A single point in the midst of eternity. That’s what
all of our lives are; that’s my life. I heard
it from Nuestro Padre our founder, and afterwards I read
it in one of his writings. This phrase expressed so
clearly the intuition, the restlessness that I had felt in
my heart from a young age. It’s a brief phrase,
a kind of spark that illuminates reality and sets everything
on fire inside. Life… it’s so short! And the things
of this world… so fleeting! Where can I rest my
heart? Where can I cast the anchor of my existence?
And an entire eternity depends on this small point. As
for the things of this world with God’s extraordinary creations,
many caught my attention, but in the final reckoning… where
else could I go if “you alone, Lord, have the
words of eternal life”?
|Fr. Manuel Salord Bertrán L.C.|
Sensitivity to the Needs of Others
I was one youth more in the ‘70s, bombarded by
images of the Vietnam War, student protests, the Cold War,
Marxist unrest. I was deeply concerned about doing something for
others. By the subtle grace that the religious formation instilled
by my parents had left in my interior, I felt
the need of giving something, of giving myself. I saw
the hunger and the nakedness, the hatred and sickness, and
I wanted to run out to console, to help, to
be at the side of all of them, of those
who suffer. Without violence, with the truth of the love
that becomes donation to all people. Something that revived this
fire was the unmistakable witness of the priests and consecrated
souls who gave their lives for others without any self-interest
at all, with a joy and happiness that are an
invitation. Without empty charlatanism; with life.
I was captivated by these
thoughts and by the witness of various aunts and uncles
of mine, both priests and religious, siblings of my father.
And so, at the age of 12 or 13, I
had already raised my hand in class at school (Our
Lady of the Marvels of Madrid) various times when the
visiting brother asked us openly about our vocation to religious
life and invited us to follow in the footsteps of
St John Baptiste de la Salle, an extraordinary man whom
I have always admired.
The Volcano Inside
With all of
that, my heart, which was sensitive to the needs of
others, was no less sensitive to emotions, youth’s ups and
downs, and the attractiveness of girls. All of that seemed
to eclipse, at least for a time, the deepest restlessness
of the vocation. But at that time, I started going
to one of the youth clubs of Regnum Christi. There,
I was struck by the arresting freshness, festive joy, and
sincerity with which the Legionaries of Christ live their self-giving.
What an experience! I felt attended by them as if
I were the only one who existed; they treated me
with great solicitude, and with a sincere concern for my
things, with the concern that the best of friends offers
you. They spoke to me of Christ with such closeness,
conviction, enthusiasm, and truth; they drew me close to the
living Christ of the Gospels, to the one who captivates
with his gaze and invites us to follow him. The
idea of the vocation began to regain strength in my
Years later, as a member of the Regnum Christi
youth section, I got to know Father Alfredo Torres, L.C.
He is the first Legionary religious after the founder. The
first time I spoke to him, I was “knocked off
my horse” from any plans other than giving everything in
life and giving it with totality. Before this man of
God, I saw clearly that I didn’t have to wait
any longer to follow the call that he puts in
our interior from all eternity: “It is not you who
have chosen me, but I have chosen you” (Jn 15:16).
Then the vocation arose inside like the awakening of a
At home, things were not so easy, since I
am the second of five siblings and the oldest son.
My mother had been widowed almost eight years ago, and
had had to fight hard to bring us up, and
now the oldest boy, who could have lent a hand
with the younger ones, was leaving home. Those were moments
of trial that were finally resolved only by the generosity
of that great woman who in the end sought nothing
but our greatest happiness.
The Path Begins
In the summer
of 1976 in a summer convention in Argomilla de Cayón,
Santander, four of us young men from the Madrid group
were consecrated to God in Regnum Christi, including Miguel Paz
and Jesús Quirce, who today are Legionary priests. Our founder
Nuestro Padre was there. Those were unforgettable moments where we
began to weave a life of self-giving to God, a
path that we ardently hoped would end only with our
death on the battlefield of the mission.
With the help of
my spiritual director, I undertook the path of consecrated life
in the Regnum Christi Movement—a way of life which was
just starting. Those were 27 intense and happy years. During
those years, I started to perceive a possible vocation to
the priesthood. After a period of discernment, I entered the
novitiate of the Legion of Christ.
There is a principle
that has helped me very much in all these years
of my life, and that has come in handy for
practically everything, both for the spiritual life and for practical
day-to-day matters: when you want to do something, go talk
to a successful expert. It’s about trusting in the person
who has successfully resolved the problem, or has faced the
challenge, or has come out of the crossroads where you
find yourself. That’s why I follow Christ, because no one
has been able to answer the desire for happiness in
man’s heart like he has, and because only he has
conquered death, opening the gates of life to us.
deeply happy, and I thank God for having allowed me
to respond with my life to the restlessness of my
youth. This is a response that the Lord has kept
fresh in my interior, and that I want to renew
every day. In moments of trial or suffering, being able
to offer my life for others continues to be the
deep motivation that guides me and ignites my passion to
keep on walking forward.
Father Manuel María Salord Bertrán got to
know Regnum Christi when he was studying at Our Lady
of the Marvels School run by the La Salle brothers
of Madrid. From 1972 onward, he was part of ECYD.
For 27 years, from 1976 to 2003, he was a
consecrated lay man of Regnum Christi and worked in the
Cumbres Institute in Mexico City, in Cotija de la Paz,
at Anáhuac University campus in the north of Mexico City,
and at Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid. He has
his licentiate in Law from the Autonomous Universities of Madrid
and from Anáhuac University in Mexico. He received his doctorate
in the History of Law from the Complutense University of
Madrid, and broadened his studies at Connecticut State University in
the United States, and he earned his master’s degree in
philosophy from Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid. He earned
his bachelor’s degree in theology from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical
Athenaeum, where he helped found the European University of Rome.
He is currently working apostolically with the youth in the
Regnum Christi Movement in Madrid.