A testimony by Ana María de Montero
My name is Ana María de Montero. I am a married woman with children and granddaughters. I have been a publicly committed member of the Árbol de Vida community in Costa Rica for 27 years. I met the Lord in the University Christian Outreach when I was 20.
I come from a traditional Catholic family, the kind that goes to Mass on Sundays and holy days but nothing more than that. When I made my commitment to the community, one of the promises I made was to faithfully participate in my church. This encouraged me to know, to study, to learn every day a little more about my own Catholic Faith. Thus, I have learned to love my church and to find its support, knowledge, and comfort.
When it was explained to me that Arbol de Vida and the Sword of the Spirit were ecumenical communities, I had to start by asking: What does ecumenism mean? And that is when I began to discover other blessings in my Christian life in an ecumenical community as I began to meet evangelical brothers and sisters. With them, I have learned to imitate their love for the Word of God, how they study it, memorize it, and make it alive in each of their days. For several years I was in charge of the Children’s Ministry and my evangelical brothers and sisters instructed me. It is admirable the zeal with which they evangelize the children and all the wonderful resources they develop for this purpose. The camps that we organize together, where we provide an environment of healthy fun, friendship, fellowship, and evangelization, have created fertile ground for the conversion of many young people.
Now I can answer the question: What is ecumenism? It is responding to the call of Jesus to be one. It is part of that current of grace of the Holy Spirit that unites us in so many things we have in common and allows us to respect our differences, so that they do not set us apart in our efforts to extend the Kingdom.
This article and photo is excerpted from © The Sword of the Spirit reflections for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18 – 25 2023.