• May 28, 2013

Argentina: “You live love with every
fiber of your being”

Emily & her community
with some of the kids they serve in Buenos Aires

by Emily A., vol­un­teer in Buenos Aires

The other day we went to visit a very spe­cial friend. Mario is a ten-year-old boy who suf­fers severely from behav­ioral prob­lems. Because of his hyper­ac­tivity and his ten­dency to vio­lence he has no friends. Before, he would come once in a while to play at our house in the after­noon, but because of the cru­elty of some of the other chil­dren he stopped coming. He pretty much stopped leaving of his house all together except to go to school. And school for him is a night­mare. So to escape his reality he turned to com­puter games, and that’s all he does all day. So instead of run­ning around out­side he spends all day cooped up playing very vio­lent games which only serve to aggra­vate his cur­rent con­di­tion. His mother is con­tent with this because he’s off the street: boys of his type who spend too much time on the street are very often given drugs. It’s some kind of sick enter­tain­ment for older boys to watch a crazy hyper­ac­tive child doing what­ever in a drugged haze.

So we went to visit Mario in his com­puter soli­tude. We passed a good ten min­utes trying to coax him off the machine, but he was very focused on his vir­tual world. After a while I went over to him to talk for a bit. And, being a ten- year-old boy, he forgot to offer me a chair. So I knelt there on the floor beside him as he showed me the count­less old nineties games he really enjoyed. After a while his eigh­teen-year-old sister passed by and said "Mario go get her a chair. It looks like she’s praying!" I smiled up at her and assured her it was ok, that she didn’t have to worry. After a while we finally got him off the com­puter and into the main room and passed a good while just chat­ting.

After this visit, I couldn’t stop thinking about what his sister said—"it looks like she’s praying." I real­ized I had in fact been praying. We too often forget that the act of being with someone, of showing love and com­pas­sion, can be one of the strongest most beau­tiful prayers we can offer God. “My daughter, you gave me greater plea­sure by ren­dering me that ser­vice than if you had prayed for a long time,” (words of Jesus to St. Faustina).

In today’s world, we have reduced prayer to con­crete words repeated doggedly to an imper­sonal god. Prayer in this way resem­bles a dry skeleton. It has the form of exis­tence, and makes up a very impor­tant part of the whole of the body, but it lacks blood, flesh, soul, heart—life. We so often forget that God is not far, He’s right with us and wants to per­son­ally love us and to be loved by us. And one way I can really love Him is by being with others; I can hug Him by hug­ging another, laugh with Him by laughing with another, cry with Him by crying with another. For when you love someone, you do not just say I love you—you live it with every fiber of your being, every second of every day, in the dif­fi­cult and the beau­tiful, in the big and in the small.

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