The alarm goes off at 7:30 am, and another day begins. The Lord permits us to live another day and we need to truly make the most of it. It's easier to complain and be lazy, but we can't forget that we are at war. It's true: we’re in a war against ourselves and we fight so we can reach our Goal.
Many children and teenagers have reached this destination, and they are powerful examples for us. It hasn't been easy for any of them, but they followed some very effective methods: union with God, offering up their sufferings, and loving those around them.
One noteworthy winner in this race is Alexia González-Barros. She reached the end very quickly. At only fourteen years of age she proved to be an example of faith and fortitude.
Alexia was born in Madrid, Spain, on March 7, 1971. She was the youngest of seven children, and grew up in a joyful Christian environment. She went to the Carmelite school of Christ the Teacher from the age of four, and made her First Communion at the age of eight in Rome, before the tomb of St. Josemaría Escrivá, to whom she was deeply devoted.
She was a child with a strong character, while affectionate and sweet with everyone. She lived a simple life, like any girl of her age, but had a close union with the Lord and Our Blessed Mother.
She had many natural gifts and strove to live a virtuous life, following the example of her mother. She lived totally in love with the things of God. This love was passed on to her by her parents.
Shortly before her 14th birthday she was diagnosed with a tumor on her neck, which soon left her paralyzed. She underwent very harsh treatments: radiotherapy, chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and long operations with painful post-operations. Within this jumble of treatments there was something that she never lost: her smile and inner peace.
Alexia offered each and every one of her pains for the Church, for the Pope, and for all of us. She accepted her illness with faith and joy, and waited for her time to come with peace of mind, knowing that God loved her, that He was with her, and that she was doing His holy will. Her motto was "YES, and more." "Yes," to always accept God's will, and "more" so that those around her would not stop talking to her about Jesus, so she could continue to get to know Him and grow in her spiritual life.
For many of us, a little headache or an unexpected change of plans finds a good reason to complain for the rest of the year. We don't realize that we are losing an opportunity to sanctify ourselves and to help others. We waste all the treasures the Lord sends us because we don't “feel like it,” or we say “I don't like this,” instead of imitating Our Lord on the Cross and offering it all up, like Alexia.
This is why in this period of suffering, crisis, and sickness, the Lord has chosen each one of us to bear light in the world. We have to offer ourselves up through a life of virtue so that this light can shine even brighter. And we must fight so that one day we can be together in Heaven.
- Written by Ana Pérez