I first heard about the Shalom Community in November, 2017 at Jesus Across the Border when some young adults were talking about different religious groups in the Boston area. I remember there was a man speaking and he mentioned the Saturday night Shalom prayer groups. I live an hour from Boston, but I knew I could make it there on the weekends. The moment I arrived to my first event, the Brazilian party in February of 2018, I was immediately welcomed with open arms.
I knew these missionaries had something I wanted but also something I already had inside. I’ve always been one to include anyone who may seem uncomfortable and generally get to know people. And I saw that’s what Shalom does too! I began going to the prayer nights and could see the strength of the mission. This past fall, one of the postulants was telling me more about Shalom’s life and covenant communities, and for the first time I began to think: “Could this be for me?” Over the next few months, I started attending more often, being drawn to the charism and mission.… People think I’m Brazilian, and, in a way I am as forró has become my favorite dance.
About three weeks ago, when the missionaries announced the date for the upcoming Shalom Vocational Discernment Open Meeting I immediately thought, “God – already?” But yes, yes, yes! Two missionaries encouraged me to attend. I love the idea of the covenant community. I’m a social worker and am blessed to love my job. I’ve always wanted to tithe more for the church, and what better way is there than to give to a mission to which I am so devoted? I had begun editing documents that had been recently translated. I enjoy this and every aspect of Shalom. My mentor has helped me tremendously too.
I wasn’t sure what the meeting would bring, but I decided to take it one step at a time. God only knows, and this was the first time in my life where I was handing over EVERY part of myself to Him. I know that only He can satisfy, and He will ultimately succeed, so why not give everything? His peace and joy floods me, and I never want to turn back.
I would say “overwhelmed” is the word to describe the meeting day and practically every word made me cry at the discernment. I felt like Moysés (Shalom’s founder) was speaking directly to me, telling me not to be afraid. As I shared with the group, fear was the only thing that was holding me back. BUT God was already working in me and I moved forward.
It was overwhelming to realize that God knew I was supposed to pursue this missionary life LONG before I ever even knew about Shalom.… It’s beautiful to look back and see what He has been doing.
It was the best decision in my life to fully surrender myself to Him a few months ago. I was just learning about God’s Providence through Shalom – and that’s what it is! I’m so excited to see how this year will pan out and know that I don’t need to know how God is going to form it. I just need to continue to say Y.E.S.
It’s refreshing not to feel rushed, pressured, confused or exhausted. That’s when you know something is right. When we ask God what He is doing, He usually answers, but definitely in His time and the way He wants. So, with that, I continue to put my arms out, giving over EVERY piece of myself: my plans, my desires, my fears, my questions. And I ask Him to help me rest in His arms.
I ask Him to provide me with continued peace and joy through this journey and for Him to use me in the way He would like. I’ve been saying this for several weeks now: His plan is ultimately going to succeed, so why not follow as closely to it as we can? Here’s to more and more surrendering to His will.
The Shalom Catholic Community in the USA is located at 42 Sciarappa Street, Cambridge, MA.