Our Common Language

Fe de Torres

When I decided to leave my homeland and come to the monastery, with all my good intentions, I was thinking that everything would go smoothly. But I was wrong. Everything did not happen as I expected. Coming from a country, which in many aspects is very different from the United States, I began to experience and understand the word “culture shock”. It is difficult because I came here alone. I survived the trip (which is about half-way across the world), yes alone, but I am about to live with a community that I have known before only through email correspondence. Although I can read and write in English, I am having difficulty speaking and holding a conversation in English. There are things that the sisters ask me that I cannot explain, and that is frustrating for me.

All Things Are Possible With God

Silence and prayer have been so real for me during this period of adjustment. Silence which means for me to let God be God, and prayer that enables me to listen to whatever the Spirit is trying to communicate. This sign I put at the side of the computer that I am using served as my guide. It reads: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words”. (Rom 8:26) And that is true. I felt better when I prayed and asked for faith to go on. (My name means “faith”.) All things are possible with God.

I came to the realization that what makes everything fall into place is not my good intentions, not my motivations, but the love that is our common language. It is a joy for me to discover that no matter what cultural background one has, we all speak the same language of love, where words are not spoken but done, are not heard but felt, and this makes it wonderful and kind of mysterious. This language is far beyond spoken words. This language of love, of which we speak, has a common denominator. It is directed towards the good of others, towards the welfare of others. Love is not at all selfish. We know that we do not love the other person just for the sake of being good or nice.

The Dwelling Place Of God’s Love

Love is natural in us. I have always believed that the heart is the dwelling place of God’s Love. From the time of our conception our hearts belonged to God. However as we experience life with all its challenges, we sometimes wonder if God really loves us and sometimes to the extreme, if God really exists. Pope Benedict XVI states in his new encyclical: “Being Christian is not a result of an ethical choice of a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” A smile, a thoughtful gesture, a word of encouragement, a compliment, makes a whole lot of difference.

I know that I will be at home here in the monastery because, as I have discovered, we are all Christians here, and we have a common language which is love.

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