I’m here in the Philippines for the Mission Youth Corps Summer 2014, with five missionaries. We will center our work in Mano Amiga, a school for unprivileged children run by Regnum Christi Philippines. Manila is the capital of the Philippines with 11.5 million people. The minimum wage is $5.60 US a day and 22.3 percent earn less of them earn only one dollar a day. This week we have visited the Missionaries of Charity houses: Home of Love and Home of Joy. I didn’t know what to expect even though working with the MCs is not a new experience for me.
We arrived to the Home of Joy in a district of Manila called Tondo; upon arrival little toddlers waving and yelling “hello” greeted me and within seconds, I was in the middle of a playground full of wheelchairs. The children have severe disabilities. I kept on walking inside the building. The beds in the hallways and rooms were also full of disabled children of all ages; there were around 50 “little angles”. At first it was a little shocking; the deformities in some children were very evident.
Just that morning, I had directed a reflection for the missionaries about or mission in life, our purpose. Here, I was surrounded by kids with apparently, to human eyes, no purpose or mission in life. As I walk through the corridors giving “high fives” to little deforms hands, caressing a face, or smiling to those more in mobiles, I kept thinking why? Whose fault is this? Suddenly the words of Jesus came to my heart: “No one sinned, but this is so the glory of my Father is shown”. Still, I couldn’t come to terms with it.
After a couple of hours caring for the children, I established a unique sort of connection with them through a smile or a caress. I took a break and went to have a heart-to-heart with Jesus, even though I still could not fully comprehend this. My vision slowly began to clear.
Home of Joy is the name of the house and that’s exactly what you experience in these places: Joy! There no tears, no complains, no anguish, no sadness in any of the children’s faces, Why? Because these people are living saints for sin has never touched their souls; it is the joy of being around pure hearts. Because this joy is what heaven is all about!
These kids have severe disabilities and deformities, but their hearts and souls are as pure as the day they were born. I ask myself; I have a prefect body and full access to my mental and physical faculties, but are my heart and soul as pure as theirs? Or am I, inside, severely disabled and deformed?
So I guess that their mission in life is to teach us the real meaning and the source of Joy: a clean and pure heart and soul!