Dear brothers and sisters,
How beautiful to see this morning this true “apostolic procession” gathered around the altar and surrounded with you all, parents and friends. Among those apostles, some are coming from the North of France and from Brittany, from Alsace and the South, some from Anjou and Picardie, they are coming from all sides! And one can wonder: why are these people gathered together today whereas a year ago they didn’t know each other and didn’t know anything about us?
The answer is very simple. Each of them, one in his student life, one as a librarian or as a secretary, one as religious or as priest, has listened to the same word of Jesus;”Go!” Go further! Go out of your town or your village, your library or your office! Go and bear fruit! Thus what made us become quickly but in a deep way a small family has nothing to do with a search for the exotic, a desire to flee, the disgust for a given situation, but is the word of Jesus... it is His call...
“Go!” But go where? Go to do what? The new name of the ones who are going answers these questions. They are going to be missionaries. And this in the deepest sense of the word! They are going to love and to be loved. They are going to be loved by God and to love Him. They are going to live in communion with His Heart. This is something very obvious in all the letters the missionaries have written to me when they ask to commit with the Organization. And if only you knew how much I am delighted with it!...They are all longing for communion with God, for prayer, for discovering His love in contemplating His Word... All are willing to see Jesus and to learn from His way to love how they are themselves called to be loved by Him.
As Jesus was sent by the Father; so they are sent. Jesus shared an intimate life with His Mother; they want Her to educate them, to learn from Her. Jesus has been working discreetly in the humble village of Nazareth; they want to go without any advertisement to share the very simple life of the people in the neighborhood. Jesus withdrew to pray to His father for a long time: it is vital for them to take long times of retreat and adoration. Jesus listened to the cry of the blind, he bended over the leper, he trusted Martha and Mary: The missionaries want to listen to, to look at, and to trust. Jesus washed the apostles’ feet: the missionaries see their mission as a constant washing of feet. Jesus gave Himself to eat, He underwent agony, He endured slander, He laid down His life: the missionaries know that sacrifice will be part of their life, because they too want to complete their mission...
But beyond identifying with Jesus’ actions, we are first looking to identify with Jesus’ being, with his very person. This is what the greatest friendship consists of. This is, at its deepest source, what moves you: nothing else but Him, Jesus. It is His heart which loved the world so much, which loves me, which gives me life, which heals me and which saves me.
The motivation which has inspired you to go is to be found in the encounter you have made with the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world, with His loving Father, with the Consoling Spirit. And what will help each of you to be faithful to his mission is the growth of this love of friendship between God and you who are going and which started the day of your baptism. It is the divine love each of us experiences in himself, it is the tremendous faith God has in us, it is his existence which causes such a great joy for God, it is the everyday gift of life which will enable each of the missionaries to go out and always go deeper to reach the most isolated house, the most abandoned heart, to proclaim something of the Beatitudes. Therefore, the mission of the missionaries, as in any other mission, is part of the redeeming incarnation.
A friendship with God. A friendship with the closest one. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13: 35). In any Christian community, in the Church, there is no better way to preach than to preach about love. Anything else can be seen as a betrayal. Any other preaching is empty in words and fruitless.
You will hear the following statement in a few minutes: “You missionaries are going to live in community. It will be for you a strength and a consolation, at some days a test.” The community life is the biggest joy, but it is a joy which can find its root in the biggest suffering. It is the place God uses to forge our heart, to cleanse it, to shape it. He was made of rock. Through the simple everyday life he becomes of flesh. Saint John Vianney used to say:”It liquefies itself” I would like to say it becomes tears of compassion and of blood. It is the most beautiful material a heart can be made of since it was from Jesus’ own heart that water and blood flowed out.
We emphasize enough that Heart’s Home is about compassion and comforting. Do not get it wrong dear Friends! Compassion starts at home, in your inner being. You are first the beaten victim whom the Good Samaritan is leaning and at the same time you are the Good Samaritan. Thus compassion exercises itself towards the ones with who you are going to live this year; they too are sinners and hurt. Only your love will help them to go further. There is no use for endless discussions in attempts to discover how suffering disturbs another’s psychology or how best to dismantle the minds mechanisms so that can be “made more aware of himself” You’d better listen to him!... You better go and offer your brother to God!... There is no use to pretend he is a lamb when he is a hedgehog. Love him as he is! Love him as God loves him: unconditionally, limitless. Love him because God gives him to you as a grace of His presence! Go straight into his heart; don’t stay at the outskirts, at the surroundings, at the small matters which bother you, at the stories he is telling, always the same ones, at his odd habits... Dear Friends if only you knew how much God loves you, if you only knew the love you are called to share together...
At last, you are called to be Friends of Children. Theses people whose faces you have already discovered on the pictures, you are called to become their friends. It will no longer be “they”; it will be Paolo, Pedro, Ramesh, Josefina...They will no longer be “little poor people” to whom you will bring coffee or pasta, but they are the ones with whom you are called to share your life... They will no longer be lepers, persons affected with scabs, TB patients, they will be your friends and your greatest desire will be for you to take on their leprosy, their scabs, their tuberculosis; and one day you will find out that it was really you who was afflicted with their diseases and that you were healed by them before you could begin to release their suffering. They will no longer be murderers, prostitutes, social misfits. They will be your friends.
They have neither gold nor money, nor a high level of education, but what they have they will give it to you. It is their treasure. It is their heart. And they will demand that you give up your heart. They will demand that you live what is essential. That is why, without a fridge and without a video recorder, you might soon experience the greatest joy of your life and you will make Jesus’ prayer your own: “I give praise to you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Mt 11: 25) Staying among our friends will deeply change your life. One cannot come out of Heart’s Home unharmed because one cannot come out of any love story unharmed. But you will come out enriched as well as the Church and the whole humanity.
Dear Friends of Children, your parents have come in great numbers and your friends as well. Their presence means they are entering with you in this adventure, in this passion. Maybe they cannot express it to you with these words but I am sure their presence means the following: “You know I am entering with you in this mystery, in this Organization. You are called to go. We allow ourselves to be moved by this call. With you I want Love to be loved. I will help you. I will be at your side so that with every person you encounter, we will be there too. I know that from now on the testimony of your life will be more than ever the testimony of your friendships. I accept it. Moreover I rejoice about it and I thank you.” I would also like to thank you, parents and friends, for being here today. In a mysterious way you will be with each of your children, of your brothers or sisters, of your friends, in Bucharest or Bangkok, in Bethlehem or Lima, in Santa Fe or Salvador. I thank you for building up our Heart’s Home family which is called to be a big heart reducing hate and bringing forth tenderness.
We have chosen September the 13th to have our sending mass in mission just because it is the Sunday which is the closest to September the 15th; the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows which is the patronal feast of the Organization. This means that this feast is among all the other liturgical feasts the one that tells us most about our vocation. If one does not understand what Heart’s Home is about, one has to look at Mary standing at the Crucified. And dear Friends of Children if you want day after day to go deeper in the meaning of your mission, Golgotha is the place you have always to come back to. You will find out that the place where you are called to live is neither Ourscamp, nor Bangkok, nor Saigon, but it is in Mary’s heart, Mother of compassion. This is the place where we can all meet, always. This is the place where we never leave. And we are all called to live with this heart the closest, the most fruitful wedding we could ever think of: that is the mysterious wedding between Mary’s heart and the Heart of Him who was crucified, with the heart of all those who have been crucified in the world. How great this is!