What upset me, at the start, was a cry: that of millions of children. A cry sometimes silent, but which tears the heart, for it comes from suffering touching the deepest recesses of a being.
The suffering is never raw, nameless, detached. It wounds a heart, disfigures a face. It injures a person.
It is the incredible suffering of this Vietnamese seminarian shut up for several years in a black dungeon, battling day after day against going insane. It is the suffering of this young Argentinian, violated from infancy, expelled from his home, violated again, and surrendered to drugs and alcohol, unable to control the terrible violence he lives in. It is also the suffering of this little 14-year-old Colombian girl, pregnant and waiting under the eyes of her pimp for her next client.
No one escapes the great law of suffering. Even one whose life seems happy experiences his share of innermost suffering.
Nevertheless, I have observed how the simple presence of someone can relieve a wounded heart. Since the beginning of Heart’s Home, I have had the strong conviction that man’s greatest thirst is to have a friend that is a compassionate presence.
Humanitarian works, indeed, are very concerned about an outcome, an efficacy, a production. A human endeavor like Heart’s Home cannot have this ambition. Its fruitfulness cannot be measured in numbers.
The only measure of success that God gives man is love. Thus, for us, serving the little one and the poor is to love them as God loves them, with all their sufferings, hatred, criticisms; it is to go beyond indifference and accept being blessed; it is to be a presence truly respectful of the other person’s freedom. In each encounter, one experiences a mysterious exchange. In the course of listening, one reveals to the poor one his dignity. And we, in return, discover the truth of who we are: the poor among the poor.
The work of Heart’s Home is a sign of God’s power in man’s fragility. God finds his joy in the midst of the children of men. He has the last word on sin. He is truly the One who washes the feet of the little ones and purifies their hearts. He has a preference for those whom men themselves reject. He bears the name of each one engraved on the palm of His hand.