In history, we have seen and surely, we have had the inspiration of so many people beginning with the apostles, disciples and those persecuted for believing in the Gospel of Jesus. The goal is the life that Jesus taught and showed us to live, the conviction to follow and trust the life that he gives us, and the strength that sustains us both physically and spiritually. Everything is presented to us to put us on the road, to continuously challenge. The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God is always: “Fear not, for I am with you.” This challenge, as it was formerly known: to listen to his voice, follow Jesus wherever he goes and learn to love others without measure. Our human experiences make us think about and recognize these gestures and attempts from the core of a Christian family, a community, a people or also carried out singularly.
Our own history has taken us to so many languages, cultures and different societies that began with a community of five dedicated sisters. Unaware of everything, they went on a distant mission, they began thrown into uncertainty with total trust in the life of God in them and with others. God provides them with an animator and inspirer, our founding Father Ramon Zubieta for whom and for the cause of his audience in Huesca, encouraged Blessed Ascension Nicol to say Yes, to this form of commitment to life “not so common in her time”.
Many of our sisters already know what it meant to leave Spain to penetrate and live in the mountains of Amazonia. Everything is left behind, beginning with the closeness and quick contact with friends and family, with everyday life and emblematic moments of a cloistered community in Huesca and Navarra, the beloved town and the daily Mass. However, Mother Ascension worried about her life in God and the newly known people. Day and night she look for the light, the way, life in the new mission, to glorify the Lord in the midst of all, the brothers and the natives. He gave his life without realizing what he spent until the end. Teaching women in particular, to value life and dignity in being a woman, mother and neighbors in the jungle. Take care of the family, respect the treasure of time given to communicate life among the savages, make the name of Jesus and his love heard by strangers and encourage them to love Jesus. She lived with great faith in the providence and company of God in her missionary life, strengthening and encouraging the sisters and the communities. She teaches them not only to sacrifice their own life, but to surrender it completely into the hand of God. To Love life as the gift given by the Lord of life.
What lies ahead for us, then, as her daughters and followers of this Jesus who loved our founders unconditionally until she gave her life in the jungle?
We of this time recognize that we have to live and relive this story in our own context. Value our history; learn from it if we wish to continue on the path. We cannot walk without anchor to our pioneers, the first community that certainly imitated the way that the first community of Jesus lived in Jerusalem and in the mission lands where they gave their lives for the same faith in the Good Jesus. Go back to the root of our history, not necessarily the way of doing but the way of living faith and trust in God. He provides our life, strengthens us and takes care of us to take with full conviction any challenge throughout our option for Jesus. He shows us the compass and calls us the time to be and do. He guides and light to give us understanding and to be able to give answers to billions of questions, doubts, worries, illusions, and daily complaints.
How can we follow the path of life? It is a question that asks us to contemplate reality, to give the appropriate answer to defend life for those of us who work and live. There are a thousand million things we do, but the right and the good are the fruits of prayer and listening, the fruit of dialogue, collaboration and willingness. Saint Matthew wrote in chapter 17, 18-20 how Jesus acted at that time with his disciples: “And Jesus rebuked the demon, which came out of the boy, and he was healed from that hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus, apart They said, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” Jesus said to them, “Because of your little faith; for truly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and pass away, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Mother Ascension is a generous woman in understanding with those around her, they are incomprehensible and worthy points to carry throughout life, to learn and practice in our realities. We cannot forget her advice and her example “it is not enough to do good, but to do it well.”
I think of the diversity of challenges that we live in Asia and also in other parts of the world where we are present as a Congregation. The dynamics of life are different, but the spirit and the congregational charism unites us and puts us in the same missionary identity and passion for life. May our presence be a reflection of hope where women in particular suffer in silence where their presence is not valued and what they can contribute as a woman today to all cultures, communities and the world. To carry forward the conviction of promoting not only rights but rather, the dignity of being respected and valued as daughters of a new generation, with their challenges and abilities to foster life in their environment and trust in the good that is dazzling in their sunrises among yours.
A great challenge remains for all of us, in fact, we will have to recover the communal strength, the courage to set out, change our style of thinking and doing, seek answers in our times together, reflecting, praying, loving… We believe that “God will provide” as Abraham said, our father in faith….
Our mission is a common task, donated and trusted for more than a century. Jesus invites us to go out, take steps and make paths… “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Mt 28:19). There is something that awaits us in this generation: being contemplative and active, we will reach that horizon where the compass that Ramon and Ascension started in those times.
Nini Rebollos, Zamboanga