Walking alongside the poor, alongside Jesus: a pro-vocation

Sister Viviana Ferero Angulo dj, on mission in Colombia, share her reflections with us on this subject.

Jesus called, and still calls today, those he wants with the same promise, the same sending, and the same power. One could say that he also calls with the same obstacles or challenges that, historically, in different contexts, have affected the following and proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. Under this premise, we walk today as disciples and apostles.

“Jesus … summoned those he wanted … they were to be his companions and to be sent out to preach, with power to cast out devils.” (Gospel of St Mark, 3:13 – 14)

He desires those whom he calls, and he accompanies them. He sends them to “heal” and to  “cast out devils”.

These aspects are the consequence of our response to his call.

Living with him

We have said “Yes”, first of all, to the invitation to live with him.

He invites us to :

  • know how to be with him, to listen to Him with pleasure.
  • to have an attitude of newness.
  • to wait for him personally and together.

It is there, in the silence of our prayer, in the study of Scripture and the Magisterium, and in the events of life itself, that He speaks to us and guides us. His response is creative and always surprising. He gives us peace and encouragement to continue the journey in his name.

Liberating our relationships

Secondly, he sends us to free our relationships. Even if we are unfinished and sometimes a little deaf and short-sighted, he sends us to cultivate the relationship of brothers and sisters, day by day, with patience, dedication, and gratitude. Following the Lord requires that we recognize that we can learn from one another and that we grow and develop our gifts and talents as communities of life.

Casting out demons

A third aspect of liberation includes ‘casting out devils’. Our ‘Yes’ finds its strength in this goal when we decide personally and together to reach out to the excluded of our economic, educational, social and religious systems. We have this in mind when we strive to encourage the poor to :

  • love and care for themselves.
  • organise themselves.
  • be brothers and sisters, friends.
  • free themselves and take responsibility.
  • live in solidarity.
  • develop projects in the different dimensions of their lives.

It is a joy today to see that the charisms of the religious institutes are still very much alive. We see them committed in the name of Jesus to being with migrants, vulnerable women, and disoriented men. We see them with children and wounded youth in different socio-economic and emotional contexts. Again, it may be with people from various horizons – street people, the unemployed, the sick and/or vulnerable elderly, marginalised or Afro-Indigenous populations, deprived of freedom.

What dedication and years of tradition of service, of helping the poor to organise themselves, of being there for those who suffer! What devotion to loving them, to encouraging them to do their best, to making them believe in themselves, to knowing and believing in Jesus who loves them and dreams of a better life for them.

Signs of life

Religious life is there, as they say, at the bottom of the barrel, like the “women of the dawn” who went to see and accompany the Lord in his moment of pain. They saw the Lord die, and they waited with patience and love.

 “It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb”. (Gospel of St John, 20:1)

There they met life, hope, the risen Jesus. When all seemed lost, they learned to discover newness, signs of life, possibilities, and hope resurfaced.  Knowing how to hope, knowing how to do, and having confidence, these are the gifts that these women, the first witnesses of the Resurrection, teach us. Religious life, with its choice to walk alongside the neediest, prefigures this Gospel. Religious life accompanies in faith those who seem to have lost everything, gradually giving birth to hope, newness, and joy.

Conscious of our status of disciples

We want to continue to praise God for this Pro-Vocation to be with Him, to love Him, and to follow Him with others. Aware of our discipleship we want to :

  • continue to learn to serve the poor in an articulate and organised way, among ourselves and with others.
  • to do this with the projection and perspective of the Kingdom.
  • renew our fraternal relationships.

We want to learn to proclaim the Good News with passion, simplicity, openness, joy, and creativity. This challenge includes risking an ecological conversion of our ways of consuming and living, as well as remembering, looking to Him, and reciting the daily mantra :

 

“What would Christ do in my place?

“What is Your will, in this current panorama of the world, of our Congregation?”

“What are you calling me to do concretely today, when we talk about renewing our styles and ways of serving, of walking together?”

We must continue to let him respond creatively, as he has always done, so that it becomes a habit of life that gradually transfigures our actions and our way of proceeding, that marks us according to our personal and congregational charisms.

Sr Viviana Fereo Angulo dj,

Colombia


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