by Tim Hynes
Tim is a former Heart’s Home missionary in Peru and a member of the Fraternity of Maximilian Koble. He is currently studying as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Boston and, by the grace of God, hopes to be ordained a priest in the spring of 2019.
“This past spring break, I was given the opportunity to visit El Salvador as part of a mission trip that was being planned by a group of seminarians from St. John’s in Boston. Of course, I jumped at the chance because it meant that I would also be able to spend some time visiting the Heart’s Home in San Salvador as well as the sisters in San Pedro Perulapan just outside the city. Because of some unforeseen circumstances, the two days I had planned on spending with the missionaries and the sisters down there turned into almost five full days. Needless to say, I was more than grateful for this blessing.
Throughout my trip, but especially during my time visiting with Heart’s Home, I was able to see very concretely the graces that God places in each of our lives as I heard the stories of those I met. Of those that particularly struck me was a visit with one of the missionaries and some neighborhood friends. There, I met Armand and his wife Vilma, who told us about his conversion experience at the age of 45. He explained to us that shortly before his conversion, he had had a conversation with his mother in which he told her that he didn’t know how to pray. She encouraged him to try anyways. She also encouraged him to use his God-given gift of public speaking to the benefit of the Church. He said he didn’t know anything about theology. She replied God would provide. One day, while he was passing the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he decided to make the attempt, asking our Blessed Mother to help him. He asked for safety during his day’s work as a truck driver; for his children and his family; and finally, for the grace to be able to pray. Suddenly, he realized that he had already started praying! That weekend, at the end of a Sunday Mass, he was invited to a retreat during which he experienced an authentic encounter with Our Lord. It was there that the Lord planted within him a greater desire to serve him through his words. However, Armand still felt that he lacked the necessary knowledge to preach of the Lord’s goodness. Yet once again the Lord provided as he was encouraged by a friend to apply for a scholarship at a local theological institute. Almost immediately, he was accepted into a two year program for free! From there, his relationship with Christ grew each day. Eventually he was led to become a eucharistic minister at his parish, sharing the Word Incarnate with the sick and homebound.
Shortly after Armand finished his story, we thanked him and headed back to the Heart’s Home for evening prayer. As we walked, I mused over the strength of a mother’s prayers and thought of Our Lady, who is always standing at our side silently waiting for us to ask her for the graces to bring us closer to her Son. Like Armand’s mother, she desires so much that we grow to our full stature in Christ, putting our whole person at His service. I thought of St. John at the Cross and how Christ gave her to us as mother and we to her as sons and daughters. May we never forget that she is always there, and always our mother!”