"The accompaniment gives a deeper recognition of who Jesus is and who I am, it allows me to make a journey to my own heart with courage”

María Elena Pacheco Solano is a member of the vocational team of the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Hospitales, in Mexico City. It has also focused its service on accompaniment. In this Virtual Vocational Week he tells us about his experience.
Testimonies | 2022 May 06

Recently I was asked what an accompaniment process is like, to which I answered with another question: Have you already been in accompaniment? I did it with the purpose of having clearer information to be able to respond, since I did not know who was asking me.

I am convinced that to speak meaningfully about accompaniment and the process that it consists of, it is essential to experience that first encounter that comes from God to the person freely and out of love. Well, what doubt can there be that he is the best companion?

I start from this word, companion. My own process began like this, meeting the living God among those who shared him in small parish communities of faith. It was a simple and wonderful experience.

It all happened in a community of flesh and blood people, which made me very curious, because all I saw were different ways of approaching God, and I couldn't understand why. In the end, it is about one God, one faith and one heart, as Saint Augustine would say. Why that difference in unity?

Then, as a pilgrim, I began to search for what made me one and what that unity consisted of. Since I was a little girl, Jesus had been shown to me as a very close friend; That made it easier for me to open up to dialogue and to meet him.

Still, it wasn't enough. That experience at some point fell short. That friendship had to be transformed into a deeper recognition of who Jesus is and who I was.

That transformation took me further, I understood that it was not just about following him and confirming that it was he who loved me first. I realized how he took my free “yes” and led me along paths of learning by sharing life and faith in communities of adults, youth and children, with consecrated persons and with committed lay people.

In the midst of all these experiences, I found a great diversity of charisms, talents, vocations, ways of living and sharing, but, above all, of human concerns. That was the biggest clue, because restlessness moves me a lot, the one that makes you ask yourself: Lord, what do you want from me? What do you want with me? Where do you want to take me?

I consider that walking for walking the only thing that causes is tiredness; And that I really like to walk. At a point where I felt collapsed, I left myself in his hands and told him: "I'll keep walking, I don't refuse, but tell me where." And I understood that I would not be able to answer those questions alone, that I needed help to discern a clearer purpose.

It did not take long for an oasis to appear in the middle of the desert, a space for maturation in my personal relationship with him, where spiritual accompaniment was the main source from which the water that satiated my heart sprang.

I understood that it was not just a matter of finding answers, but of looking at the path traveled and contemplating that Jesus was by my side at all times; He walked by my side with every step I took. I discovered that his thing is to be there to give solidity, in a respectful way and become one with me, with us.

I had never felt so well known by him; He had called me by my name and he kept doing it. This was a moment of great unity in my heart: only in him could I become one with everything and everyone who believes in him.

This revelation left me in deep reverence before the Lord. And life goes on. He who is the path constantly moves and stirs my interior again, so that I do not forget to walk on the sacred land of life with a canteen and a map in hand, that is, his Gospel.

It comes from my heart to share his presence and company while I am on my way, giving him my steps so that he can take me wherever he wants. Living as a pilgrim motivates me to make a reading of reality from my own life story caressed by Jesus.

With the formation and training that I have received for accompaniment, I confirmed the certainty that it is not enough, to put it one way, to feel close to the Lord, or above. If restlessness does not move us to make the journey to our own heart with courage, it is difficult for us to enter into an intimate relationship with the One who inhabits us. And how wonderful the path becomes when you discover that you do it side by side with Who is the way! This is what accompaniment is all about.

How would I respond today to the Lord who invites me to walk with him? I don't know him very well at all. Of course, I care too much that he accompanies me on the trip and along the way. So, I let the thousand questions arise that help me to continue walking restlessly in the following of Jesus.

I conclude by saying, with regard to accompaniment, that it is necessary for lay people to leave behind the ties of “I don't know”, “I'm starting”, and set out with determination, towards the deep encounter of being one with him and with others, in the church.

The lay dimension of Christian life in the Church asks us to safeguard the experience of Christ in the midst of the world. This is our mission: to be salt and light of the world. Therefore, it is necessary to break down useless barriers and open ourselves all to accompaniment in the Spirit, especially in favor of those who feel invited to discern and choose Christ and his Gospel with determination.

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