chastity formula

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3rd call?

1st one I was around 4 and it became a reality when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had to draw it, and guess what I draw?

A nun.

2nd after I finished school. The obstacle? My dad said NO WAY! you ought end a professional career and then you can do what you want.

After living away from home, I came back with a professional title, worked for a couple of years and I tried vocational discernment with a Jesuit priest. I ignored to much that time about what it meant to be Catholic, and had no clue about a lot of things. So when this priest told me I was not suitable for religious life I took it for granted.

After spending some more years out of Bolivia, I ended discovering finally my Church and Faith in the last country I thought I could find God. It was a nice afternoon, I was about to finish the first book of Jesus of Nazareth by J. Ratzinger. It was part of my 3 month job at one of the places I consider a bit of paradise on earth. Mount Rainier was quiet, and when I was reading the last paragraphs, a soft wind crossed me and then I knew. My ontological questions were answered in a brief and complete way that left my heart forever changed.

Granted, after that it has been no sweet ride all the times, but even with the dark days I found later, I can really feel very blessed and have no complains. Almost 2 years ago I started preparing myself to become a consecrated lay MC. That's where I discovered I had a long time craving to be more time in front of my Savior and Creator.  Holy hours are now a vital part, and even when I just have one day of the week for this, I've realized what a treasure is to make room for more than just one day in His presence.

End of December 2014, we had a retreat for LMC in Bolivia (we are 6 now). Sr. Martin made sure to prepare some talks with some priests and she closed the talks with a beautiful one about how aside from Prayer/Charity, LOVE will give coherence to all that we do. She also made sure we had a lot of time in front of Him. And that's when it hit me one more time: COME!

I wrote to the previous superior who was living in another city and realized that I struggle with obedience. I asked her if it was also difficult for her and how that major detail could become an obstacle if I didn't trust enough in God's Grace. When I reached home I told my mom about this desire reigniting once more in me and how I struggled because I kept thinking that I had to be available to take care of my parents in few years ahead.

She said this should not be an obstacle. While tears were running down my cheeks, my dad came and asked what was all about. My mom explained and to my surprise, he sat down and said that I should explore this call, that them becoming older and needing care should not be the issue to hold me away from God. I felt more tears as this answer was like a big clear sign.

But where to begin? how will I find the place where He wants me to be? Somethings are clear already. I want to look into contemplative, traditional and sort of trappist, benedictine life. Yes, at least that is clear now.

So this is why, this year I have to depart in some more months from work and start a pilgrimage to seek silence. I need to hear better for this time it won't be my will.This time I know that His will has to be done.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Gift yourself!

This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. (Gaudium Et Spes 24).

Why do we forget so fast that Christ has gifted Himself to us? Why we don't worry about what gift we will give Him?. 

Even the priest at the parish I assist and help is reluctant to gift people advent songs before Christmas. His excuse? People won't understand! "yeah, so let's keep them hiding and living in ignorance, instead of educating them".

To the extreme, in Bolivia people has the belief that the image of a Jesus Baby should listen Mass and receive holy water year by year. The question remains in the air: How come these people guard an image and don't care to attend Mass the rest of the year? ... how come the image receives the benediction (and remains unchanged) and they refuse to receive it and decide finally to change?

At home everybody was running busy with food preparation, packing of gifts, shipping cards, and other things. This year I was longing for Mass the 24th and had some time to reflect during Advent. Compared to other years, I was arriving to Christmas more prepared than other years. But around me all the hassle was very distracting. 
After Mass, my 2nd gift to Jesus.

I've learned that we tend to forget easily what is important during this time of the year. In the streets is even worst, people buying frenetically gifts and gifts! there are some points when they start fighting or arguing over silly things. Others feel such pressure that end up complaining. 

This year I was invited to participate in a radio show, a special for Christmas day. I went to Mass early in the morning and then had breakfast. While others were sleeping, I was ready to talk about what Christmas should be. 

God is merciful and His Spirit was eloquent. My mom heard the whole program (she was making sure I was not going to say some heresy) and told me it all came out really good. My tone, the words I used, the message and all the quotes of Scripture and other theology authors. Music was played by 1 violinist and his two sisters. The whole thing was simple yet joyful. After the program I was able to talk with the 3 of them and found new beloved children of God.

My guess is that if next year at home we will skip all the dinner preparation, keep it simple and after Mass, adore at home the best GIFT we could have ever received. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

O sapientia

 O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. 

O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.

Teach me Father to chose according to Your Wisdom. Too many years choosing according to what the world wants or what my heart wants. No prudence in my decisions. Teach me Lord to be obedient to your Word.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Forgive me Father, I'm a coward!

Things at work haven't been going that well, and after a scene I had with my boss, I was sent a strong notification. I was about to prepare myself and build a defense against some lies written in that note. 

For some reason I waited, until 2 days ago. That's when my final year retreat began. 

The lay missionaries of charity is a very small group in Bolivia. We have only one lady that has renewed her vows and 4 of us in the path to become consecrated. This was a much needed retreat as a community, but personally God knows better I was CRAVING for this time. 

First part of the retreat I was worried and wondering what was I supposed to do about work. After the first talk on PRAYER, I had the first clear step, leave it to GOD, pray for the person who said all sort of things about me. But this issue was still around my head.

Second talk was about EUCHARIST and how joined with prayer, are the pillars to build our spiritual and missionary life. But as I was approaching the 3rd main talk, I realized that work, salary, unemployment, taking care of my parents, my material possessions and some other things more were just a BIG EXCUSE for the main issue.

GOD IS CALLING!!! and He barely calls out loud and with fireworks. His call is subtle but continuous. So I had to realize one major thing: I'm scared! once more I'm scared to let go all the things I've mentioned and more, and to take a second major leap of faith in my life. 

How did this happen? Less than 3 years ago, I was pushed to the edge, to realize that I really didn't need to be secured with food, shelter or cloth. Despite how complicated was my situation, all that I needed to live were given got me by friends or even strangers. And I must recognize that during that time I was a JOYFUL person! for I didn't have to worry about the most basic things in life. I was conscious and like a small child I was thankful for all the caring that God gave me through others. 

This past 2 years and 3 months (not that I'm counting!!) have taken me away from that point. I've become again a person who depends on a salary, who is worried about what shall I do next (after I quit my job), buried in tedium and running as fast as I could to prepare my catechesis talk for next Sunday. I've found so much pleasure in reading about saints, theology, and other spiritual works, that to arrive to my office and be plugged to a redundant meeting for 3 hours was pure torture. I'm sick of all the hypocrisy and mediocrity that reigns in this environment. Worst of all is that I've been feeling that I'm starting to be absorbed by it. Of course that through prayer I fight this, but it is becoming unbearable.   

After our last talk on LOVE, where our dear Sister Martin MC used the book of Luke 6:26-38 as reference, I had a stronger feeling that I'm just playing the coward card. 

LORD!! I feel afraid of letting go these new safety belts that I have in my life again. I've become too comfortable with my possessions once more! And even use my parents older age as an excuse to pretend that I'm blind and deaf so I can't understand what you are saying.


That was part of the answer You gave me that day at the forest when I was banging my head with the questions: Who am I? Why have you created me? What am I supposed to do here? Why a woman?

And this answer came again to my head while having our last Adoration. Shocking? Yes and no. Somehow I feel I have buried this clear answer with all my comfort so now it seems again a distant or even vanishing statement. That's when You moved me to tears! And indescribable sadness clouded my mind and I felt such a pain not only for me but for so many who suffer under your name, like I haven't felt in months!

That's when I had to accept it. I'm a COWARD!! And it caused even more pain. After our closing Mass and saying good bye I came back home with a mix of joy and sadness. After a talk with my mother and all the wonderful things she had to tell me about how attentive is our Mother to intercede for her petition of a  child for my brother and wife, I told her all of this. 

Now both my parents have made it explicit that I should not use them as an excuse. If God is calling, well who am I to pretend that I will not listen just so that I can take care of my parents? Or because I have to find another job? or because I have to prove the world about my professional skills achieving something even greater than my boss? or just because I need to get the new touch screen 10' laptop? 

Today I have fallen again on my knees, praying THY WILL BE DONE!! not my dreams, but YOUR DREAM. I'm too small and weak, but You are the only one to give me the strength I need to overcome my fears and cease being a coward. May I have Your Grace so I can LISTEN and SEE what You really want me to do. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness

They shall have their fill!!

A couple of weeks ago I was commanded a mission to represent my country at an international meeting. The whole process to get there was already terrible as little help is given even when they say this should be a fast process. Regardless of all the hassle I was able to be at this meeting.

Once there I coordinated with the delegation chief on the work it was going to be made. Honestly, I'm not a person who loves to support ideology, more so when this is totally detached from reality. This is the case of the topic I'm in charge. In this sense I limited myself to pay attention to the general discussion and learn, and when the topic I had interest on defending I jumped in. This lead me to a smaller working group. Needless to say that indeed I learned a lot. For instance there are many things my higher authority never shared, so this was at least a place to find out some information.

While the meeting was taking place, of course I took advantage of free moments to network. I met a lot of interesting persons, but also found out that there can be some possibilities to get some cooperation and build capacity. I came back, presented my reports and started to connect to the next thing.

Little I expected to find out that some people is gossiping and mentioning that I had my own agenda over there, as if I have done what ever pleased me. First of all I truly despise gossip. Second, what's the point of being a grown up if you can't address differences with maturity and on time?.

For a moment I was a bit shocked, but then I started to pray....and more than that, I cried for help so I reached my LMC family, my Charismatic siblings, the MC sisters... and in less than 10 minutes I realized that my Father in Heaven is right here with me.

My mom told me a phrase that makes complete sense: Christ didn't cry at the Cross. Why would I despair with an attack? And finally I pondered a lot on how much patience and humility God is asking from me right now.

So after a Rosary, I finally found the strength and started a thankful prayer. These challenges are the ones that bring me closer to you dear Father! I will be brave in Your spirit and stand firm under the false attacks.  Not my will, but THY WILL.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chastity in Thought

Last 3 days I spent them close to one of my favorite persons in the professional area. I met Pedro 2012 through a video conference. Later, I got to meet him for real. I have not much clue who is he, except that he is able to talk biotechnology language and is really good at organizing international meetings and educating people about genetic modified organisms and so on.

It was instant intellectual attraction!
Of course all contact with him was always very professional and I never had the chance to talk other things with him. Still I had a strong crash on him. 

This time I had worked more. This time I had experience and practiced on how to focus better and get  as close I can to see people with Divine Vision. Yes it is not something easy to achieve as we usually stain our glasses with sin.

Cat tie speaks for itself
From day 1, I had to put all my effort in self control. The main reason is that I didn't want to see him as an object, but to see further and appreciate his presence as a whole human being. Granted, I still don't know much about him, but we had more chances to talk and turns out he was very kind to suggest a new alternative for my work situation. It is actually a very kind suggestion, and very thankful as a human being for that. 

Today I depart away once more. Only my Father in heaven knows if I'll see him again. But today I can also have a little happiness dance!!

For I was able through prayer, penitence and a lot of commitment with God to achieve a step more into thought chastity. Not as easy as the world thinks, but in my Father's arms it was not impossible.

This whole small-big achievement is more meaningful as today is Mother Teresa's day, and tomorrow I'll start my novice year before becoming for the first time a Lay Missionary of Charity. 

Blessed day, blessed step, blessed life that is granted for FREE, to set me FREE from the slavery of this world.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Being God's Beloved

"All I want to say to you is 'You are the Beloved', and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being - 'You are the BelovedHenri Nouwen

In 2012 I was still looking for a job and ended up interviewing for Bethlehem Farm. Since there was lots of snow, there was not much to do after 6pm. Despite I had my Ratizenger's book, I was tempted and attracted to read a book I found there: LIFE OF THE BELOVED by Henry Nouwen (1992). Up to that moment I've never heard about the author and had no clue what to expect. By the end of the book I was moved and kept the thought of being part of the BELOVED in my head.

A week ago I celebrated 19 years of having received the Confirmation Sacrament, and at least 2 months ago the thought of being God's beloved jumped into my head once more. This time I gave more time to it and even took it to Adoration. I only wish I can treasure this knowledge/certainty very close to my heart with Jesus. 

Experience the LOVE
Last weeks have been hectic, but at the same time full of new encounters and in more than one occasion I found myself praising the fact that WE are God's Beloved! By helping a friend with her papers I ended up meeting her cousin who turned out to be a member of the Opus Dei. We had such an intoxicating spiritual conversation that I ended up going home at 2:30am. 

Recently I met Lupe, who recently started her path to become a LMC. What a wonderful time we shared, as if we were friends for centuries. These two ladies and other persons I've been meeting during my Catechism class, study groups and more have showed me the BLESSING that is to be in this family that God loves so much. For there are differences among us, even in the way we think or the level of knowledge we have. But it is more certain that we have something that links us above all that. And that is what I recognize now and simply smile and think out loud inside myself: IT IS GREAT TO BE PART OF THE BELOVED ONES.

Last year, giving up ALL (yes even the persons I love) and learning to trust/let myself be loved by God Father was a major step in my life. A step that seems has lead me into the patio or perhaps the first room of my interior castle, where God is my Lord and Savior. What is going on this year, it seems to be so connected to the reflections I had last  year....that I want to jump or fall down in Adoration, as these are the GIFTS that my soul was craving. 

Deeply thankful Father for SOOO MUCH you give, teach and LOVE us, your beloved ones!