IT'S MY CHOICE TO ENJOY THE WAY
By: Jackeline Haro Cortez
Every day different questions arise, from the simplest to the most complex. In each experience we have to make different decisions. In each decision, God, with his boundless love, makes himself present.
This is how I grew up: God filled me with his love, filling my whole life from different spaces. My name is Jackeline Haro Cortez, I live in Peru, in the Callao’s port. I come from a family made up of my parents, my sister and my nieces; fighting people, with deep-rooted customs from the north and the Peruvian Andes. They were my first missionaries: my family, with whom I nurtured my first values and deepest feelings.
For some reason, God made me a very restless person since I was a kid. I grew up among Infancia Misionera (Missionary Childhood), Jóvenes Sin Fronteras, and a parish community. All these groups helped me to grow in faith, while developing different responsibilities at the service of the Church.
As the years went by, my heart's desire to go beyond my borders grew. Stories that I heard as a child about missionaries, became real people with their own names and mission places, which increased the desire to live this experience.
Suddenly I officially met the QUEBEC FOREIGN MISSION SOCIETY. When my searches became more intense and it was difficult to silence this call of Jesus, the SME presented me through its life to a GOD’ ALWAYS BE.
I was definitely captivated by the interrelationship between the p.m.é fathers and the lay women of the SME: an equal relationship, where we were all willing to serve and be friends, regardless of age, sex, clerical state or nationality. Their way of sharing the Gospel, the Eucharist, prayer, the exercises of daily life; their way of sharing life and welcoming the new, overwhelmed me.
That is how I decided to begin the process of formation ad-gentes, with many doubts and concerns about the decisions I would have to make. All these were answered with a simple phrase: “ENJOY THE WAY”. Without a doubt, starting this formation was the best decision I could make in my life. Everyone was preparing the meeting for me with great enthusiasm, and I was looking forward to seeing them again! And in spite of being the only one in my year of formation, I never felt alone, I always had the accompaniment of those I considered my Community of life.
While “enjoying the way”, I was transformed after each of the pastoral activities presented to me by the missionaries. One day I could be as free as the children in the upper parts of Comas. Another day I was the woman striving in the dining room of San Juan de Lurigancho. Another day I knew more about diversity and gender in the Church. Another day my heart vibrated as I saw the ecology of Pucallpa and all the resources of our Peruvian Amazon.
This reality was already my mission land, my beloved Peru, land of saints. Like Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo and Saint Martin de Porres who were always at the service of the poorest, caring for the sick and travelling around Peru.
So, at the end of my 3-year process of ad-gent formation, I decided to put myself at the service of the SME, supporting whatever was necessary for the formation of the other young people, from washing the dishes, to cooking for them and making their beds. However, God and the SME had an invitation for me: to be part of the coordination group of the Missionary Community together with a very nice group that I would meet. After the invitation, I immediately said YES. A YES that led me to accompany the formation of new young people with searches similar to mine, making them the protagonists of their own journey, with the certainty that God always accompanies them and us. I am currently enjoying this beautiful gift and I am on the team of the Missionary Community of the SME - PERU, where, together with my friends, we reflect on and evangelize from our reality.
Today I re-read my story, discovering that God has been good to me! He has put folks that have left their mark on this path that I enjoy every day, from my freedom and with the strength of my youth and the sharing of the community that welcomes and accompanies me and my family.
The words of Pope Francis at the WYD in Krakow and in Panama -where I was able to participate by following my searches-, resonate within me in my desire to have contact with other young people, who like me have dreams of proclaiming the Gospel in today’s world full of different realities, but with a globalized view of the world.
As Pope Francis says in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Christus Vivit" Chapter 4 (116)
His is “a love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to silence, humiliate or domineer. It is the love of the Lord, a daily, discreet and respectful love; a love that is free and freeing, a love that heals and raises up. The love of the Lord has to do more with raising up than knocking down, with reconciling than forbidding, with offering new changes than condemning, with the future than the past”.
He is the love that today, in times of pandemic, I cannot silence. And from my emotional, family and social environment I wish to share that love with others, from the simplicity of my presence as a young person. Announcing the Gospel at this time makes me more creative: I rely a lot on technology and tele-mission. Through these virtual spaces, times of listening and service are shared to those who need it most, without showing any kind of borders.
Today I renew my commitment to the service of the Church and of the Society, with the aim of making my dreams come true, here and now, being at all times a missionary of life and love, reminding me and sharing with other young people that “I am Mission”.