• August 11, 2009

The Most Beautiful Humanitarian Mission

This article of Rev. Thierry de Roucy was pub­lished in the French magazine of Heart’s Home “D’un Point-Cœur à l’autre” #15 in June 1996.

To some people, the mis­sion of Heart’s Home seems to be very simple, one word is some­times enough to make them under­stand its meaning and neces­sity. To others, the mis­sion of Heart’s Home sounds strange, dis­turbing and blurry. They say it is inef­fi­cient, even use­less on the one hand, maybe because of its spir­i­tual aspect; on the other because it is based on a vision of mankind where life is not reduced to ali­men­ta­tion, instruc­tion or vac­ci­na­tion issues. And for those people we need hours to explain the charism of Heart’s Home. The same argu­ments, oppo­si­tions, and lack of under­standing rise again and again. At the root of Heart’s Home lies the cer­tainty that each man can only fulfil him­self if he develops har­mo­nious rela­tion­ships with others because God is Trinity. Hence, what we try to be at Heart’s Home, what we do depends entirely on this anthro­po­log­ical, non-reducible fact. For us the essen­tial will always be the search for com­mu­nion, the friend­ship without which zest for life dis­ap­pears; without which sad­ness and anx­iety enter our hearts.

Since the begin­ning of Heart’s Home, we have con­stantly insisted on the thirst of thirsts of each human being, which expresses itself and is quenched under the most normal or unex­pected cir­cum­stances: the death of a beloved, an acci­dent, a dis­ease. These events reveal the fragility of life; at those times the urgent need for affec­tion wells up. By con­stantly coming back to the chal­lenges inspiring the life of the mis­sion­aries rather than to what these trials inspire them to do, we might forget about their thou­sands of char­i­table acts. I saw during my latest travels mis­sion­aries happy to respond, day or night, to the appeals for help. Their response rein­forces my con­vic­tion that we need these beyond self, on-the-spot ser­vants.

In the panorama of human­i­tarian actions, we really need mis­sion­aries of Charity who wel­come the dying found in the street so that he feels at his last breath the pres­ence of a hand in his hand―even if this simple ges­ture does not reduce Calcutta’s misery; we need a Little Brother of Jesus, who on a building site, offers a smile of encour­age­ment to his co-work­er―even if it doesn’t add any­thing to the work’s com­ple­tion; we also need Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries to play with a little boy to con­sole him from his par­ents’ vio­lence, to take another one to the hos­pital, and sew up again the shirt of a dif­ferent one―even if in doing so, the street chil­dren’s prob­lems are not solved.

However, the main action of the mis­sion­aries of Charity, the Little Brothers of Jesus or the Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries is to be found beyond all the many ser­vices ren­dered. We do not want to deny the work these dis­ci­ples of Christ accom­plish some­times until exhaus­tion, nor deny the fecun­dity of their com­mu­nity life, but they are helping humanity to reach its des­tiny through their most impor­tant action: praying.

Praying is far from being a mere pri­vate action. It is an act which has a uni­versal effect ori­enting the world in one direc­tion or another. To us, praying is more than just a source where you draw strength to love and serve. Prayer has its own results. It gives an infinite char­acter in each dimen­sion―depth, width, length―to each finite ges­ture of mankind. Prayer applies to the soul of each sinner the fruits of Christ’s sac­ri­fice, the ‘summit-act’. It attracts the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, enabling Him to mys­te­ri­ously com­fort those suf­fering here below, wherever they are. We there­fore can attest that no other human being in his­tory has ever com­forted or will ever com­fort mankind as much as the Virgin Mary, because no one else has been so close to the Holy Spirit. For no one else could have stood at the cross to help the One shouting at his Father: Eloï, Eloï, lama sabac­tani!

It is this fully human Mother that we choose as a model for the mis­sion­aries, cer­tain that she will teach them that their fruit­ful­ness―­like any human fecun­di­ty―only depends, as Saint Seraphin of Sarov said, on the “pos­ses­sion of the Holy Spirit”.

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