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Turn to Jesus (Article)

I Entrusted Myself to God
Father Rodrigo Alfaro Uriarte, LC (Spain)

P. Rodrigo Alfaro Uriarte , L.C.
Fr. Rodrigo Alfaro Uriarte , LC

I am the second of a family of eight children. At home we lived in a very sound and joyful atmosphere that no brotherly fight could break. The interaction amongst us was spontaneous and simple, and neither ill will nor envy had a place. I remember especially the Sunday evenings on which many of our cousins would come and would play soccer with us or spend time with us, our ears glued to the radio listening to the results of the soccer league. We would go to Mass every Sunday, but we didn’t hold to any other particular religious customs besides.

My parents always made a great effort to give us a very positive and broad education. They were very reluctant in granting our whims or in giving us superficial things, but they made big sacrifices so we could receive a great formation, playing sports and learning languages. I did my studies in the Liceo Francés de Madrid, and I remember that, only being eleven years old, I went for the first time to England with my older brother that was only one year older than me. I played for two years for the school’s indoor soccer team and three years on the basketball team. I remember with special fondness the atmosphere of teamwork during one year in which I was the goalie. I also had the opportunity to learn how to ride a horse and I participated in some competitions with good results.


An unexpected encounter

I was 16, almost 17, when I had an encounter that would change my life. I thought I was spending those years very well, but more and more I was starting to feel an emptiness that nothing could fill. I kept on going to Mass according to custom, but at the same time I was living a very superficial life, thinking almost exclusively about how to have as much fun as possible. But neither going out late at night, nor having lots of parties, nor in the rows of Santiago Bernabeu stadium, nor in looking to always have fun by whatever excuse could I find something to fill this emptiness. Something inside of me was begging each time with more strength that I had to seek a more profound meaning to my life. It was more or less in these circumstances that I first met a priest of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.


One day in the month of March in 1993 I was walking with my dad through the street in Madrid called Príncipe de Vergara, when we came across Father Ignacio Oriol. He was a friend of my father in their youth but they hadn’t seen each other in 14 years, since he had left for the seminary unexpectedly. From this meeting came an invitation to dinner and then there arose a friendship. His entrance into my life gave me a channel to seek a more profound meaning in life. His joy and simplicity greatly impressed me, and
P. Rodrigo Alfaro Uriarte , L.C.
I quickly learned that he had what I was looking for.

The winds of change

That summer my older brother, invited by Father Ignacio, went to Mexico for evangelization missions. One month as a missionary! He returned very happy with his experience. I didn’t want to wait a whole year to do something similar: I accepted Father’s invitation to start going to a Mano Amiga center that the Legionaries of Christ had in Vallecas to aid in the integral formation of adolescents from tough backgrounds. I committed to go there every Friday in the evening for three hours, starting in September. I would help the kids study, give a sort of catechesis, play soccer with them, and try to help them with their problems.

I started to participate in formative activities offered by the Legionaries, and I began to know my faith with greater depth. My spirit was in a state of unrest: I had a lot of questions… and I found many valuable answers. Little by little, my life was changing and taking on a greater meaning. The constant giving to others and the greater knowledge of my faith made me grow during this last year in school. As well, the contrast I found between this treasure of the friendship with Christ, which I was discovering, and the way of living of the world, so full of appearances and at the same time so empty of meaning, made me mature a lot.

As this time passed I was more ready to defend my faith and its demands in front of others, because the faith for me was no longer a mere cultural or social question, but a real friendship with Christ. I was beginning to feel the healthy pride of being a Christian, a friend of Christ. Under these circumstances, the death of one of my uncles, for whom I had a great affection, was also a moment to continue maturing in the meaning of my life. With Christ and his friendship, the mystery of death also had an answer.

God keeps preparing the soil

At the beginning of March in 1994, I did spiritual exercises and I decided to join Regnum Christi to live my Christian life in a real and concrete way. I remember the joy with which I took this step. I learned very well that as the Church had priests, it was necessary that there would be lay people who would live their faith with authenticity and who weren’t afraid of living it fully or of giving reasons for it.

That Holy Week, I went on a pilgrimage to Rome, organized by the Legionaries of Christ. It was a wonderful time. I got to greet Pope John Paul II and discover in his face an overwhelming strength and hope. Thanks to the example of the young Legionary seminarians, who took us in during our time in Rome, I lived a profoundly Christian Holy Week, accompanying Christ, who gives his life for each one of us on the cross.

“I want you to be my priest”

God was preparing me in this way. Although I was not thinking that God might have been calling me to be a priest—I was more inclined to study law or business administration to get married some day and have a family—I was ready to do the will of God and I had great esteem for priests. The call of God was all that was lacking. And this occurred while I was preparing for final exams before university. I asked Father Ignacio to invite me to a Legionary house to take better advantage of the time for the preparation before exams. On one of the first days of this stay, I went to confession. It was precisely at the moment of receiving God’s forgiveness for my sins from the priest that I felt the clear invitation of God: “I want you to be my priest”. I was very confused because I didn’t understand well how God could ask someone like me, so stubborn and difficult. But I entrusted myself to God. And this is what has given me most happiness during all my years of preparation. I think that the vocation is a question of trusting in him who calls, because he loves us more than we could love ourselves and he wants the best for us.

To be a priest is to be an instrument of God who is love and who wants to give himself to each person. To be a priest is something beyond me, and because of this it is a question of putting myself each day in his hands so that he can do the good he wants to do through me.

Father Rodrigo Alfaro Uriarte was born in Madrid (Spain) on March 16, 1976. He studied in the Liceo Francés de Madrid. He entered the novitiate of the Legion of Christ in Salamanca on the 14th of September of 1994. He studied humanities in Salamanca and Cheshire (United States). He has collaborated in youth work in the cities of Lyon and Lille (France), and he was a member of the team of formators in the minor seminary of the congregation near Paris.  He has a license in philosophy and the bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome. He now works in Toulon and Avignon (France). 



Translation of the vocation story published in the book "Vivir para Cristo"



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