H.M. MagazineH.M. is a bi-monthly magazine published in English, Spanish and Italian. It includes articles on formation, liturgy, values, with lively interviews and impressive testimonies of faith.

Out in the Open

Ana María Lapeña

16 years old - Cuenca, Spain

How can one be strong and not let oneself be influenced by bad ideas?
By receiving Holy Communion every day and spending many, many periods of time alone with the Lord. Frequent Confession also helps a lot, and speaking with Our Blessed Mother.

Do you have the courage to say what you think?
I have to admit that I find it hard at times, but I try to because I know that the life of many souls depends on it and that it is a very big responsibility. We mustn’t let ourselves be moved by human respects, but by the Holy Spirit.

Are you afraid of dying?
No. I desire it with all my heart because I thirst for God. Although it is also true that I find it very hard to mortify myself, so I don’t know.

Do you believe in the mercy of God?
Yes, because it is thanks to Him that I am here. I fell in love with the Lord because of the mercy He had with me.

Is it easier to believe in God’s forgiveness than it is to forgive ourselves? Why?
Yes. Because when you understand that you are nothing and you put yourself humbly in the arms of God, accepting forgiveness as another of his gifts, and you see that He is happy with you because of your efforts, it is really beautiful to find yourself on your feet again. However, we don’t like being in the wrong, because of our self-love, and when we fall we find it very hard to get up again and to laugh at ourselves.

Do you pray? What kind of relationship do you have with God?
Yes. I try to pray well, not rushing things and thinking of something else, because when one prays one is speaking with God and with Our Mother and one has to invest all ones senses in that conversation.

How do you invoke God?
I turn to the Lord as a Father, as my best friend, as the One with whom I am in love. So I look to Him with love, to console Him, to listen to Him, to tell Him with trust and sincerity what is going on in my head and in my heart. I tell Him to explain things to me, to teach me to love Him, and if nothing else occurs to me, I just keep Him company.

What is the most important moment of your day?
The moments of Holy Communion and of prayer should be the most desired moments of the day for a Christian.

Do you ever feel like crying? Why?
I am quite a crier. That’s how I manifest any emotion that is more than usually strong, but I love it when the Lord and Our Mother dry my tears and I also like to offer them up to dry theirs.

What would you score between one and ten for patience?
I think a seven would be fine. The Lord is making me grow a lot in this virtue through certain circumstances. He gives me the grace.

How do you react to spiritual doubts?
I tell the Lord and ask Him to give me light. I find it a great help to tell Our Lady and I always turn to Her. Then I tell my spiritual guide. I hope in the Lord and He resolves everything when He wants to. This makes me grow and enables me to help other souls.

What is your favorite pastime?
I am happiest when I am in the Home, no matter what I’m doing. I sincerely don’t find any true enjoyment in the things of the world. When I am playing, singing, inventing theatre... with the girls of the Home, I have a ball. What I most like is that Our Blessed Mother is with us and draws the best out of each one of us. I love that!

What is life about?
It’s about removing more and more those walls that separate us from God until you are so close to Him that the wall of the flesh is broken and you can be eternally with the One whom you have been seeking and desiring all along.

What is common sense?
A person with common sense is the one who thinks things over before doing them so that they will be good for himself and for everyone. Doing the will of God is a matter of common sense.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
An optimist. A Christian has to be one, because he must trust in God.

What is the virtue that you most admire?
Humility. It is a virtue that stands out in Our Mother and it consists of living with your eyes fixed on God, which I think is essential.

The worst defect?

Do young people suffer? Why?
Yes. We don’t have experience of life. We are beginning to encounter problems. Learning is always hard.

Do you suffer? What is your attitude in the face of suffering?
Yes. I see it as a grace of the Lord. His treasure is the cross, the crown of thorns and the nails. If He gives them to me it’s because He trusts in me. It is also very useful to me because I can offer it for souls, although that doesn’t mean that I love suffering. I’m not a masochist, but the cross of Christ is sweet.

Do you believe you have a mission in the Church? What is it?
Yes, to be holy. A holy soul moves mountains. Just one! And I have to be that one where God wants me to be. Many souls depend on it.

What could be the motto of your life?
“ Prayer and work”. It’s no joke. That’s what I believe. The first thing is to place myself in the hands of God and then to do what He tells me, being sanctified in my work.

How can one be a reflection of God in the world? Is it possible?
By living so deeply in his Heart that it is no longer you who acts but Christ who does all through you. With a profound fidelity and obedience.

What is holiness for?
It’s what we’ve been made for. If we’re not holy, everything we do we will do badly and we will destroy the harmony and the beauty of everything around us.

Is it possible, in these times, for a young person to live the beatitudes?
Of course it is. I’m not saying it’s easy, or difficult. But it is possible. God doesn’t ask anything of us that we cannot do. He gives the grace for every cross. So we have no excuse for not living them.

Looking at this world, is hope possible? How?
Yes. By really believing for once and for all that God is all-powerful.

How would you explain to a young person who the Virgin Mary is?
I would present Her as a Mother, who loves him as he is, who desires to take us in her arms, to console us, to give us rest and to encourage us. Like a close friend who understands you, who advises you, who accompanies you and gives you confidence. I think the person would notice how much I love Her and that would be enough to make him think.

Briefly complete these half-sentences:

I am consoled by... speaking with the Lord and with Our Mother.
The best that I can give to others... is God. Who has been given to me free of charge. How funny!
I get tired by... struggling without seeing results.
I don’t understand... how a person who has known God can ever leave Him.
Life is for... growing perfect in love.
If I could fly... I would go to many places where I can’t go for lack of time.
I would like to give everyone... the fire of the love of God that fills me with joy and doesn’t let me rest when I am not faithful to Him.

© HM Magazine #116 - January/February 2004

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