Your Kingdom Come!
|Melissa Laurel, on the left, learned that God is never outdone in generosity.|
When I finally decided on volunteering a year
as a co-worker with the International Volunteers program, I told
God, "Okay, but you know all the commitments I have,
please help me to get through this." The first
description I heard of the International Volunteers program was "taking
a year to actively serve the Catholic Church and the
Pope". It filled me with a desire to do
something for Him. Then I received the tools to
do it: "Melissa, why don´t you come over and
I´ll give you a list of girls to call. You
can organize an evangelization mission at Santa Clara church!"
I was on my way to a profound encounter with
the Regnum Christi Movement through these words from a Regnum
Christi consecrated woman.
I called the girls from the University of
Dallas and we began our "mission" in teams of two
or three armed with rosaries and bulletins from the parish
priest. Inviting others to the Catholic Church began to
fill me with a burning joy. A lot of
the people were Catholics who had just stopped attending mass,
so I answered their questions about the Eucharist and basic
Catechism. They were so grateful I had come; they
wanted to read the Bible I had with me.
I was fascinated at this ministry I was helping with,
a group called "Youth for the Third Millennium." They
were answering the call of Pope John Paul II at
World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, 1993, when he said,
"Go out in the streets and into public places like
the first apostles who preached Christ." I thought to
myself, "If I believe that God and heaven are the
most important things in existence, shouldn´t I be telling people
The same consecrated member invited me to think
about being a co-worker, so I did, and I decided
against it. I was at work just days before
the training program began in June, when she called me.
"Melissa," she said, "Why aren´t you here?"
"What?" I responded.
"I´m not coming."
"Really? Have you actually thought about
I took the day off work and I went to
pray at a chapel where they had the visiting image
of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Kneeling there, I was surprised,
I felt like God really wanted me to be a
co-worker. I told Jesus that I would rely on
Him. I figured that if this was really God´s
will, He would make it work out.
I have never been
a person to ask for signs. I usually pray for
God not to give me any signs. I´ve always thought
they are too easy to fake. The very same
day I received a pocket calendar in the mail with
an image of a hand reaching towards another hand and
the sun in between. It read, "Do not be afraid
any longer...for your Father is pleased to give you the
kingdom." Regnum Christi means "the Kingdom of Christ" in
Latin, and its motto is "Your Kingdom Come!" For
me, it was definitely a sign.
The next day I went
in to talk to my boss. I was so
worried that I would look like a flake after I
had just committed to stay until next Christmas, but the
grace, as always, was there. My boss shocked me
with his care, "Melissa, I have always tried to treat
you like a daughter. I want what is best for
you materially as well as spiritually. Go with my blessing."
(I had expected something more like, "What? Are you
crazy? You just told me you would be here until
December!") God was working.
Eventually all of my outside commitments
were resolved. My mom helped me pack even though
it hurt her that I was leaving, and I flew
to the training program.
During the summer program I learned to
empty myself to receive Jesus Christ into my heart in
order to be strong enough to spend all year giving
Him to others.
At the summer training program I met a
girl who had been a co-worker the year before me.
She had been a professional dancer touring the world
when she had come to hear about the co-worker program
from a juggler in Japan, and gave up everything to
volunteer a year with Regnum Christi. She laughingly described
her experience teaching "Swing Dancing" to girls in a private
Catholic school, and then later returning upon invitation to give
the girls a retreat. I loved the combination of the
modern with God: professional ways of transmitting the gospel.
the program, we were put on teams. I learned to
love teamwork because I saw that different people had different
gifts to offer. Some of my teammates were excellent at
talking to kids in language they understood. Some were good
at motivating and being cheerleaders. Others were great at inventing
fun games that brought home the lesson.
I learned never
to set limits on God. I heard of the
success of another volunteer, and it convinced me: God
is almighty. She strode into a ritzy nightclub. (The
same one Saks Fifth Avenue used for their fashion show,
charging $200 a ticket for people to attend). She
stated her case to the owner: I want to
hold a fashion show for my club of elementary school
girls, but without charging more than $25 a ticket.
The owner had a daughter and he loved the idea
of teaching women how to dress stylishly, but not risqué.
Again, using the best means possible to give Christ
I know that all my life, God has sent
me care packages so that I would know he cares.
He extends his hand and fills the fondest wishes
of my heart, in a way that no human could
ever fill them. He knows details and has His timing.
I´m sure all the co-workers could testify to several
instances of this. What fatherly love! I went to
Rome in December 2000 for an audience with Pope John
Paul II and a huge crowd of Regnum Christi members.
Later, at a gathering in a tent on the
campus of the Regina Apostolorum University, a consecrated member told
her vocation story. When God moved her dad, who
was in the army, and the whole family to Israel,
she could no longer resist the call she felt in
her heart. She consecrated her life to God. In
front of the packed tent she sang a song called
Vivo Por El, meaning, "I live for Him." The song
was so beautiful; I wanted to hear it again and
again. What made it different was that the singer told
us of her love and her love was God. It
was so noble. I´ve heard love songs before. I´ve heard
beautiful voices before. But how many of them were songs
for the truest love of all? The first love? The
most enduring love? That´s why this song was in a
class of its own. That´s why this love is
in a class of its own.
From my very first evangelization
mission until today, the whole of my almost three years
as a co-worker have been a great gift from God.
He gives me more than I can give him.
A Regnum Christi consecrated member once told me, "If it
was a generosity contest, we would lose." I am
so glad to have been able to give Him my
time, my effort and my love; this small part of
my life in return for how much He has given
Sincerely yours in Christ,