After two months of witnessing the suffering of victims of the floods at Tierra Amarilla, in Chile, Sister Rita Cortez tells us about her experience:
“Before landing, I am sending you some of my impressions from Chile. It will not be easy, because I feel the strength and the magnitude of the mountain range, the havoc of destruction and, paradoxically, the beauty of a desert and the simplicity of a people, who teaches you to love as Jesus loved. A huge geographical contrast in feelings!!!
After two months of intensive work, this will continue for those staying behind, because there is undoubtedly, a lot to be done. The amount of damage caused by the deluge is immense and aid both internally and internationally is much slower in arriving than expected or desired.
During these two months I had the great privilege of meeting many devastated families. I went into their homes (or the remains of their homes) and witnessed how nothing, can really separate us from the Love of God. Who or which force, besides God through His Love, can give hope to those who have lost the little they still had? The answer came afterwards; on a second thought as if it were the outcome of contemplation …They have so much…And I have so little, and yet having so much …they live the Gospel and incarnate the Gospel, and I touched it… I was able to enter into His house.”
I recall again the parable of the Banquet:
“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. Sir, said the servant, your orders have been carried out and there is still room.Then the master said to his servant: go to the open roads and the hedgerows and force people to come in to make sure my house is full“. (LK. 14:21-24)
“Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full“. This is what the Lord Jesus said, every day, to our community at Tierra Amarilla.
And I listen again “the poor and the earth cannot wait any longer!” We have to find them where they are so that they will return home, will keep returning not as strangers, but as friends, brothers and sisters, and we will give them a privileged place in our lives, communities and missions. So that His house will be full.
I made many friends, new friends, true friends, (who changed my life and heart) who change our lives and hearts. Those who exact and ask us, demand from us, time and dedication and, at the same time, teach us to love, truly love and love in Truth with the spirit of the Gospel.
Today, with gratitude for these two months in Tierra Amarilla, I ask for a special grace, the same one that Pope Francis a couple of weeks ago challenged us to ask: “let us be filled with the Spirit of Pentecost, the Wind that opens doors and guides us on our way, that creates an apostolic risk and creates the news of the Gospel. Because the poor of the earth cannot wait any longer“.
Rita Cortez, aci
Sister Rita is now returning to Iloca, Chile, for two years, one of the areas affected by the 2010 tsunami.