I grew up with a fascination and admiration of cultures and languages, a gift given to me by my parents. What makes this even more a blessing is that this appreciation, respect and excitement has always been an appreciation of the heart, rather than the music or language. Seeing the universality of the human heart in a way that doesn’t brush aside or ignore the differences, but instead delights in and appreciates them.
My love of the heart has grown as I have learned of the worldwide reality of love and also of the reality that this love is not always known, that not all people know their worth and greatness. Growing in my Catholic faith has broadened and in many ways made sense of my appreciation of the human heart. I realize that the human heart is a hungry heart. It is hungry for more than material or physical needs to be met; it is hungry for authentic compassion. We long not only to be seen, but even more to be delighted in and appreciated. I have come to understand that the hunger I experience (even amidst the blessings of family, friends, shelter and Louisiana cooking) is the same hunger experienced by people around the world, regardless of age, race, gender, or nationality.
The universality of this hunger is as real as the heart is - and how fascinating the cure is! The very paradox of Christ and Christian life is that “it is in giving that we receive” (St. Francis of Assisi). For me, joining Heart’s Home is an opportunity to give - and therefore receive, knowing that as Christ’s compassion is shared and received, all people “may be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21)
Marie Celeste will be leaving in January of 2013 for a two-year mission in Bangkok, Thailand.