Monday, August 17, 2009

With the Missionaries in Milan

My day in and day out routine changes little everyday. I wake up early, maybe 7, and head off to catch the bus to the Missionaries of Charity house on the outskirts of Milan. The early morning starts off with a prayer and then off to work, following around one sister or another pointing out things to be cleaned, or stuff to be carried. The hours pass by quickly. Everytime I pass through the courtyard there is always a toddler or baby wandering around or laying in a stroller. A mom is nearby. A quick smile from one of them and my energy is renewed. Lunch comes and then time for a nap in the park. Afternoon brings a holy hour with the sisters and then back to work for the evening mensa for the men. Volunteers pour in for the afternoon so I start up the italian for what it is worth. Men fuss and fight for food, for seconds, and out the door they go. It is just another day in the life of the Missionaries.

The Missionaries operate a house for single women and pregnant women or with very young children. They also do a daily mensa for men. It seems easy enough, considering the other work they do, treating the sick and dying. But it is anything but. The work is tiring and even prayer becomes a workout with the heat. :)

It is real easy to get caught up in the work and forget why you are there. The other day I heard a prayer from the sisters during the holy hour that said, "and when the unborn are forgotten and unloved, we will love them even more."

It just clicked in my head that this house saves babies. These women who come here pregnant are the same ones that abortion proponents argue need the choice to have an abortion. They cannot bring these children into the world because they cannot economically support them. We should only let children who are wanted be born. On and on...

This house stands in contradiction to all those statements. And it stands in contradiction with the face of a child. Everyday I walk past these cute little children and realize they are the great contradiction. They should not be alive. This world is too harsh for them. Yet because of the love and faith of these sisters, there is a place of charity that will care for them.

In a world that so easily dismisses the unborn child as a "punishment" or a "burden" or focuses simply on the mother, my time here has given me a new face for this thing in the womb, it is beautiful. It is a child. And it is these Missionaries who strive to love even more those who are unloved. Perhaps this is also our challenge, to take on a bit of the charism of the Missionaries, to love even more for those who cannot or will not love. Love the unborn, love the elderly, love the disabled, love the migrant, love them all. It is love that will ultimately outlast everything. It is love that is the strongest weapon. And the Missionaries know it.

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