In as far as I understand Jean Vanier, daily dealings with people who have handicaps makes those involved face their own violence. Confronted by the irreducibility of the other, the one whom they mean to serve but whose condition they cannot ameliorate, they discover with horror that they are capable of striking them, or even wanting to do away with them. It is this, then, that I call a privileged desert place. The ancient anchorites took themselves off to the desert, they said, to fight with Satan on his own territory. We know now that is is enough to pay attention to the most defenceless people among us to find ourselves given up to our interior demons. But if only we force ourselves not to lose heart, if only graces comes to the aid of our weakness, we apprehend that to spend time with the poorest of all is not to do them charity, but to allow ourselves to be transformed by them and to apprehend God as gentleness.
Young relates this to her own experience of caring for her disabled son. I'm finding the book engaging and challenging and look forward to reading more.