In elementary school, I first read Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” in a collection of world literature. At the beginning of this year, I read the story again in a Dublin bookshop while waiting for a friend. It tells the story of the prince sharing everything with others and dying humbly, and his hands and feet turn to swallows. The tale brought tears to my eyes while I was reading it.
High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt. The sleeping swallow awoke because of the happy prince’s teardrops and started to fulfill the prince’s requests. The swallow gave the jewels from the prince’s body to cold hungry young writers and kids living in poverty. As the weather became colder and it was time to fly south, the swallow still remained to fulfill the prince’s request. The swallow gave a sapphire to a poor match-seller girl with freezing feet. The swallow ignored the prince’s request to fly away to warmer weather, choosing instead to stay with the prince, but then the swallow died from the cold.
While preparing for my final vows, I had a 30day retreat when I had time to reflect on my calling. But most importantly, I was able to meet the Lord who created me and “saw all what He had made and said that indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1.31). The Lord who saw me and glorified me, and provided so much to me; also, I try to see the world with His eyes.
The greatest blessing for me was to inherit faith from my parents and I was thankful for that. Before my reception into the novitiate, when I felt some fears about my future life, I was able to meet the Lord’s promise through Abraham’s calling…”and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12.2). These words ripened within me and inspired me in times of strength and happiness, and the words were like a compass needle in times of weakness and they comforted me. These biblical words overlapped with the Happy Prince to become like a motto or my life aim.
Christ sees us and died for us on the cross, and in the end, the happy prince also, after becoming humble, was thrown into the furnace by the hands of people who praised him. The Lord told the angels to bring the two most precious things from the earth. The angels brought the happy prince’s heart which had not melted away in the furnace, and the swallow’s body.
The swallow, which could not refuse the happy prince’s request, ultimately froze and died. Within this image, we can see our calling. The swallow’s calling reflects and overlaps with mine and the calling of each of us and that of all missionaries. This tale shows us that we walk the passage of blessings and are merely instruments of the Lord. After doing Christ’s work as His hands and feet, we receive comfort and warmth from the Lord. “If you follow me, I will make a way of blessings unto you.” “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12.3)
Throughout my life, as I grew up, in Peru, in Ayacucho, and the moments in my life when I was the most sad or in pain, or shunned by others, He did all of these things for me: “I will go before you, and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze, and cut through the bars of iron. (Isaiah 45.2)
Last week at the final profession mass, through me, and through the Lord’s work and the people who support me, the Lord who gives me comfort and called me, through Your son Jesus, in my life, the various events in my life, I came to know that the Lord is always with me. The knowledge that Christ accepts me and loves me is deeply rooted within me. And at the bible I couldn’t find my name however I could find my place there always with my Lord Besides that, what else could I need for my future? The knowledge that He loves me is ultimately the happiest knowledge for me so I know that I will not fail.
Whatever happens in life, I have my own voice. It is not speed that is important in life, but rather it is direction that is important. I give praise and glory to the Lord who called me through all the events in my life. Also I gave many thanks to the Columban Sisters who showed me a missionary religious’ hope through their lives.
Especially, I send my love and deep gratitude to the friends who shared with me their inner journey and meeting with the Lord, and when I had difficulty, they did not call to me to come out of this dark place, but rather entered into this place and spent time with me and showed faith in me. Life goes on. In my life, I will devote myself to the Lord and ultimately I will become a blessing.