As a young teenager in high school I was afforded an interesting opportunity, I represented my school in a “United Nations” learning experience. Each school invited to this UN learning experience was to represent a country. My school called “Immaculata High School” named after the Virgin Mary was to represent a poor country. I remember getting my country assignment and feeling disappointed. How was I going to negotiate with the rich countries when we were so poor? God had a plan to teach me something, something I did not understand at the time.
At the event each school had an opportunity to speak about the concerns of the country they represented. The learning experience was soon coming to an end and I had not yet said anything. I remember praying to God asking Him to give me something meaningful to say and then a miracle happened. These are the words that came out of my mouth. I don’t remember everything I said, but I remember these words. I had not memorized them and as I will explain in a moment I didn’t even understand all of them.
I said, “My people are dying and we need your help. We ask for your help in a way that preserves our dignity and self-respect. We are willing to work hard and we propose to become a model of sustainable development, a model that can be replicated over and over again throughout the developing world…”
When I finished speaking, there was silence in the room for several minutes. Finally the school representing the United States said, “We will take all this into consideration.” The day then ended and my colleague asked me some questions: “She said “Wow, that was great. But I have a few questions. What did you mean by a sustainable model of development?” I didn’t know how to answer the question. You see I had spoken words that God had given me. So I whispered to God, “What did you mean by a sustainable model of development?” God said “It means lasting”. Then my colleague said “You made a mistake though. You called the “third world” the “developing world”. So again I asked God, “Why did you call the “third world”, “the developing world”. God said, “I only made one world.” This conversation occurred over 34 years ago and at the time the term “the developing world” was not yet being used or if it was I had never heard it.
I realized that day that God used me to speak to the children, but He told me I was not to tell anyone. Today is the first time I have written about this experience. I feel God is now calling me to reveal what happened. I have been pondering these words for the last ten years because I believe that the “sustainable model of development” is not an economic model, it’s a spiritual model. There are no economies that are truly sustainable. Invariably there are peaks and valleys in every economy, periods of economic growth and economic downturns. However the spiritual model of sustainable development is one that I believe God is helping me to understand more and more daily. It is one where the soul is finally able to say with conviction:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Holy Lord, I am not worthy of the graces that You have bestowed upon me. I want to love You and honor You and give You glory each and every day. Protect me from the forces of evil and allow me to grow more beautiful in your sight. My precious Saviour You have given all for me and I want to give all for YOU!