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Turn to Jesus (Article)

I Was Sure It Wasn’t for Me
Vocational Testimony of Fr. Óscar Sánchez, LC

Testimonio vocacional del P. Óscar Sánchez L.C.
Fr. Óscar Sánchez L.C.
I remember that the first time I wondered about whether the priesthood was for me, I thought about it seriously. But I reasoned that if it was what God wanted, then he would take it upon himself to make me see it. In any event, I was convinced that it wasn’t for me, since I felt no inclination toward the priestly lifestyle, and at the same time, I was really looking forward to forming a family and seeking happiness in married life.

I had always had great admiration and reverence for priests. In my family, we had frequent dealings with priests, and my brother and I were used to participating in parish activities like talks and spiritual exercises. There was an atmosphere of faith at home, and my parents always took care to form us in the faith, both with their example and with the values they passed on to us.

When I started high school, I had lots of friends… and an enemy or two. I had a companion whom I liked to tease and play pranks on, but after a while we realized that both our grandparents and our parents had been friends, and from then on things changed and we became best friends. He was the instrument God put on my path to call me to the Regnum Christi Movement, since he invited me to the kids’ club, and later on we were on the same Regnum Christi team.

During my college years, I was involved in many activities, with an intense social life, apostolic work, and in the midst of all this, I saw clearly that my vocation was to Regnum Christi, but I never thought about the possibility of joining the Legion. There were even companions of mine who entered the novitiate, and I
P. Oscar Sanchez L.C.
admired them and encouraged them very much, but my moment had not yet come. Besides, since I thought I had it clear that God was not calling me to the priesthood, I felt in conscience that I should give two years of my life as a co-worker in the Movement, according to the guideline of our founder Nuestro Padre, whom I had the opportunity to meet several times.

God Hit Me with His Grace
As soon as I finished my degree in industrial engineering, I got a good job and thought that my priority was to start taking steps to secure my professional life, build up my resume, and get a postgraduate degree. In those months, I distanced myself a bit from the Movement, since my time was completely absorbed by work, my girlfriend, and my friends. And it was then that God hit me with his grace… I realized that I was losing the direction I had always wanted to give to my life, because although I wasn’t going in the wrong direction, I was letting the days slip by while I was having fun and working, and my relationship with Christ was slowly fading. Shortly before the summer of 1995, I went on a three-day retreat, and that was where God lovingly boxed my ears. I realized that if I didn’t leave everything in that moment and go give years as a co-worker, I would never do it, since in addition to work I was thinking about getting a master’s degree abroad, getting married, travelling…

As a co-worker, I was assigned to work with youth in Monterrey, Mexico. During that period, I was very keen on finding out God’s plan for my life. I thought that it was a special moment in my life, since I found myself free from many of my ordinary commitments and I was dedicated 100% to the mission of Regnum Christi. Thanks to all the means I had at hand—daily prayer, apostolic work, community life, and the various evangelization missions I participated in that year—I soon realized that if I wanted to give my life a definite direction, I had to put my entire life in front of God so that he could dispose of me according to his will. I had been thinking of various possibilities: giving more years as a co-worker, giving myself more in ordinary life, working professionally in some Regnum Christi apostolate… and although I did not yet see that my path was to be the priesthood, God helped me to have an attitude of total openness, which was a real blessing in my vocational discernment. Nevertheless, I had one thing very clear: if God wanted me to be a priest, I would be a Legionary of Christ.

And so, with my family’s support, I started taking the necessary steps to see if God was calling me: I went to the vocational get-togethers at the Monterrey novitiate, I had regular spiritual direction, and finally I attended the summer candidacy program. It was an especially beautiful period, since after almost a year of thinking about it, I was finally with a group of young men who were seriously thinking about the vocation just like me. The Lord soon made me realize that he was calling me to follow him in the Legion, and I entered the novitiate in September of 1996.

God’s Love Sustains Us
I did my first years of formation in our novitiate and center for humanities studies in the northeast of the United States, in Cheshire. Afterwards, I went to Dublin, Ireland, to work full-time as a teacher and administer of the novitiate and of the Dublin Oak international academy, and I also had the good fortune of working in the foundation of the Oakhill school in that same city. Afterwards, I went to Rome to work in the General Directorate of the Legion and to do my studies in philosophy and theology. I also worked for a few years in Spain. It is impossible to describe here all the experiences I had in those years, so maybe the best thing to do is to say like Mary in the Magnificat that “God has done great things for me.” The love with which God calls and sustains us is so abundant and full of details. He arranges everything to get the best out of us and to conquer us for his cause… Throughout the years, I’ve seen how he shapes the souls of those who give themselves to him—in any state of life—and how the love of Christ crucified becomes the center of one’s life.

I can only end these lines with a deep thank you: first to God, and secondly to all those who have worked with me and supported me in these short years of formation. Thank you to my family, to my formators and superiors, to my companions in battle, and to all the souls who have sustained me with their prayers and sacrifices.

Father Óscar Sánchez was born in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico on October 30, 1972. He studied industrial engineering at the University of Guadalajara and entered the novitiate of the Legion of Christ in September of 1996. He studied philosophy in the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome and was a teacher in the novitiate of Dublin, Ireland. He is currently working in the territorial administration of the Legionaries of Christ in Spain.



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