As mentioned, last Sunday, we would try to share with you our calling. Last week Father Abe share with is his call. This week is my turn. Next week, will be Fr. Bob’s. Please keep our priests in your prayers.
As I recall the moment in which I knew that God was calling me, I must say there was not a specific moment. It was a period of time in my childhood in which I just knew. My call was what I found out later was a natural call. I always found myself attracted by spiritual things, books, prayers, helping others and a love for God, what people normally will say: was born for this.
There is nothing in my life that triggered that call. No priest I know, (there were many later who inspired me, but not in that moment), no retreat to which I attended that motivated me to see myself as a priest. There was no one who asked me that question: Did you ever consider being a priest?. I just knew. I knew it, even before I understood in fullness the mission and the life of a Priest, like a child that likes numbers without understanding the complexity of algebra.
In the last year of high school with other friends who thought they had a vocation as well, we prayed. They prayed to be sure that God was calling them, to have a sign of their call. I on the other hand (I in my weakness) asked for a sign that was not for me. I never doubted that God had called me. I just wasn’t sure I would be a good priest though, I never doubted it.
There are two things I always treasure since that time: Jesus and Our Mother, the most Blessed Virgin Mary.
About Jesus: In that time I prayed a lot. I was not involved much in things at the parish, but I prayed. After my confirmation that I received when I was 12 years old, I started to go every day to mass early in the morning before school started. I would find early masses in hospitals, and chapels, near to my school. I was the youngest person at those masses. Since then I don’t remember ever missing a Sunday Mass.
About our Blessed Mother: let’s say I cannot call her Just Mary, (maybe it is a cultural or educational thing). There is story that my mother told me about a small old painting of the Blessed Mother in my house. My mother said that when I was very young (3-4 years old) I went to a house a few blocks from mine with her. When I entered the house, I saw that picture in the hall. I immediately asked: who is she. The lady from the house tried to explain to me that she was the mother of God. At that age, I couldn’t understand any of the explanation, but I said that she is so beautiful and that one day I would marry that beautiful lady. My neighbor gave the image to my mother… I grew up looking at the image, I drew, and copied that image many times. I was only after I became a priest that my mother told me that. When I asked why she never told me before she said that she did not want something like that to influence my life.
Since my childhood, I have had a great devotion to our Blessed Mother.
After graduating high school at 17 years old, I went to the Seminary… and when I was 24 years old I was ordained a priest. And the rest… well maybe one day I will tell you… meanwhile pray for me, as I pray for you.