The novices of Latin America and their novice mistress share how they have lived as Jesus would in recognizing the humanity of Jesus in the seniors of Campoalegre and the youth in the parish of Santo Toribio in Bogota (Columbia).
I thank God for my experience at Christmas in Campoalegre, Neiva. God showed his presence in my life in various ways, especially through the faces of seniors; I felt powerless and was called to humility before the reality they live because of their illness, of the life’s hurts that they feel in their worn-out bodies and in their hearts showing their “fragility and poverty in God’s hands”. These are people who feel alone, set aside, abandoned. Yet their faces showed an attitude of strength, of patience and joy as they face life.
In sum, I feel that in this short experience, ‘the Word who was made flesh and lived among us’ came to meet me. I loved and served as Jesus would.
When did I experience the humanity of Jesus in elderly persons?
When I paid attention to others, when I took time to listen to them, to wash them, to feed them. I feel that in these suffering faces the Lord revealed Himself. To serve gratuitously, and to receive a ‘God Bless you’ is the best reward that any human being needs in order to continue to discover the human face of Jesus which needs attention and gratuitous love.
The mission in Campoalegre helped me to come out of myself, to give a friendly hand to these seniors, to make them feel that they are important, that they are valuable persons. In spite of their fragility, they showed me their joy, their laughter. What I lived among them is priceless, it was an experience that made me more human.
To live my first experience outside of my country, meant for me to live an uprooting from my culture (posadas) to enter into the Columbian culture (Novena de Navidad). During the Christmas mission I saw the face of a newborn child in every elderly person, in the children and the adults who came to the home to sing accompanied by clapping, drums and tambourines.
I lived this mission experience each day with much love and devotion as I helped the seniors to walk, as I fed them and listened to them. I let myself be touched by their way of giving affection, of singing, of conversing. I discovered in them a God who invites me to come out of myself and to be attentive to the necessities of those who suffer.
Being with the seniors was a gift for me, a gift from those who have little but who know how to give much.
As novice mistress accompanying novices who are becoming Daughters of Jesus, it was important for me to live this experience of mission.
The Christmas mission gave me the opportunity to share our charism with the youth of our parish, to believe in all the potential of these young people, able to commit themselves when we entrust them with a mission. It also allowed me to notice that our charism can be shared in different ways. Silenia and I were witness to certain expressions of the youth when they came to our home to prepare the theme for the novena: ‘we feel comfortable in your home’, ‘you love us, you accept us as we are’. Is this not humanizing the world of youth as Jesus would? Is it not another way of doing pastoral vocational work? Maybe no one will join the Daughters of Jesus, but a little group will have found meaning to their lives and we would have prevented some from looking for answers in places that destroy life.
Sharing with the youth implies opening the doors of our home and our hearts and being very available to welcome them. This is what we try to live in the novitiate community.