Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Diary of a ghetto priest | We really are missionaries of love who serve the poor

Published:Friday | February 3, 2017 | 2:14 AM

We really are missionaries of love who serve the poor

It was about 9 o'clock in the evening. We were just about to begin our daily night prayers when suddenly the phone rang. It was our volunteer staff in Bethlehem Home, her voice sounded nervous and confused.

She said, "Brother, emergency, emergency Sean is dying, we have to carry him to the hospital!"

Though tired and exhausted from a whole day's work in our apostolates, I had to rush down to Bethlehem.

While inside the car, I began to ponder and think about those kids in our care at Bethlehem Home - mentally and physically impaired, helpless, rejected, cast aside by the society, unloved by their own parents, totally and completely dependent on the Brothers and our generous staff and volunteers from local and abroad. But they are the most loving and beautiful kids I have ever seen in my whole life.

WORK IS VERY DEMANDING

Yes, the work is very demanding and back breaking at times from bathing, feeding, cleaning them when they are messed up, sweeping, mopping, giving medicines. These works go on from morning to evening every single day.

I think about those elderly women in Jacob's well. Some of them were senile, others mentally retarded, some bed ridden, abandoned by their own family members, their own brothers and sisters, their own sons and daughters.

I think about those elderly men in Faith Center Home and Good Shepherd Home - they longed for companionship, for love.

I remember the scripture passage when Jesus says, "my heart is move with pity for them." As I bring all this to prayer, I come to realise, they have nothing but me and the Brothers. We have to be strong for them and we cannot sustain it without the loving grace from God.

Upon reaching Bethlehem Home, we were ushered by Ms. Brown to the crib of Sean - a seven-year-old boy, with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and heart problem. He was there lying, weak, couldn't move, roasting with fever and reportedly been having serious seizure attacks.

We immediately rushed him to Bustamante Hospital where he was attended by the doctors and nurses. The Brothers and I waited until everything was sorted out then we proceeded to our Monastery to get some sleep. It was about 2 o' clock in the morning.

LOVE MEANS SACRIFICE

Love means sacrifice. Our lives as Missionaries of the Poor are involved in a circle of love not without pain, struggles, sometimes disappointment, but in all this we choose to love and be the heart of Jesus in this hostile world.

Saint Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful. It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hope all things, and endures all things."

You must come to us and volunteer with us. You will have the most wonderful spiritual experience.