– by Alina Garcia Hernandez
God has blessed the Sword of the Spirit abundantly and in many ways. It was his idea that our communities would exist and live in such a distinctive way. In our communities we seek to live radically our call together with other brothers and sisters in a covenant relationship.
Our communities have families and single people. However, many young people who are living in community today have been chosen in a very singular way – a way not even our founders could experience.
Many of us came to community life without anyone “checking with” us, we simply were born or grew up here. I am certain that God wants that to happen for a reason and I trust that we have been chosen that way to do and to be something special for God.
I have taken the task on to discover the perspective of many brothers and sisters who have experienced this and I will publish one story at a time. This is the story for this week:
Masiel García, Verbum Dei Community, Mexicali, México
My name is Masiel Garcia from Mexicali Baja California, Mexico. I love my city and everything in it, including the Verbum Dei community, in which I was born into.
I have always had a very good long term memory, so I remember very well the times when I was little and went to church, to community gatherings, to my friend’s group in community, etc. I also remember that I wanted to die – something that puzzled my mom – when she asked me about it, I answered that it was because I wanted to see God. Since children go straight to heaven when they die, I thought the best investment was to die while young so I wouldn’t sin and lose that unique opportunity… I am today 27 years old, and still here.
My love towards God during my childhood was pure and selfless. There were many things I didn’t understand but I could tell something: the environment I felt when in community activities was different than my school or family. I didn’t know why, but I enjoyed being around community more than anywhere else.
I loved community, I loved being there. Whatever was in the world, even though I didn’t fully understand what it was, was not what I wanted. I knew that God had chosen that place for me; firstly, the environment, then the experience of peace, then a refuge, then learning through courses and talks, knowing that my friends were there and that our friendship was not based upon school or even community, but based upon a special calling that God had given us in that precise moment of our lives.
Even though, I wanted to leave community as a teenager. The community had rules, many rules and very overwhelming, but I heard in someone’s testimony that community life in my stage was like a bicycle and life itself was a mountain. It was my choice to hop onto the bike and climb the hill or to carry the bike on my shoulders. That was a revelation to me, I have three younger sisters, I wanted to set the best possible example for them, so I hopped onto the bike. My parents always allowed me to decide upon my life in a realistic and rational way. They prayed, trusted and taught me, but I was the one who decided.
During my time in university, it was community life with the pastoral care I received, the service I gave, Christian morale as my compass and prayer as my refuge that became pillars on which I founded my existence. I made a lot of mistakes, I am sure, but I experienced God’s love. I offered my studies to him – I love my career and I am good in it, but I never placed it before Him or my service – and I ended up getting a very good score in my final professional exam.
Some of my community sisters and friends were no longer following the same call. I respected their processes, but I knew this was my place. I was a missionary in the GAP program for 15 months and God gave me everything. Y truly felt very well pampered. I discerned my vocation, I served along young people, I traveled, I got to know places. ¿Why would I doutbt? There were many things in my life that I had not changed, things that I had not learnt, I was not faithful to my prayer, I did not witness nor evangelize, but I said: “I am still here, and I am honest”. I had filled my checklist.There was nothing missing.
After that time of mission, some of my plans did not happen. Some people in community hurt me and some things did not turn out well for me. I felt lost and community life became very difficult. I had some trouble accepting the call before but I was smart enough to say “It’s better on the bike that without it”. But the bicycle needed repairs and time and effort.
I did not think about leaving. I thought “if I survived everything else, why give up now? But I wanted to do everything with my own strength. I experienced silence, desert, a burning sun on my back and a great thirst. I caught a glimpse of myself and my call, I prayed and asked for forgiveness, I faced myself and followed through more because God was there by my side than because of my feelings. And it was God who reaffirmed my call in a prayer time when he said: “I want you here, not because it is easy, or because you like it, or because it fits your life’s demands, or because it serves as a refuge, or for the advantages you take out of it, but because your cross and your way to eternal life is here.” And the cross is real.
Today I still believe this is my call and I can express that in many ways. I give you this reflection to this point in which I can say that I love it, in the good times and in the bad times. I am one of those community kids who always experienced the good side and that made it easier to say yes, but it is in adversity that God tries our humility.
I love that nobody checked with me! I thank God for the blessing of giving us that special gift for this life that he thought for us, to live it, to love it and to defend it as Christ’s work. I am a community child and a child of God.
– Alina Maria Garcia Hernandez, Verbum Dei. Mexicali, Mexico.
Alina García is a member of the Verbum Dei community in Mexicali, México. Masiel Garcia is a member of Verbum Dei community in Mexicali, México.