• December 5, 2007

The Urgency of Love

Ecuador, 2004.

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.

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