Six years ago, I had my first visit to Amigos de Jesús, an event that has touched my life radically. In this unique place, I have experienced joy, peace, and love in a deep way and felt the presence of God between us clearly.
“Amigos de Jesús is a little piece of Heaven on Earth” was one of my first expressions I used when sharing with someone about my time in Honduras. Maybe it sounds like an exaggeration but as Christians we believe Jesus and his promises: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. (Matthew 18:20) To gather in His name is misunderstood many times. We reduce it to explicit moments of prayer but it is much more than that. It means to relate to each other in His name and in His way. We are gathering in His name depending how we connect and relate to each other. If there is love, compassion and mercy, there is God. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). The way we treat other is the way we treat God. One my first visit, I was impressed by the love at Amigos, specially coming from the little ones, who Jesus himself identifies with them (cf. Matthew 25, 45)
Actually all this could be a good “measure” for our prayer life. “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”(1 John 4:20).
As people, we can have a real intensive prayer life but if it is not integrated in our life, it sounds like an egocentric practice or even as an escape mechanism. At the same time, we need to understand that healthy prayer is the true fuel to live and to love. Jesus was known for being in solitude and prayer with his Abba (Father) very often. Many theologians agree that His prayer life was the secret power of His ministry. We cannot live without prayer.
Our children have taught me to love and to pray. At the time of my first visit to Amigos de Jesús, I was a member of a Catholic Movement for 20 years and a seminarian for 7 in Argentina. I was visiting to do “my mission” and “help” a group of “poor” kids in Honduras. But finally the one being helped was me.
Many values are lived at Amigos and one of the core ones is prayerfulness. My first memory of Amigos is about just that - prayer. In the evening of my first day, I was invited to be part of the prayer circle. It was emotional seeing all the children holdings hands and praying in a spontaneous way with simplicity and joy. Most of them started like this: “Gracias Señor,” expressing gratitude to God for all the simple things about life: food, having a bed to sleep in, for the love of the ‘madrinas’ and ‘padrinos’ (caregivers), for the benefactors, for Fr. Dennis, for the teachers, etc.
Kids coming from difficult tragedies such abuse, extreme poverty, and rejection were not asking for anything and if they did ask for something, it was for others. They never ask God for themselves. They intercede and as Fr Dennis often says, “the ear of God hears your name from the lips of ´the least’.” During these years many people have experienced miracles thanks to the prayer of our children. They always pray for all of you and it is powerful!
Six years after this first visit I have become a priest for Amigos de Jesús, and I am living at the ‘hogar.’ I told you at the beginning that Amigos has touched my life in a radical way and prayer has been the key to realize God´s whispers in my life journey.
Prayer is present every day and is the soul of everything. At Amigos, we pray in different ways: contemplative prayer, blessing every meal, the circle prayer, daily Mass, rosaries, etc. Amigos de Jesús is a Sanctuary mainly for the gift of prayer, and as the kids say, I want to finish expressing: “Gracias Señor.”
~Padre ‘Pato’ Patricio Lynch, Amigos de Jesús Priest