• March 5, 2010

“What I need is what you brought me, your presence” - Louis’ mission in Chile

Louis welcoming children during the afternoon

Louis is a French mis­sionary, who knew Heart’s Home when he was working in finance in Manhattan. He joined the Heart’s Home com­mu­nity in Chile in July 2009, for a 14-month mis­sion.

Seven months already! I’m already halfway through the expe­ri­ence and yet it went so fast... However well struc­tured our life is by the rep­e­ti­tion of the activ­i­ties from morning prayer to evening prayer, every single moment is unique. Could it be the Love that we freely receive every day throughout our hour of ado­ra­tion and the daily Mass that gives meaning to every single action? [...]

"I is Another"

The other day I went to lunch with a French friend of Heart’s Home who grows a vine­yard in Santiago. Since Jean-Pascal received this vine­yard in leasing, each year its wine goes up in the rank­ings of qual­i­ty­wine. Jean-Pascal is pas­sionate about the sub­ject and tells us a little bit of how he is making his wine. After the har­vest and the press, the juice is placed in dif­ferent bar­rels according to the grape. The dif­ferent bar­rels have to be "assem­bled" to make the wine. The art of the wine­maker is deployed in this par­tic­ular stage of assembly. [...] What inter­ests Jean-Pascal is to "rec­og­nize" the char­acter of the wine Domus, to be faithful to the roots of this wine that he has been leased. Sometimes, he says, it requires him assem­bling bar­rels together that he does not par­tic­u­larly like. But thanks to his loy­alty to this wine that he has received, each year Domus goes up in the rank­ings.

"I is Another" says Rimbaud quoted by Zundel. I also try to be faithful to this mis­sion that I have received; some­times at the price of not doing nec­es­sarily what I want. Being a pres­ence of com­pas­sion and con­so­la­tion, some­times it annoys me, I want another mis­sion, more action. [...] The right wine for me has been those words of Señora Juana, a very poor woman, as we lis­tened her telling us her great suf­fering: “You could bring me some noodles, I would give you thanks but that’s not what I need. What I need is what you brought me, your pres­ence.” I am not trying to diminish the impor­tance of some­times giving food to poor people, rather I have dis­cov­ered fer­tility in the fidelity in the mis­sion I have received.

Our weekly visit to the prisoners

Every Saturday, Vianney, Alejandra and I go to the high secu­rity prison which is at the top of our hill. [...] I am struck by the thirst of the pris­oners. A thirst so great that some­times I can read it on their faces, their eyes wide open, focused on our poor words. A thirst so great that often they will also go to the other reli­gions’ reunions (Evangelicals, Mormons and others…). At their side, I realize the impor­tance of our mis­sion. [...]

Sometimes I think I have found the right inspi­ra­tion, the right word but it is more than that that we are giving them, it is a pres­ence, the pres­ence of Christ. It is a moment "where I can forget the prison" as a pris­oner told us last week. It is a time when they may be weak. It is a moment when I receive a living cat­e­chism. Freddy, talking with another: "My faith is my faith, nothing can shake it. The pedophile priests, I do not care, my faith is my faith." For Freddy his faith is his hope, the reason of his life. Is this the same for me?

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