The Joy of the Fight

What a great example of a strong, young girl who fought valiantly to perfect her character to be able to always give her joyful “yes” to God.

Sometimes a picture can speak louder than words. And I think if you just look at the last picture they took of Montse before she died its impossible not to be impressed by her joyful radiance. This is the joy that surpasses the little joys of this world. It is the joy of fighting to say yes to God, in all the little things he asks of us. It’s the joy of fighting with all our strength, even to the last drop. In the midst of war some battles are lost, but the joy of the final victory is the joy that Our Lord promises that “no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22) What a great example of a strong, young girl who fought valiantly to perfect her character to be able to always give her joyful “yes” to God.

Joy. Where did her joy come from? From saying yes to God. From her FIGHT to say yes to God. Where did her strength come from to fight? From her union with Jesus and Mary. Where did that union come from?  From prayer and the sacraments.

When she was 13 she started making a time each day for prayer. The few minutes she started spending in prayer at first seemed endless and sometimes unbearable, but she was constant. She got a spiritual director. She began receiving the Eucharist daily and it became her strength. Every day she began to say the rosary and make an examination of conscience. Talk about all the perfect weapons for a sure victory!

Every night Montse would ask herself:
“1. What have I done today to displease God?
2. What have I done today to please Him?" 
She would write these things down in her notebook and make a resolution for the next day.

Little by little Montse spent more time in prayer, still fighting many moments of “not feeling like it” and grew in her relationship with Jesus and Our Lady, her mother. Two of Montse’s favorite short prayers to her were: Sweet Heart of Mary, bring us peace!  Cause of our joy, pray for us!   

Montse started seeing things about herself and her character that she needed to change. She saw the need to mortify her curiosity and laziness, her quick temper and quick tongue, to be gentler in her words to others, her likes in clothes and food….

When she was passing by shop windows she wouldn’t look at the clothes on display, she would take the stairs instead of the elevator, she tried to stop arguing or insisting on her way, her character became gentler and more joyful, every meal she would make at least one sacrifice….

She said one day to her spiritual director: “I have to start offering these little things to my God.”

She offered these “little things” to her God, and because of this she could also offer a bigger thing (a malignant cancer in her leg) with the same joyful yes. When she found out the gravity of the cancer she went to kneel before an image of Our Lady of Montserrat and said to her: “Serviam. (I will serve) Whatever you want….”  

She lived her sickness with joy, always thinking in the others. When she couldn’t leave her bed anymore, groups of friends and young people would come to visit and many mentioned afterwards that when they were with Montse they felt closer to God. She fought until the end even through times of difficulty and darkness. She passed away on Holy Thursday, at 17 while some family and friends were with her praying the Rosary. Her last words were (while looking at a picture of Mary): “How much I love you! When are you coming to take me?”

Montse was young, full of life, great at sports, loved theatre, acting, clothes, friends, singing, dancing… a normal girl. A normal girl that knew how to respond to every human person’s calling to holiness. She responded with love, she fought with love. She ran the good race, fought the good fight, and has gained her everlasting crown.

She wrote these words in her diary during her sickness and I think they can sum up her spirit: “I’ve complained quite a bit; but I fought. Some disheartening moments; but in spite of everything joy.”

We ask her to intercede for us so that we too may reach the finish line with the glory of a life given in love and joy.