Llorando in Antigua

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Crying in Antigua. Yep. That’s right. Tonight I cried. Lagrimas son el lenguaje del corazón!  “tears are the language of the heart!” At La Merced today, we had Adoration for the whole day. It provided me with a lot of time for reflection and prayer on and off during my free time and my Holy Hour before Mass. Truthfully, I was a bit homesick today. I had been having problems with the bank the school recommends and them not accepting my debit card to withdraw funds over the past few days. Finally, after talking with my teacher and a lady at the bank, I was directed to an ATM that looked and is supposed to be safe, that worked! Praise God!

I had to celebrate by engaging in a little “ganga” or barter with the merchants on the street. Gonzalo, one of the shopkeepers who remembered my name practiced Spanish with me for a little bit, with irregular verbs. “Con-yel-in” (no clue how to actually spell her name) told me that I would be her favorite customer if I came back and bought a table runner, wrap, or scarf from her tomorrow. She said she’d wait for me. Well…After the hard bargain and walking away I had to do with her friend, she might be waiting a bit longer for me to buy something else from them. Haha. At least I know the two locations they set up shop.

Class today was long. But it was very very good! My teacher, Matilde is super sweet, very devout, and very good. She has me doing a wide range of things in the classroom and after 10 hours, I’ve already felt more comfortable and have been able to practice speaking with others with more frequency. I’m excited to see what else I’ll learn in the coming weeks!

Tonight at dinner, the sister of my Madre de La Casa came over, so it was just her, Janet’s daughter and myself enjoying the delicious chicken and pasta, Janet had cooked for us before she left. BTDUBS…Janet is an AWESOME cook. Like people ask me in shops and church where I live and they all comment on her cooking abilities! Milna, Janet’s sister shared with me about the struggles of her fathers death last year and caring for her mother with dementia. For 40 minutes, I was able to sit, to listen, to respond (in spanish) and to pray with her. Never, Never, in my life did I think that I’d be able to do any sort ofimg_6011 pastoral care or ministry while here in Antigua. And yet, the Lord took my little bit of home-sickness and worry, made it better and then challenged me to grow in my spanish as I was present to and spoke with Milna. And so for 40 minutes, we went back and forth taking turns crying. Milna, for the loss of her father and pain of her mothers condition and me as my heart broke for the pain Milna was going through. We talked of how we come into this world as children and the Lord in his love takes us out like children, Christ said: “Let the children come unto me!” And it is very very hard to experience our loved ones when they age, but there is a beauty and a joy with hit as well.

Friends, it’s moments like these where I feel the call of priesthood well up inside and become so much stronger. To be able to be the hands and feet of Christ, to share in the wounds of others and to help them see his light is such a gift. It’s been my prayer thus far this summer that I learn Spanish. It’s been the Lord’s will thus far that my heart becomes

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more like his. Conversion happens all of the time. And for me, it happened tonight while speaking and listening in Spanish in one of the smallest towns in Guatemala, a beautiful town situated between volcanoes in a valley with people who have such an outstanding sense of faith and devotion.

Join me in praying for Milna, for her mother, for the repose of the soul of her father, and that my heart might become more like HIS Sacred Heart. May the Lord allow us to choose nothing. Nothing, but him and may we have the courage to follow that call. Even if it means conversion, if it means hurt, if it means crying, and sharing in the lives of others.

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