What have I done for Christ? What do I do for Christ? What will I do for Christ?
Ignatius stretches into the cool, salty night breeze. Venice, after midnight and very dark, but he can no longer sleep. The paving in St Mark’s square is cold, having lost the day’s sun, but he’s slept in harsher settings. Both knees are complaining. He sees a shadow across the piazza and somehow thinks of illness. Plague. Or the rumours of plague. This seems to encourage the homeless to sleep in sheltered doorways for some reason. Superstition, no doubt. He sniffs the air and smiles at the notion of sea dog, holding on to the bones of adventure like a starved terrier. And he is, of course, hungry. Always hungry. But this could be misleading – you could fast too much and take false pride in the effort. And why exalt when self-flagellation exposes bone? Even penance required discernment. Foul rags needed removal to see the true wound.
Discernment could reach a point where it seemed no more – and no less – than disciplined, mannered self-talk, a structured inquiry without personal investment. But always, at the end, so difficult – perhaps that was key. If easier, it might risk complacency after all. He searched the sky for familiar lights and movements, suddenly aware of the night splash of water everywhere. He and four others immersed in Venice’s dark places.
Almost five centuries later and the same stars, quirkily upside down, are casually shining over another Jesuit connection, in the Southern Hemisphere, where similar shapes and figures now define a residential facility instead of an historic piazza. The name, however, has as much majesty: Corpus Christi Community, a safe haven for broken men, rejected, outcast, hurt, way-sided or forgotten by their own circumstances, being loved and care for by the same nurturing Spirit who guided those in Venice five hundred year past.
Something to reflect on:
Jesus asked people to go and remove stench ridden bandages from Lazarus, who rose from the dark. And they did.
Can I recall a time in my life where God has called me to step into the unknown festering wounds of society and offer care and comfort?
Thank you to Annmaree Sutton for this contribution to our Erromeria Pilgrimage. Annemaree coordinates the JISA Campion outreach to Corpus Christi Community. Corpus Christi Community in Greenvale, VIC, was founded by Mother Teresa. It is a community for up to 90 men with a background of homelessness and substance abuse.