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What Does it Really Mean to Love?
| MEMBERS
God saw through me, He made it impossible for me to ignore Him. He placed Himself directly in my path, and gave me the grace I needed to choose Him.

Luann Jones
Luann Jones (right) with Ana Patty Fajer.

Growing up I was always the little girl who loved to ask a billion questions. I always wanted to know why. I guess this trait has followed me even up till now. Before I became a coworker, I had been searching, seeking to find all the answers. It seemed that society screamed: “Go to college, you will get a career and be happy.” Then after that if you still aren’t happy, “meet the man of your dreams and then you will be happy.” Then what ... do we really have to wait that long to be happy? Do we have to live for years and years in misery until we find the perfect job or the perfect person to marry? Even then, would a career really bring me fulfillment? Would I meet the man of my dreams and truly live happily ever after? All my attempts at finding happiness in the world came to dead ends. I didn’t want to wait any longer to find that peace within my soul.

It’s funny how God allows for certain things in your life to happen, He presents you with different challenges in your life, different ways for you to encounter Him. How often it seems we miss these opportunities or fail to accept what is such a priceless gift, the gift of Christ, Himself. I guess God saw through me, He made it impossible for me to ignore Him. He placed Himself directly in my path, and gave me the grace I needed to choose Him.

I decided to become a coworker at the end of my first pilgrimage to Rome, where I went to see my brother Philip, who was a Legionary of Christ, and to take part in the 60th anniversary of the Movement. Although my intentions for the trip were not based on encountering God, He definitely used my little “yes” to make it easier for me to make a much bigger “yes” in becoming a coworker. I told God that He had to be obvious with me, and as many of you know, that is a very dangerous thing to do, knowing the God that we have. He was obvious. He sat a coworker next to me on the plane on my way home back to the States, and confirmed for me the seed that He had been planting in my heart ever since I had arrived in Rome. Even though I had made my decision many questions floated through my mind, like ... “Why did He choose me? Why did He make it so obvious? What made me different from all the other thousands of people that had attended that same pilgrimage?” God will go to any extreme to win the love of just one soul. I felt Christ’s love in a very personal way during that trip. I saw it in the respect that my brother had for me, how he went to many extremes to show me God’s love, and God’s mercy. It was his sacrifice that helped me to make that final “yes”. When I called my brother to tell him the news that I was going to become a coworker, he was very excited.

Love is self-donation! Christ loved, even to the extreme of dying on the cross for our sins. I was made to love. This is what the coworker experience is all about: learning how to love as Christ loved. Learning how “to give until it hurts, and then to keep on giving,” as Mother Teresa put it. I learned this in many ways. I learned this through my coworker team, through my directors, through my own failures. Sometimes failing to live up to one’s own expectations is one of the hardest battles of all, but always remembering “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I was a coworker for a little over a year and a half. It was the best experience of my life, and I will treasure it always. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as 1-2-3, but God knew exactly what I needed in each moment, so that I could become a better instrument in His plan. He loved me enough to challenge me. He loved me enough to demand the best from me, at each moment. Whether it meant waking up at four in the morning to take a girl to the airport or comforting a girl that just needed someone to listen to her. I was His instrument, and God always gives more than we do. He is faithful. The time I spent as a coworker I thought was my gift to Him, but really and many have said this... “It was His gift to me!” He did it, because He loved me.

Throughout my life, Christ was sending me little hints and little messages. In the Gospel, so often you find that living for Christ does not grant you the perfect social life. It doesn’t guarantee that you will meet the perfect person and live happily ever after, or even that you will someday be famous or prestigious. Christ says, “Pick up your cross and follow me”. He does not promise a life without pain or regret. He promises something much deeper, He promises to lead you to the truth. He is the answer to all my questions. He is the one who will lift me up when I am lonely. He is the one who will be there when I fall, and He will gently lift me up and smile and encourage me to go on—for He is faithful. So you may think that everything is dandy now, that the coworker year ended all my problems. No, it didn’t! I still have to pick up my cross daily, but I can do so, because Christ did it for me first. He loved me first, and therefore I must do all I can to love Him in return.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2003-03-24


 

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