Like Clay in the Hand of the Potter

Like Clay in the Hand of the Potter

I was born and raised in a culture, a country and in a family that not only honor, but rewards those who are assertive, independent, and self-sufficient. My family is large and warm, but also loquacious and direct. To make your voice heard you must compete, in some way, with those who are already talking so as to steal the attention, if only for a moment. I was an expert at being the center of attention and of convincing others to follow suit. I was an active volcano, full of energy and ideas, always ready to erupt and diffuse lava wherever it seemed fit. Then, I met the Apostles. I believed to possess all that I needed to achieve both happiness and sanctity: conviction, courage and constancy, but I didn’t truly know how to live alongside others, how to see and...

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

When I was a kid, my mom used to set up an empty cradle for Baby Jesus on our dining room table at the beginning of Advent every year, and each time someone in the house did a good deed, they added a piece of straw to the cradle. The idea was to build a soft bed for the Baby Jesus with our offerings. My mom started this tradition the first year I was old enough to understand and participate, and I still remember her explaining the importance of it to me: “If we’re going to do this, we have to do enough good deeds to give Baby Jesus a comfy bed for when He’s born on Christmas. If we don’t do enough good deeds, His bed will be hard and uncomfortable. Are you ready to do it?” As an adult, I continue to use the season of Advent to...

Holy Initiative

Holy Initiative

From the time I started discerning with the Apostles of the Interior Life, and even to this day, two words have always intimidated me a little bit about our mission: “holy initiative”. For me, they described that which I did not naturally have. I never considered myself one to take the first step, always too shy and concerned with my own reputation or image to risk making a mistake. Everything had to always be planned out word for word when approaching a stranger, and I needed to feel decently confident about a positive outcome of the encounter in order to act. I still remember that beautiful sunny Friday morning on the Texas A&M campus about three years ago. I was in my first year of formation with the community. Three times a week I would venture out on...

True Joy

True Joy

Raise your hand if you want to be happy. Fully, completely happy. I see many raised hands, maybe because after all, being happy is everyone’s desire. Is it appropriate to say that everyone who desires this joy is actually experiencing it? Are we truly happy and are we surrounded by people who are equally happy? Can we also say that everything we do is always aimed at this happiness? I recall my adolescent years, when the pursuit of joy was truly my motivation, the reason I chose to do or not to do something. If I was not convinced that something would make me truly happy, then I wouldn’t do it, because I perceived it as a waste of time. Walking aimlessly downtown with my classmates, checking out shops or guys? No, thanks! Going out at night just to hang out?...

Mary, Queen of Apostles

Mary, Queen of Apostles

“As a woman, as a baptized person, as a consecrated person, and as an apostle, the Apostle of the Interior Life in imitation of Mary, desires to exercise her role as mother, making herself available to the work of the Holy Spirit, for making possible, so to say, the Incarnation of the Divine Word in the souls that she assists spiritually.” – AVI Rule of Life As the talk we were listening to ended, a student in the row in front of me turned around and asked, “Can we talk?” She was a girl I met with regularly for spiritual direction, and I could tell right away from the pain in her eyes that something was wrong. We left the crowded hall and as soon as we were away from the noise she looked at me and started crying. The talk on dating we had just listened to had...

Friendship

Friendship

I had just joined the community and I was filled with joy and enthusiasm, learning my way through the daily schedule of prayer, community time, chores, studies, and apostolate. The call from Jesus had touched and transformed my heart, making it burn with the desire to give myself to him, and to go out and bring him to many others. I wasn’t really looking for anything more, since I felt I had everything, but our God is a God of abundance. One Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of some free time, I and another young woman in formation decided to go out for a walk and to play at one of the parks in Rome. We didn’t really know each other that well, but we found ourselves spending those hours talking, sharing, and enjoying each other’s company as if we had been...