How I Met the Home: Catalina Navarrete Falcones, 22 years old
God has different ways, some ordinary, others extraordinary, to make you return to Him. He did not seek me in a very extraordinary way, but whatever comes from Him is in and of itself amazing. It is indescribable and incredible to believe that at times, such simple things can make your life change, and that makes you realize that your life does have meaning. Before I was born, I was already invited to be a part of this great family. It was God's plan for me. What Divine Providence does is not magic; His Providence is a transcendental reality that always functions for the good of each person.
It was a day like any other. I was leaving the university to go home. I was waiting for the bus when, all of a sudden, Gema Menendez, Candidate of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, approached me and began to talk a great deal about a group. She spoke as if there were no other moment than the present. It was October 2013. This girl had already seen me before, and moved by Our Blessed Mother and Divine Providence, she had felt called to approach me and invite me to the Home of the Mother's Residence for Students to meet the girls who lived there, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, and a group of young people who live a Christian life, being the gift which Our Lord wishes to make to His Mother. That's how it all began, and in those moments I couldn't foresee what was awaiting me: Jesus Christ's Resurrection to give me life...
From that moment, through His instrument at that bus stop, Our Lord began to change what I then called "life." Gradually, through no merit of my own, I went deeper into the path of conversion, in that ardent flame of the Virgin Mary's Heart, which doesn't burn, but warms the soul and makes it conscious of Our Lord's love.
I attended the Holy Week encounter in 2014 at Playa Prieta, and there perceived my vocation to the Home of the Mother. While we were praying the Rosary, my gaze was fixed on the ground, judging and being skeptical of what a lot of people said about what they "experienced." All of a sudden, I realized that the Virgin Mary said to me, "Don't you see that I'm here?" I raised my eyes, and found myself looking into her gaze... I was left a little (or very) dumbfounded before that interior light which has marked me until this day. Although I doubted it, of course!
Later, I attended my first summer encounter. In spite of the fact I didn’t participate in a normal way, it was a time of grace. On my behalf, there were doubts and outbursts, because I began to see that the life I was leading wasn't pleasing in God's eyes, and that that "life" of mine was lifeless. I had doubts, because I didn't know what to do. Should I leave "everything," which is really nothing, and everyone, especially my bad friendships, the only friendships I had? Should I stop exposing myself to bad environments, bad reading material? The outbursts were the cause of my doubts, which brought me from a subtle ascent to a brutal fall.
In this way, to keep it short, I made it to the Home. Who brought me here? The Virgin Mary did. She brought me to her Son, and now I remain in Him or He remains in me, and keeps me in His Side, which I pierced.
Now I form part of this great gift. I have been a member of the Home of the Mother since August 2014. I made my official commitment as an “expert” (even though I was already living the “veteran” commitment) at Cajas, a shrine in Ecuador, before Our Lady, the Guardian of Faith. I have been living in the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Residence for Students in Portoviejo for a year. God lives in my soul, and I fight, just like all of you, to reach the holiness I desire, and to reach heaven.
Our Lord has given me so much!! I don't know how to pay Him back for everything He gives me. He gives Himself entirely and without limits. So many graces and gifts, the Resurrection, life, His Life!!
As Fr. Rafael says: "Thank you, Lord, for everything You give me and for everything You take away, because everything You give me comes from your love, and when you take something from me, it is to give me something better."