|"It has been a long and hard winter, but the spring is coming soon. The light is on the horizon."|
The text below is a continuation of Fr Evaristo´s talk
at the Youth and Family Encounter in Mexico City on
February 20, 2010. Download the complete talk in PDF format
Lessons God has given me
I would like to tell
you about “my storm in the middle of the sea”
and some of the lessons God has taught me.
God is a good Father and I can trust in
It was very hard for me to follow the vocation
to the priesthood. I trusted in God. I do not
understand some things that have happened along the way. There
are some things that are very bewildering, but I believe
in Providence. God knows more than me. I am not
here to give God lessons about what he should or
should not allow in my life and in the life
of his Church and his Legion. God has acted like
a Father with me. He has been a good and
understanding Father. I see myself in his arms and I
contemplate him healing my wounds and those of the people
around me. If we are where we are now, it
is thanks to God. He is the one who has
sustained us. God knows our miseries better than anyone, and
he has patience and compassion with us. He understands, he
knows. God is faithful, and I can trust in him.
I don’t have to deserve his love. It is gratuitous.
This gives me a deep peace. I have a secure
love that has come out to look for me and
that will never fail me.
Second lesson: Humility.
We humbly recognize
that we have made mistakes. We should identify the causes,
accept the consequences, and correct what has to be corrected
with determination so that it does not happen again.
humbly recognize that God has blessed the Legion of Christ
and Regnum Christi in many ways, and that it is
up to us to take care of those talents. They
are not for burying under the earth.
Humility to accept that
there is space for the mystery, that there are things
I do not and will not be able to understand.
to accept that when I lived with our founder, I
did not see the negative things that we now know.
I did not see them; I was only able to
see the good, and I did not realize the bad.
God allowed it that way. Now that I know them,
it hurts very much to see it. It hurts me
for the people who have suffered; it hurts me that
it has caused such a loss of prestige to the
Catholic priesthood. I pray for him, I pray a lot
for him. I also accept him as part of my
history although it makes me suffer to be the target
of suspicion and mistrust. But I offer it to God
as reparation. Making reparation is an important part of a
priest’s life. When the priest sees sins, he should be
the one who spurs people on to love more and
give ourselves to God with more generosity. I offer it
for the people who have suffered the most and who
have felt misunderstood for a short or a long time.
I offer it for the Church that has been damaged.
to recognize the great sorrow I feel when I realize
that the instrument God used to give me so many
good things also did damage to other people. Maybe some
people can feel uncomfortable with what I am going to
say now and I understand them: humility to recognize and
give thanks for the good things God gave me through
him, which is the most valuable thing I have in
life: my love for Christ, my family that is all
of you, the Legion and Regnum Christi. I received my
priestly vocation from God through him. I am a happy
Legionary priest. Deeply happy. I should see the two things—both
are objective—to see with my two eyes. But above all,
it is to see from a perspective of faith, to
see with love.
One of the things that has most helped
me to see the truth in love is prayer. I
have spent many hours on my knees in front of
Christ in the Eucharist; I have leaned my head on
him in complete abandonment and have begged him: ‘Lord, give
me strength; I don’t want a heart of stone. Give
me a heart of flesh to love as you love’
(Ez. 11:19). This is one of my resolutions: to be
a priest of more prayer.
In the Legion and Regnum Christi,
we aim to form apostles who will go out into
the world and preach the love of God with simplicity,
passion, and coherence. But the first and most important thing
is the point of departure: to know God’s love, to
know it by personal experience, to experience God’s love. In
practice, we have given a lot of importance to the
conquering and apostolic dimension, and that’s good, but we have
to put more means to help ourselves and help them
to grow in the prayer life.
Lent: a time of conversion.
The Holy Father reminded us last Wednesday in the general
audience: ‘Conversion is not just at the start of our
Christian life; it is part of every step of the
journey, continually renewing itself and spreading itself, branching out into
all of its expressions.” We have learned so many lessons
and we have seen things that we must correct and
improve. Each one should examine himself and make resolutions. I
will share some of here:
We will humbly seek to have
a greater sense of service in everything we do. May
all people, without any kind of distinctions, receive from us
the personal attention they deserve. To be priests who listen
and are close, to be good friends who are kind,
accessible, like Christ the Good Shepherd. To keep insisting on
the centrality of the person. The person is at the
center, not institutions. We want to love without seeking anything
in return. Love can never be a strategy. We want
to take exquisite care so that not one person feels
used or undervalued. We will try to adapt ourselves to
each one, to meet them where they are at, not
to ask for more than is within their reach. To
be very understanding with everyone. To understand that self-giving is
a gradual process. We want to purify that pragmatic spirit
that sometimes invades our way of facing things. Not to
give so much importance to the numbers and results in
With humility, we must recognize that on occasions we have
gotten in over our heads, with the desire to do
a lot for God and society, we have tried to
take on a lot of projects and initiatives, but we
need to measure our strength and cut back when necessary.
resolve to be more humble in our way of relating
to everyone. To be transparent in communication. We want to
keep learning to work better, with humility and simplicity, with
other institutions, with the dioceses, parishes, and other initiatives run
by committed lay people. We should show more trust in
people and be less controlling. In our pastoral work, it
is urgent to give more attention to marriage and to
the family as the family.
This is not just something for
the priests. This is a task for all of us.
John Paul II says that love in earthly
life (which is a life of sin and death) is
manifested as mercy. Mercy is the name of love on
earth. The limit of evil is mercy.
I have learned to
understand the weakness of the human condition better, and not
to judge people. Judging is something that only God can
do. Here, I would like to give a piece of
advice that goes with the theme of this encounter: if
there is no forgiveness in a marriage or family, evil
continues advancing. You have to put a stop, a limit,
with mercy. God forgives and forgets through confession. The sacrifice
of love is forgetting. Sacrificing for the loved one is
not just about forgiving, but also about forgetting. So many
times, we don’t forget; instead, we keep it inside or
take it out again and again, and it is to
break, to hurt again. That is not love. Ask God,
“What would happen if I forgave the way you do?”
Choosing forgiveness means renouncing rancor and resentment. Renouncing pride and
putting humility in its place. Renouncing hardness of heart and
choosing mercy. We have a golden opportunity to let the
love of God bring good out of this. God in
his Providence knows why he allows things.
Someone can say: “This
is not what I want. It’s just that I can’t.
I can’t do it.” What is happening is that Christ
is still sleeping in your boat. Shout out to him:
“Wake up, Lord. Save me, Lord. I’m sinking, I’m breaking,
life has become bitter to me.” Tell him whatever you
want. If you have no wine or your wine has
become bitter, shout to him that you need new wine.
Mary is going to intercede for you as in the
wedding at Cana. The new wine we need is forgiveness,
reconciliation, humility, mercy, a life of love and reparation. Truly
understanding the power of mercy can change our life forever.
you were able to multiply the loaves; you were able
to turn the water into wine. Now I ask you
to convert my heart.”
It is demanding. Yes. It is that
the Gospel is demanding. This is a marvelous opportunity to
give witness that love is stronger.
In the painting, you saw
how there was a ray of light on the horizon.
It has been a long and hard winter, but the
spring is coming soon. The light is on the horizon.
I think our experience is going to help all of
us to see how God can do many things with
weak people. I see you and I say: really, I
am enthused by my vocation and mission in the Catholic
priesthood in the Legion of Christ, its spirituality centered in
God’s love, its love for the Pope, its strong sense
of mission. I am enthused by our charism, our mission
of forming apostles to put ourselves at the service of
the Church. Apostles who know, live, and share the love
of God with passion.
This is my family, the family to
which God called me. We should humbly value the good
things God has given us, and in an atmosphere of
a lot of prayer, obedience, and unity, we should honestly
face whatever is needed to overcome ourselves. We need one
another. We have understood that it’s up to all of
us to put our shoulders to the wheel. This is
a new chapter in our history. The panorama we have
before us is exciting, but not at all easy. And
the responsibility is in our hands. Christ told us, “Come.”
And if he does so, it is because he believes
we are able to walk on water. God is not
making fun of us. God does not want to make
us look bad; he does not want us to break
or sink. If he has called you and tells you,
“Come,” it is because you can. He has not made
you a penguin that has wings but cannot fly. He
has made you an eagle to fly very high. Let
us live this moment with virtue to bounce higher like
the ball, and not to be fragile like the egg,
not to remain there like a smashed tomato. You are
not alone. God is helping you: “My grace is enough
for you, for my strength is manifested in your weakness”
(2 Cor. 12:9). Trust in him, trust in yourself at
least as much as God trusts in you.
We are grateful
to the Pope and the Church. As the Pope just
said last week: “The motherhood of the Church is a
reflection of God’s solicitous love” (Benedict XVI, February 11, 2010).
We believe that it is so.
I would like to conclude
thanking all of you as well for your support. Your
human and spiritual company has been very important for us.
You cannot imagine how much. I thank my brother priests,
consecrated men, consecrate women, who are here giving their lives.
They sacrifice themselves every day to serve society and the
Church in the best way possible. Thank you from the
And today we renew our commitment to serve you better.
We love each one of you and your families so
much that we want to serve you better.
There is a
song to Mary that I like very much. Here, in
front of Christ in the Eucharist, before this huge challenge
we have in front of us, I would like to
tell Our Lady of Guadalupe what the song says: “Yes,
I accept, Mother. I accept to take your hand, climb
up the mountain, kiss the cross, and die with Christ.
Yes, although it is night, I am looking at you.
I accept, Mother, to die for them, to sow the
world, if I go with you. Yes, like you, Mary,
I tell him yes.”
Thank you very much.