I’m in my second week of missions in Haiti. The longer that I stay, the more that I learn from the people. The more that I love them.
The chapel at the Missionaries of Charity (MC) children’s home is simple, with just a few chairs for the guests (or a sister with a sore knee), a crucifix, tabernacle, altar, statue of Our Lady, and that’s about it. The sisters are great about keeping it clean and inviting.
Today, their altar cloth had some words embroidered upon it that are quite common to see quoted among the MC’s: “You did it to me.”
As I knelt in meditation, these words struck me in a different way. Everything that I do to these Haitian people, I do to Jesus. Of course, that means the love that I try to give them, either at the Children’s Home or at the Home for the Dying. But another dimension opened up and made me wonder: “Would I want to do that to Jesus?”
The longer I am with the Haitian people, the more I respect them. At first, I almost pitied them. They live in a lot of poverty and without a lot of the “things” that I have come to expect and enjoy back in the States. But do they want my pity? “You did it to me.” Do I want to give Jesus pity?
No. I want to love them as they are. Not as I think they should be. To discover their greatness, just because they are human.
How arrogant I can be, in my pity. They don’t ask for it. They don’t even ask for my help here. Perhaps they don’t need it. What do they need? They need me to accept them as my brothers and sisters in humanity.
“You did it to me.” There is a whole new dimension opening up here in our mission work in Haiti. It’s not enough to come down here and see their poverty and pity them. It is not even enough to come down here to try to help them. It is only when we come down here to discover a brother or a sister, and walk with them, that we can truly make a difference.