We changed everything in our lives and have never felt closer to God
By Giuliana Maldonado and Mateo García
We had two incredible graces as soon as we got married: going on mission for a year to New Zealand, and then being able to live for more than a year and a half with a community of contemplative monks in Mexico.
During these experiences is where everything began – our deep conversion to be more human, more true, more real, and to be truly Christian.
“Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption” (LS 222).
Rethinking our lives
When we returned to Ecuador a little more than three years ago, we rethought our lives, what we wanted to teach our children, and our priorities as a family.
We decided that the most important thing was the time we could dedicate to our children and to God, so we took the path of entrepreneurship, always looking for a true integral development (LS 185) and that alternative way of understanding the quality of life.
“In any discussion about a proposed venture, a number of questions need to be asked in order to discern whether or not it will contribute to genuine integral development. What will it accomplish? Why? Where? When? How? For whom? What are the risks? What are the costs? Who will pay those costs and how? In this discernment, some questions must have higher priority” (LS 185).
Losing ‘luxuries’ but gaining so much more
Our life became much simpler. We lost what some would call “luxuries” but we gained a deep sense of meaning. We stopped looking for results and instead, looked for fruits in love.
We slowly began to understand that if you teach a child to respect a small plant, to admire a rabbit, or to be touched by his little brother, the child will harbor peace and respect for God’s Creation later on.
We started to realize that if we could get our children to be in contact with nature, they would understand that modern life doesn’t mean having big shopping malls or industries, but having access to clean rivers, being able to see a mountain, and getting to contemplate a sunset over the sea.
“Contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves” (LS 233).
We do all of this every day because a real experience is necessary for the conversion to permeate the depths of the heart. It is not enough to listen, watch it on the internet, or read it; you have to live it.
“We must examine our lives and acknowledge the ways in which we have harmed God’s creation through our actions and our failure to act. We need to experience a conversion, or change of heart” (LS 217).
This story was produced through a partnership with Laudato Si’ Movement, which serves the Catholic family worldwide to turn Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ into action for climate and ecological justice. Learn more about Laudato Si’ Movement by following them on Instagram @laudatosimovement. Learn more about Giuliana, Mateo, and their family by following them on Instagram @the3wisdom and @little.ec.family.