Wednesday 17 February 2016

The poor open up the door of a New Love le pauvre ouvre une porte à un Nouvel Amour

The poor open up the door of a New Love

In humanity and in the Church, the mystery of the Infinite Love of God unfurls over time,. In this way the mystery of the Annunciation of Mary’s angel is revealed to humanity when the Church was ’capable’ of bearing and of working out this unspeakable love of God for her. It was first of all necessary to live the mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus so as to ’understand’ the gift of God that was always offered to mankind.For us, the Annunciation of the Revelation is that divine Love dwells in our humanity. In Jesus, ’conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary’ a new humanity spreads out, one that is called to live of a new Love, One that is divine. Since Mary gave her consent to form in her Jesus’ ’humanity, thanks to her humble acceptance, she remains the original place to which we ought to come back in order to welcome this new Life. This’ divine milieu’ prepared by the Holy Spirit from the beginning is the ’countenance’ of all birth to Divine life. The place of transformation of human love in divine Love.

How can we speak about this ’transformation’ of Love in our Humanity? Is it an assimilation, an assumption of human love in Divine Love? This transformation came about in Mary at the beginning. Jesus, true God and true Man, brings about unity in a mysterious way. For Mary, this transformation came about through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The poor, the little ones and the suffering, continually go through this path of suffering and death . Through this dying to oneself which disability imposes on them, the poor ones in l’Arche pass by sufferings which assimilate their life to Jesus ’life. Begging for love, for human attention, they become more and more empty of their own self. Mary becomes their model and the Holy Spirit can dwell in their heart. The Church’s Sacraments, in particular the Eucharist, bring about this New Love which unites the one who loves to the loved one.

It is by being ’taken up’ in God in this unique relationship with the poor that the l’Arche assistant discovers a new way of living, a new way of loving, that is completely disinterested. Here he can be engendered (risen) to divine life, to divine Love which comes and transforms his heart. The mystery of Jesus, new Adam and the mystery of Mary, new Eve, is necessary if we are to understand this new ’engenderment’ to Life. Most of all, we have to enter into it. We dare declare that it is the poor who enter into it first of all, and we do thanks to them and with them, in the Holy Spirit. We need to let ourselves be ’taken up’ by the whole new dynamic of the Incarnation. In the l’Arche homes, the poor

are at the heart. The condition of sharing life in the home is that the assistant acknowledges the dignity of this poor person. And so he goes off to the ’wedding feast’ of love which consists in recognising and welcoming one’s own poverty. This comes about when we welcome another person’s poverty. It means to accept to keep on crying out to get the necessary life to live, whether it be human or divine.

The Heart of Jesu and Mary remain the original furnace where from now on all New Love is rooted in it and takes on a body. This is where the Holy Spirit is given. It means to accept to be touched, to be vulnerable one for another. To be put in contact with one’s own cry, one’s own wound, one’s own lacks, so as to cry towards God in truth. The immediate response will be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. The new humanity Mary inaugurates in the Incarnation begins to take on a body, to take on life in our own lives.

Alix was struck by the total poverty of a man she saw at the railway station, he seemed to be alone in the world. The only thing she could do was to be there. She told me that it was obvious for her that she had encountered Jesus Himself in his poverty and in her own, for she who couldn’t do anything for him.

Then there is this other witness : ’This immense tenderness for this dying person in whom I suddenly recognised the irresistible call of a suffering that was crying out to the ultimate love of a woman and which for one unforgettable moment assimilated me to Mary.’

These kinds of witnesses are frequent. These kind of experiences, these transmutations of love that is human-divine are played out at l’Arche between assistants and those they assist.

In the life of Saints, this trigger mechanism, this encounter, is frequent. If we think about Francis of Assisi giving a kiss to a leper. The sufferings that assistants accompany have them pass from a benevolent love, a completely human and generous ’pity’ to another Love that is completely gratuitous and limitless, coming from Elsewhere , giving itself inside of the human heart. Soon we can recognise Divine Love. And so whoever is merciful, and becomes the neighbour of the poor and wounded who have cried out to him, is, in the same movement, Jesus’ very neighbour. The Gospel of the Good Samaritan shows very well what the necessary first step to take is: ’He saw him and was filled with compassion.’