During these days, Mass and Holy Communion gave me a lot of inner strength. The word of God became, in a literal sense "a lamp unto my feet" (Ps. 119:105). I cannot not mention that since I started this journey with Jesus I always relied a lot on the word of God; it was always a joy to read scriptures, underline the verses that speak to me and do cross referencing. However, as the days became tougher and I had to be physically present with the people around me, I realized that my time of prayer was going through a different season. This was not very easy to accept, but there was no other way. However, as the days rolled by, I realized I was being driven by the grace of God.
I think it is appropriate to share with you the verses that saw me through these months...
- "I will trust and will not be afraid" (Is. 12:2);
- "One who trusts will not panic" (Is. 28:16);
- "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength" (Is. 30:15);
- "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Is. 40: 38-41);
- "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me" (Ps. 23:14);
- "Do not let your hearts be troubled" (Jn. 14:27);
- "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word" (2 Thess. 2:16);
- "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Cor. 12:9)
It was during this difficult time that I started seeing our Lady not just as the Mother of Jesus, but also as my Mother. My spiritual director used to encourage me so much to pray the Rosary; however, even though I used to try it never really worked out for me. However, during these difficult months, Mary played a very strong part in my daily life. She became a shoulder to cry on and praying the Rosary became a source of strength for me. The Rosary became like my conversation with Mary. Then, it was not just another prayer, but a one-to-one with our Mother. In fact, I still pray the Rosary almost every day.
Today I feel that I'm a different Carmen. I strongly believe that such circumstances make us stronger. I used to tell the girls in my cenacoli: we are like diamonds. A diamond has to be cut and polished before it can shine. The pain we go through makes us shine brighter. We are called to be stars, and stars that shine in darkness. The pain is still there and sometimes I still cry. However, I keep one thing in mind: here on earth we are only pilgrims; really and truly we are citizens of Heaven. Heaven is becoming more and more my goal; it is the place where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more disappointments, and the One who sits on the throne will say, "See I am making all things new" (Rev. 21).[/auth]