La Cruz de Amor
I am back in Louisiana after being in Mexico for the past three weeks. During that time a certain theme has been on my heart and mind: how loving another deeply is a heavy cross to carry.
Loving another person deeply is beautiful and tragic at the same time. I’m not just talking about Romeo-and-Juliet-romantic love. In my life, it has been loving another as a sister or brother in Christ and loving someone when I know an end is soon. When you love someone, you put your whole heart and soul into that person. The scariest part is that, eventually, one person will leave whether out of their own choice or not.
Loving another recklessly is something that I have struggled with over the past couple years but especially have kept in mind these past 3 weeks in Mexico. We encountered so many faces of the poor and I was scared. I was scared to truly love them for so many reasons. I was scared to only love them for such a short time. I was scared that they would see right through me and all my weakness. Jesus has such a heart for the poor. It is written throughout His life in the Gospels. In their need, they have an advantage when getting into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus says so: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:25.
How could I, someone who to most of the world is considered “rich,” love these people well?
The voices of the world and the lies about mission life plagued me over the past few weeks. I should be doing more. I should be giving them more money and meeting more material needs. Who do I think I am to do this work?
And parts of those statements are true. You see, if, in my time of mission, I give the poor only myself and all my resources, I’ve failed. I’ve failed because I will not last. Even if I were to remain in one place with generous donations for the rest of my life, I would fail the people because one day I would be gone. These people, who have so little and deserve so much, have the right to be more, not just have more.
St. John Paul II put it so well:
“It is not the Church’s mission to work directly on the economic, technical or political levels, or to contribute materially to development. Rather, her mission consists essentially in offering people an opportunity not to ‘have more’ but to ‘be more,’ by awakening their consciences through the Gospel.” Redemptoris Missio p. 75.
This. This is why we bring love of GOD to the poor. This is why we bring the TRUTH that is the Gospel. Even when I and other missionaries inevitably misstep and fail to love perfectly, even when our resources run out, even when we are called to leave, GOD WILL REMAIN.
Praise Jesus for His everlasting love that is so constant amidst an imperfect world. I have found a new reason to love when it hurts and threatens to tear at my heart. Love is intimidating, but God is bigger.