• April 13, 2011

A Commitment to live Compassion
in Everyday Life

On Sunday April 3, Mike H. and Kathleen O. joined the Saint Maximilian Kolbe American Fraternity.

The Saint Maximilian Kolbe Fraternities were born in 1997. They are a branch of the Heart’s Home’s spir­i­tual family, whose mem­bers are lay people living the charism of Heart in the world. They rec­og­nize the charism as a path to holi­ness and wish to share Heart’s Home mis­sionary spirit and cul­ture of com­pas­sion . They live the adven­ture of being a con­soling pres­ence, as that of Mary’s, in their daily respon­si­bil­i­ties to serve the Church and society.

This is how Mike puts into words what this com­mit­ment means to him :

"When I decided to be a mis­sionary with Heart’s Home, I thought I was signing up for a year-long vol­un­teer expe­ri­ence abroad, I thought I was going to have a South American adven­ture; what I ended up receiving was a life and a family. My year with Heart’s Home in Brazil gave me a whole way of seeing reality—a con­tem­pla­tive gaze that can rec­og­nize God’s gen­erosity in every moment and Christ con­cretely in the other—that has rad­i­cally trans­formed my life back in the States. Joining the Fraternity of Saint Maximilian Kolbe was, for me, acknowl­edging the way in which I owe who I am to Heart’s Home and entering more deeply into the charism in order to allow it to con­tinue to form me.

In some respects, this com­mit­ment means very little: a daily rosary, a weekly apos­to­late, and a yearly retreat; yet the charism is more than the specific activity it gen­er­ates: it is a par­tic­ular way of relating to Christ out of which those actions flow, and it colors those actions through and through. My joining the Fraternity is my joining myself con­cretely to that charism and belonging con­cretely to a par­tic­ular place within the Church. Even though the exte­riors of my life will remain largely unchanged, this feels like an even more rad­ical choice than was deciding to be a mis­sionary for a year: for this com­mit­ment means taking up the whole of my time in Brazil and saying Yes to it, saying Yes to con­tin­uing down a way that has been full of suf­fering but full of beauty, saying Yes to remaining with Mary at the foot of the Cross and offering my own fiat inside of hers. The mys­tery to which I’m assenting is still infinitely more than I can under­stand, but I spent a year in Brazil pen­e­trating it, and in saying Yes to the Fraternity, I’m con­sciously saying yes not just to a year or to an adven­ture, but to a spirit of low­li­ness and lit­tle­ness with which I pray my whole life will be suf­fused."

Mike, Amy and Kathleen - the American St Maximilian Kolbe Fraternity
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