Julián de la Morena

Latin America: Mission is a heart that speaks unto another heart

The responsible of CL in Latin America has been traveling, for ten years, throughout the Latin world, from the U.S. border to Tierra del Fuego. He's only at home ten days each month, but he says that "my task is, first and foremost, contemplative".
Julián de la Morena

Being a missionary is not a role, I do not belong to a special corps of missionary intervention. It is a natural thing for man that one heart speaks to another heart. Mission is a heart that speaks to another heart, not an official who speaks to people who don't know about Christ. The heart is enough.
Fr. José de Anchieta, the founder of Sao Paulo, was a Spaniard, a Canarian, who came to these lands, crippled. It seemed as though he were coming here to spend his last days, but he recovered and lived a life that bore enormous fruit. His house was the chapel, the school, the dining room, everything... and he put upon the door: "enter heart, here is your love", in Tupi: "Pyápe Peiké Aé Peçauçuba". A beautiful phrase that always accompanies me. Another example is Saint Roque González. His heart is preserved, despite the fact that his body was burned. The heart is indestructible to such an extent. All you need is a heart found by Christ, which is what happens at baptism. The normal thing is not that there are people who, like me, dedicate themselves specifically to mission. It’s a natural thing in any person.

For ten years, I have only lived in my house for ten days each month; I travel continuously throughout the Latin world, from the border of the United States to Tierra Fuego. I do it because of the cosmic invasion with which Christ has entered my heart; I only respond to Him and live. That is enough to give testimony, there is no need for great speeches.

God incited in me the vocation of the world. Since I was a child, I perceived, within me, the desire to always look far away, to never be content with a closed and small enclosure. I always liked what was far from home, from the horizons of the place where I was born. I have never been afraid of losing family or friends because God propelled me into the world without giving me nostalgia for what I was leaving behind. I see that nostalgia in other people who go on mission, but, for me, its not a sacrifice; I know that it’s exceptional and I thank God, because it is evident that it comes from Him. God placed it, thus, in my nature, and I have found it there.

My vocation to the missionary Fraternity of Saint Charles Borromeo was born from this impulse. Right from the start, I saw it as something more, not as a bold adventure, but as a grace that would allow me to get to know Christ’s face better. So I said yes, I made myself available to Christ and then others indicated where I could be most useful. But the most fascinating thing about mission is that it serves to get to know the face of Christ better. I realize that what I am doing is not an active task, even though it may seem so. The dominant feeling within me is that my task is, first and foremost, contemplative.

I always feel at home, no matter where I am. I’m in some places for less than a day, but thanks to the education we have received through the movement of Communion and Liberation, I have understood that an instant is enough. The instant has cosmic value. That's why, no matter how long I'm in a place or who I'm going to be with, sometimes it's someone I don't know yet I always know that anyone is potentially my friend, because it's someone who welcomes me and receives me as Christ does.

This task is a gift, a gift that God has given me. It would be irrational to complain about it, especially at a time when people, who have a thousand friendships, have them through the Internet. I have the privilege of being able to say that I have them for real, from you to you, with a power that evidently only the Mystery can generate. Therefore, I am always the first to be surprised by the mission that I am living.

With this awareness of looking far away, one can be a missionary anywhere in the world. I don't stop traveling - although there are still many places I haven't been to - but also a hospital or an office, for example, can be places of mission. I know many lay people who are missionaries wherever they are, who provoke an authentic revolution in their work. They can be revolutionary people without having to go further than their work place. I see no need for any kind of program for people to convert. The Mystery has all the power necessary to act within four walls, He only needs a heart.

Recently, I met a woman who came to ask for Baptism. She had seen the passion with which one of her co-workers lives, and it had had an impact on her. She was so fascinated by it that the relationship with her was not enough, she wanted it for herself, and that is why she asked for Baptism! When she saw her companion, she immediately had the intuition that there was something more to her than what she saw. Something similar happened to me on a trip to Córdoba (Argentina). I went to the cemetery with a family, to pray for their deceased and, there, was a gaucho who saw this. When we had finished, he approached me and said: "nobody has taught me to pray, but I feel a nostalgia for it, as if I had been deprived of a wealth that I desire and that I have just seen". I can’t get those words out of my mind, because there are words that if they are not spoken, life is lost. And he had said them. That man had not been able to say You to God because he had never been taught that, but he had a brutal nostalgia and immediately recognized it. Because to pray truly means to say You, in this case to a Stranger whom he had always wanted to know.

Without a taste for life it is very difficult to have a taste for faith, and vice versa. These are two things that go very well together and that I would say that they are all we need to respond to the Pope's missionary call. The dualism between the taste for living and the taste for faith has been destroyed by Christ. And he has done it for free. When we have met Him, we have done nothing, and, therefore, nothing has to be done. We just need to adhere to Him and always seek Him. If there is any kind of contribution that Christians can offer, it is to spread this taste for life and for faith.
This goes against any attempt at proselytism. With this taste, with this passion, one finds oneself with the other, always accumulating wealth, as happened to me with that gaucho. And then we can encounter anything without any fear, because everything is to be won. I feel fortunate to see that the wind blows strong but that I don't have to keep the candles burning. On the contrary, it is not a threat. I am lucky enough to be able to live with more tension before this Mystery that struggles to make Itself known and that, in order to do so, even makes use of the inconveniences, difficulties and hostilities that the world creates for us, and that we create for ourselves.

I want to emphasize what the encounter with the poor, for example in Haiti or in Sao Paulo, with the street dwellers, means for the mission. A fascinating world is hidden behind those who have the least. They are the place where the Church recognizes that it is more and better nourished. Dialogue with them is a great richness because they are prophets. Very wounded prophets, who, in many cases, have committed crimes and, perhaps, in prison, their encounter with others has given them back their humanity. The discarded, as Francis calls them, are an enormous wealth and I have the good fortune to run into many of them, and to meet the many people who dedicated themselves to accompanying them, because the Church is very present in very discreet places.
They are prophets because, when you see them, it is impossible not to think of Christ, who being God, wanted to assume a face like theirs: someone who seemed less. He renounced His power precisely to make Himself known. That is why the Church cannot be far from them, because then we would lose our greatest treasure, we would lose ourselves in ridiculous fears. Being with them takes your fear away.