"Not so easily was I remade as made. He spoke and all things were made. But while he made me simply and at once by a word, he has in the remaking of me said many words, and worked wonders and suffered much." (St. Bernard)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Have Seen The Lord!

Felices Pascuas! Viva Cristo Rey!!

‘Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what He told her.’
(Jn. 20: 18)

This past Holy Week, Semana Santa, we were so blessed to see our Lord Jesus Christ. He revealed Himself in so ways. And I want to announce to you the many ways through which He came to be with us.

Gonzalo and Los Rios
We spent the entire week in a small community called Colonia Los Rios. The local catechist, Gonzalo, and his wife, Elizabeth, allowed us to stay in their home. Most of their children are married and have kids of their own. They welcomed us sincerely into their home as family. They understand what it means to be a family in Christ. They allowed us a bedroom. With joy, Elizabeth, was up at 5:30am cooking breakfast for us. Gonzalo was our guide and helped us with catechesis. Sometimes his son, Juan, would show us around. They and so many of the people whom we visited over the course of the week were incredibly generous and, always, offered us food. And not just a little, but in abundance. We do not go hungry. We shared with them scripture and prayed with the families. Like Christ, who gives in abundance, the people here give in abundance. From their hearts, full and open, they share their lives with us. They were Christ to us. In them and by their witness in faith, I have seen the Lord.

Luis teaching the kids.
During the first part of the week we walked an hour to another small community called Runashitu. We spent time with some of the kids singing songs, and then talking about the Catholic faith. Some are about to receive First Communion, while others are receiving Confirmation. We spoke on the importance of these sacraments, and talked about the meaning and movement of La Semana Santa. The peace, joy and openness of the children call to mind the reading in Mt. 19:14: 'Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' For, it is their yearning to believe without seeing, true faith, and their absolute trust in others that earns their place in heaven. Through them, Christ calls us closer to Him, to accept Him for all that He is, and to have complete faith in His goodness. In them, I have seen the Lord.

The kids after receiving God's miracle!
A miracle happened for those who have the eyes to see. On Tuesday before our session with the kids, we handed out 5 miraculous medals to 5 kids. When we got to class all of the kids were asking the other kids, “Where did you get those?” So everyone else asked us for one too. We did not have enough for all of the kids. So not to disappoint anyone, we told them that the next time we visit, we hope to have some more and that would probably be in another month. But, we told them to pray that God would provide them with a medal. Later on that evening Luis traveled to a nearby town, called Chonta Punta, to get some food for our Holy Thursday party with the community. While he was there he came across the nuns that were serving there for the week. They gave Luis about 20 miraculous medals! They were the same ones we had given to the kids just 5 hours before. Now we had enough!! The next day, we gave the kids the medals and told them of the awesome miracle of God. Jesus calls us to 'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Mt. 7:7)' The kids have huge faith! And God answered their prayers. Gloria a Dios! In this miracle, I have seen the Lord!
Talking to the youth in Los Rios.
Last Tuesday, we walked to Runashitu, but this time we were prevented from going the usual way. The night before it rained all night. The road to Runashitu was completely flooded. Gonzalo led us the other way which took us an extra hour to get through, not because of distance but because it was mud and swamp. We had to remove our shoes and walk barefoot in knee deep mud. Sometimes we stepped in water, not knowing what was beneath. Sometimes, we stepped on sharp thorns which tore off in our feet. The symbolism of our journey through the mud and thorns was clear. Our pilgrimage on earth is often times treacherous, filled with many snares. Sin looms in the dark waters of our hearts. It threatens to pull us deep into its grasp to never let us go. It pierces our bodies, leaving not just wounds, but seeking to infect us with its poisonous remains. Yet, Jesus has conquered death and put sin to death. PhotoWhy must we continue walking in it? We are called to persevere. Our trials will only be with us for a little while longer, and for now, they are necessary so that the genuineness of our faith in Him shall prevail (See 1 Pet. 1:3-9). The only way that the Lord has not conquered sin in us is if we choose to give up in the middle of the journey; if we choose to lose hope. WE MUST ACCEPT His gift of faith, and then repent and give all of our sins over to Him, so that we may accept His sacrifice as complete in us. He will show us the way, and that is to proclaim His Good News. So, us four persevered in our journey through the swamp and mud, to proclaim the Gospel to the people in a Runashitu. Through all of this, Gonzalo, who is 74 years old, led the way. He has been serving as a catechist for almost 40 years and he is still sacrificing himself for the people of Los Rios. He has shown me how to persevere in joy. By his sacrifice, I have seen the Lord!

'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!'  (Rom. 10:15)

There is so much more to say. I hope to give more soon. But for now, I ask for your prayers for Colonia Los Rios. God is doing great things here. Blessings to all and peace in the name of Jesus Christ be with you!