Saturday, September 3, 2011

Transformed by Love - Our Testimonies

 Kristi Bergman

Scripture tells us, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 24:25).” In order to live life abundantly, Jesus tells us that we must die to ourselves, and like a seed, St. Paul tells us that we must be planted in Jesus Christ (Col 2:7)  In a beautiful way this pilgrimage was a sweet fulfillment of where I am to be planted and a sweet reassurance of the cultivation of my “seed offering”. With the Pope’s words of consecration I was planted in the Sacred Heart of Jesus by the hands of our Lady.  She tenderly prepared this seed and washed me clean in Lourdes.  On the feast of the Assumption, I was granted the graces to confidently renew my consecration at her feet in the grotto our Lourdes.  One year ago to that date I gave Our Lady My heart in Guadeloupe.  I believe in special way she brought me to Lourdes again to show me how she has been preparing the seed of my heart the whole year long to be planted in her Son’s heart. 

When I was in 4th grade I fell in love with a particular picture of Jesus that I cut out from a book and tapped it above my bed.  The black-and-white photo-like picture was Jesus with outstretched arms and His visible Sacred Heart burning in his chest.  Even to this day, this picture remains close at hand, and while I have seen many Sacred Heart images, I have never seen this particular picture.  That is, until we entered the Visitation Convent in Madrid, and my heart leapt as I saw the original colored version hanging in the chapel.  It was as though my Lord had been preparing me most my life for the events that were to come.  Our Lord also prepared our hearts for the consecration to His Heart through our providential circumstance in which we were able to celebrate the votive Mass of the Sacred Heart back at the Visitation chapel.  Of course the days following the Consecration the Lord offered opportunities for thanksgiving at the Sacred Heart Church in Barcelona and Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris.

Our trip began with our Lady’s preparation and ended with her maternal reassurance that we could trust her in cultivating the seed she planted in Her Son’s Heart.  Kneeling on the stairs before our Lady in the Basilica of the Miraculous Medal, I opened my heart to receive every grace streaming forth from her hands and enrolled myself in the school of Mary.  Finally, I wept with joy before Our Lady of the Smile in Liseux. The healing prayer of Our Lady of the Smile had begun our pilgrimage and, here she had brought us back to reassure us of her protection.  Never before had I felt her maternal love as tenderly as at that moment.  She sweetly wiped away all tears, replaced fear with joy, and in a graced-filled moment revealed her heavenly maternity as more authentic than my human perception of the relationship with my own biological mother. I have such confidence in my dear Mother that she will cultivate my dying seed into the fruitful flower God has intended me be. 
Immaculate Heart of Mary, I hope in you!
Oh Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you!

Claire Kunkel

What hit me the most was the people that I went to WYD with. God works through every single one of them in a different way. Whether it was in praise and worship or just how they reacted to different things on the trip and especially how they brought out the best in me. They helped open my heart and feel so welcome and loved. My faith has grown a lot and I know what I need to work on in my spiritual life. By the end of the trip I was on speaking terms with God again and began a relationship with Momma Mary. The experience was amazing and I can't say thank you enough to God for calling me to go on the trip, and to everyone that went on the pilgrimage. I love you all so much. You have become part of my family.

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