Signs of hope in a complex world
Last December, I wrote that my cellphone had gone silent. Well, it was not quiet for long! The Lord began to call very soon. Almost immediately, I would say! His many calls come from a diversity of people and places.
Over the last few months, I have had a frequent urge to stop and write. One morning, an interesting topic would come to my mind. The next day, a different one. There were so many things I wanted to share! But time passes quickly, and it is difficult to stop. Even today, when I set out to concentrate and write, I received a phone call I could not ignore. (I was thankful I answered because it turned out to be very timely for the person calling.)
I am presently living in Mexico City, a gigantic city full of challenges. It is also a city with plenty of people hungry for meaning, thirsting for hope, longing for God. We are re-establishing our religious community here, and it is amazing how the Holy Spirit is opening doors for us.
Mexico is going through difficult times. It is a part of the world undergoing an economic and political crisis, humanitarian emergencies and wars. The church in Mexico, like the larger church, suffers severe trials that call us to a constant purification. The trials can be God's calls to greater faithfulness to the Gospel, to greater consistency of life.
While reading the newspaper or watching the news, some days, I have the feeling that evil is defeating us. But going through the articles in Global Sisters Report is always a bath of hope. Yes, hope, because there are so many good things happening below the surface!
There is a lot of seed of the Kingdom being sown in so many lands. We women definitely have an enormous potential to influence society and generate significant changes. Moreover, consecrated women have the strength of the Spirit. We receive the constant inspiration of the Lord, who sends us to be sowers of life, sowers of love, sowers of faith. How numerous are the actions in defense of life, the struggle for justice! How amazing is brotherly and sisterly love!
In all countries, consecrated women are at the forefront, opening ways for the Lord. How many sisters are risking their lives in zones of war and violence! How many of them are working in places where striving for justice means sharing in Jesus' passion and death!
In the midst of suffering, we do not forget that the Lord is alive. Death never has the last word. Reading the Acts of the Apostles during Easter season sheds light on our path. The first disciples had to look for ways to announce the Gospel, had to discern the mission fields. They had to let the Holy Spirit open their minds to break cultural barriers and go beyond borders. We know there were intense discussions among them about what was to be kept and what was to be abandoned from their Jewish religion. They had to explore new ways to organize the church.
Peter and John, at first, were miraculously freed from jail, but Stephen was killed. It was surely a shock for the disciples. They had to learn that the road would not be one of glory and easy victories, just as Jesus' path had not been — mysterious ways of the incarnation that do not preserve us from suffering, failures or death! Jesus was vulnerable, and so are we. As Paul learned, early Christians had to learn that the power of God displays itself in our weakness.
Nowadays, many brothers and sisters walk along that road of vulnerability. We see in them the extraordinary force of the Spirit, making them witnesses of Christ. They follow Jesus, even undergoing prison or shedding their blood. Their lives are inspiration and impulse.
Many people today shed their blood out of hate. The good news is that more, many more, whose names we do not even know give their lives out of love. Loving even their enemies, they are sowing the seeds of the Kingdom. We know that like a mustard seed, it will grow so big that it will be the home of plenty of birds.
Many witnesses have gone before us. Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity is a young institute, only 56 years old. Last May 7, our first missionary sister left us to join the Holy Trinity and Mary in heaven. Ana Miguel was 90 years old.
When I learned the news, many memories flooded into my mind. In the beginning, she was very close to Fr. Jaime Bonet, the founder. Later, she was almost like a silent pillar of the building; she was a guide, a shelter where every missionary knew she could come. I felt I was always welcomed by her; she immediately made you feel at home. She had the fortitude of a woman of God.
I pray that all consecrated women may have that peace and love to share, each one of us on the front lines wherever the Holy Spirit sends us. May we be women always attentive to God's calls; may we be apostles, able to find the seeds of the Kingdom in the midst of a complex world, women who may always be signs of hope.
[Sr. Lucía Aurora Herrerías Guerra was president of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity from 2012 to 2018. She is currently living in Mexico, doing historical research on her community and its founder.]