There are looks and smiles that pierce the person. That go beyond the appearance because in their interior the identification with Jesus is being lived little by little. Profound look and smile. This was our Petra Mª Hernández fi. There are not many words. There is silence but silence grateful for her struggle, for her sobriety, for her simplicity, for her dedication to the end. For those of us who are beginning in the religious life Petra Mª and, a few months ago, Silvina gave us Christified testimonies and encouraged us to let ourselves be led by the God of LIFE. Today we are giving thanks for Petra and what better than to do so with her words, which she gives us through the “Delegación de Pastoral Vocacional de Madrid” [Vocation Ministry Office of Madrid]. It is a real gift to read her testimony today. Like her we are invited to bring it to LIFE.
Before the question, what trait of Jesus Christ seduces you? many motions to share arose in me, which at different times have been key and remain a constant.
The first trait that comes to me is His joy and His gaze. Together? Yes, together, many know the Christ of Xavier, I think it is a significant picture for me from the juniorate, we went on Spiritual Exercises several years to Xavier. The experience of course is always different, but I liked going to the Eucharist first thing there, next to Him. The picture that for years has accompanied me in my assignments, at first it was in my room then later in the offices. Those who know it already know that it is Christ on the cross smiling, smiling at life, after the passion He smiles. Together with the smile His gaze, full of mercy, patience, understanding, the look of the merciful Father by whom I feel welcomed, loved; a gaze that helps me look at reality in a positive way. In the last probation in Rome, we had the experience of abnegation on Fridays; I did it with the Little Sisters of the Cross. The experience consisted of visiting elderly women, fixing them up and the house where they lived. One of the elderly women said to me, “Look me in the eye and you will understand me.” Trying to look into the eyes many times makes me pray as in the song Give me Lord your look and bowels of compassion … Set my gaze, Lord, on the other heart … May we know how to look at the other and with your grace to understand, comprehend and help him. Inside me is echoing, ” I want you to be happy, in the Lord.” Joy that is serene and profound, which comes from trying to live life from Him, being attentive to His passing in daily life.
Another trait is His patience with others, in teaching the disciples, trying to make them understand the meaning of His words and what they are living. At Emmaus they still do not understand until He explains the scriptures to them and breaks the bread for them. On many occasions I feel like the disciples and I feel He is asking me – do you still don’t understand? – And from there He continues to invite me to teach, to enjoy education, to transmit His values, to transmit Him who lives on in our society.
A third trait is the nearness that He has in inviting me. A strong experience is feeling Him close by at the well giving me water, giving me His living water, taking an interest in what I am living, the two of us sharing; accompanying me in life in the different stages not only of formation but in the stages of life. He has invited me to integrate life in moments that seem to us happy and in the hardest: sickness and death of loved ones, congregational decisions that even while one accepts them from the heart, humanly at times cause you pain. A pain that can only be overcome out of love and by making the journey with other Daughters of Jesus, lay persons and religious of other congregations who help me to integrate the experiences. What a great educator! And from what I have experienced, He invites me to accompany, to help others to process. In that accompaniment of others I feel that I step on Holy Ground, every time we share life and we seek to find You in it.
From what has been communicated in these lines, I thank Him that the shared life continues to seduce us. And ask him to “continue helping us in the Religious Life to live the traits with which He seduces us”.