred. He was also educated by friars for 12 years, and prayed regularly in the chapel after school. The priesthood may have appealed, but the idea of a spiritual path based on segregation of the sexes did not. Even though prayer was already an integral part of his life, it was Yvonne who taught him its full importance.
Once Georges had joined the first group with Maurice, he realised the extent of Yvonne’s work. She was receiving people until midnight.
“This workload was no longer humanly possible,” Georges explained. “She needed relief or her own health would suffer.