The first time I visited Mexico City was in 2000. I was a missionary in my early twenties and there was always something from Mexico that always attracted me. I did not know what it was, I just knew in my heart that there it was something special. There were neither the enchiladas nor the sopes (Mexican food that I really like) but the miracle of Guadalupe that brought me closer to the Lord. Definitely, in Mexico, I fell in love. When I departed from Mexico in 2001, I cried not only because in a single year I made many friends, but because I have found a new devotion. This longing to follow the Lord in the priesthood started on my first trip to Mexico. I already had the calling, but being in the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a boost in my vocation. After that 200-2001 visit, I always wanted to come back.
I had a hard head, in the sense that I wanted that follow the Lord my way. I was not completely happy by receiving orders. I had problems with authority figures. At the time, I was discerning even to profess religious vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. The most difficult thing for me was to be obedient to the voice of the Lord. I had to learn the hard way. I was asked to leave a missionary community because I did not fit there. This was the year 2002.
I learned through Mary that being obedient is an act of faith, and my faith was in shambles. I did not have a purpose yet. I wanted to follow the Lord my way; that was it. When I discover the purpose of my life, my life started to change. After several years, I had to come to terms with my parents first, to forgive them in to ask for forgiveness. In 2008, I said yes to the calling again but this time I knew that I had to be obedient. Being disobedient caused me a lot of problems. I was ready for a new opportunity.
It was not easy, I still had the flashbacks from my first experience. The sense of inadequacy was something that made me doubtful but I was sure of my calling. I faced my own reality: How to reconcile my feelings with my calling? I needed help and that help was coming my way. Even though I had a past of broken relationships, I found amazing people who helped me along the way. A few, but great friends who help me to trust again. Finally, I learned the meaning of unconditional love. Now, I was ready to face harsh situations with more faith than ever.
In 2012, I had the opportunity to go back to Mexico. It was a journey of faith. The seminary where I went is named after the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe http://www.seminariohispano.org.mx/english/ I had one more reason to believe. I was less than an hour apart from the seminary to the Basilica. I got to visit the basilica very often, like every other week. I liked to go to confession there. I started ministering a church nearby that helped me build a strong relationship with Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is one of my particular devotions. I became a true guadalupano.
In 2014, I finished my studies in Mexico and I came back to the U.S. that year. I always ponder into the words of Mary who accepted the calling by saying “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Lk 1,38. In Latin: “dixit autem Maria ecce ancilla Domini **fiat **mihi secundum verbum tuum et discessit ab illa angelus”.
Last year I became a priest and thanks to the Lord and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I was able to overcome many challenges and obstacles in my journey. The Lord is victorious in the example of our Mother. The Lord rejoices in our obedience. I just want to continue pondering in the words of Mary and her fiat (Mary’s submission to the will of God). Ask me how many Rosaries I have prayed for her intercession. I lost count. Even a lost wallet appeared after praying to her. I am into Rosary making too. Ask me how to make a Rosary, if I have time I will show you how… I have lots of material.
Que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!