• April 17, 2012

Heart’s Home in Spokane:
a Presence without Borders

By Jessica Morley,
Heart’s Home Volunteer in Spokane, WA

A few weeks ago, our com­mu­nity hosted what we called a “Friday Night Lenten Solidaridad” to draw a con­nec­tion between our Spokane Heart’s Home and the Heart’s Home in El Salvador, the com­mu­nity I will be joining in the fall. At the end of the night we watched the movie “Romero”, which depicts the intense and heart-wrenching story of Oscar Romero’s love and com­mit­ment to the Salvadoran people during their brutal civil war, cul­mi­nating in his mar­tyrdom.

Watching the movie reminded me of the deep and fun­da­mental con­nec­tion between joy and bro­ken­ness. While it is nat­ural to want to share in the joy of others, it is usu­ally much more dif­fi­cult to enter into others’ suf­fering. It is a place that we may want to shy away from, and yet it is to this place that we are often called, that we may share more fully and abun­dantly in the lives of our brothers and sis­ters. Each time we cel­e­brate or mourn with another, we increase our heart’s capacity to expe­ri­ence more deeply the gift of Christ’s Incarnation.

While watching the movie, my heart leapt and burned for a country I have yet to meet. I glimpsed the beauty and the joy of the Salvadoran people, as well as the immense pain and des­o­la­tion they have known. I was reminded of our Heart’s Home mis­sion of standing with Mary at the foot of the cross, trusting that the suf­fering and seeming absur­di­ties in life will one day find their ful­fill­ment in Divine joy. It is the entry into this common mys­tery that con­nects our com­mu­nity in Spokane to Heart’s Home in El Salvador, Brooklyn, and all over the world.

As we wel­come stu­dents and friends into our home here, we try to be aware of their hearts – laughing and cel­e­brating much of the time, but also being willing and ready to be a pres­ence that lis­tens and gazes com­pas­sion­ately when life is tough. An open­ness to both of these poles in life allows us to live life more deeply each day.

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