[Venezuela] Only through Faith, the great gift that God gives me every day, can all my being be mobilized to serve Christ, centre of my life, in the person of those who are poor. And if, “… Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love that is received and communicated as experience of grace and joy” (Porta Fidei), I know that I have received all the love the Lord wants me to transmit joyfully; it is a grace to share. It is in the Eucharist, in prayer and meditation on the Word of God where I feel that my Faith grows, matures and is strengthened. This happens as well when I share Faith with my Community.
Now, after having crossed the Ocean, the Lord wants me to transmit that “experience of grace and joy” to a group of young pregnant teens, all younger than eighteen, or already with children. Together with my Community, in which I find support and strength, we try to share life and Faith. They are young adolescents with stories so hard, on occasion with lives so broken, that it is a load too heavy for their fragile shoulders, weakened either by illness or traumatic life experiences. They demand and need a lot of attention. To understand and to accompany them implies that one live the call of the Lord in Faith to welcome them “with sweetness, compassion, cordiality, respect and devotion” (St Vincent 11-11-1657). They are adolescents with the rebelliousness characteristic of their age. With their added problems they cannot understand their difficult situation. For us it also entails great difficulty. It is very painful to accept that girls, so young, have to suffer so much. Many times it is difficult to know what they need at that precise moment, or how to act. Then it is only by “turning the medal” that it becomes possible to live the situation and, in Faith, to find the Lord in that reality.
The strength of Faith leads us to live the closeness and the tenderness, together with firmness, which is the only language they can understand. It is Faith that tells us we can help them choose a culture of life against the culture of death. By Faith we know that everyone has enormous capacities to succeed because God gives them to us. The person cannot remain in pain because she/he can transcend her traumas and difficulties. It is in understanding the love that God has for them that your heart is open to them.
Amidst it all, there is a small “oasis”, the children with their innocence, joy and trust in the sisters,
along with their love. We easily see the face of God in them.
Faith and hope show us every day that it is worthwhile to devote ourselves completely to their service because, in spite of the difficulties, one can see Grace acting, and, little by little, change is perceived. Each young girl leaves prepared to face life and goes forward with her work. This is an incentive to continue walking along and giving thanks to the Lord.
It is also an encouragement to our Faith to see so many people who generously, and almost entirely by a Christian commitment, collaborate with our work on behalf of these adolescents and their children. They are various professionals, groups, companies and businesses; each of them gives their bit so this work could go forward.
Lastly, I would say that I look in Faith on the mission of the Company and of the Church, the mission to which we all are called, wherever we are, to “do what the Son of God did on Earth” (St Vincent). We are to live what Jesus lived and made passionately his cause, to which he devoted all his strength, all his life, to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is already here and it is for all (conf. Lk 11,20).
This conviction gives sense to my life and is the exciting force behind all my work. For that reason, with Mary, who also accompanies me, and in thanksgiving, I sing the Magnificat for all that the Lord does in me.
Sister Ramona Alonso – Spanish Missionary