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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Thirst for Eternity
Father Francisco Aguilar promised to give God whatever he desired, and he has never regretted it.

P. Francisco Aguilar, L.C.
Father Francisco Aguilar, LC

This may sound strange but the story of my vocation begins at a funeral. I was fifteen years old at the time, and my dream was to be a great entrepreneur or an important politician. The funeral was for a man who had been a tremendously successful businessman. I remember when they were lowering the coffin into the grave, one of the ropes got entangled and tipped the coffin to one side. I will never forget the sound of the body rolling around within that box. He was once a powerful and influential millionaire but now he had nothing. He was just an inert cadaver.

Shortly thereafter, all within four months time, my grandmother and three uncles passed away. I was soon overwhelmed by a sense of uneasiness with death, the brevity of life and the apparent uselessness of whatever we do here on earth. From this time on I experienced first-hand the perishing nature of material things and physical pleasures. I decided not to look for successes that ended with this short life, while realizing that God was who was really important because only God is forever.

A year later I met the Legionaries of Christ and the groups of young people that they direct. To put it briefly I was just plain impressed with their conception of apostolic work as a desire to undertake significant projects for Christ, systematic and organized work, clear objectives, etc. I decided to map out the project which would be my life: become a leader in my field so I could lead people to Christ.

In February of 1990 a Legionary priest invited me to a get-together for those considering the priesthood. I had never really even considered the priesthood but I decided to go anyway. I attended the weekend get-together and went home totally at peace, firmly believing that God was not calling me to be a priest but that my vocation was to marriage following the above-mentioned plan.

However, curiously enough, during this same period of time I began to experience a great interior emptiness. I began to realize that all the things that used to fill me and excite me beforehand no longer could. Those things seemed more and more insignificant. I felt the need for something greater, something that would never end. On the other hand that same year I saw many of my dreams and plans come true. On a human level I was satisfied but ... they didn’t fill me anymore.

I sought to fill my emptiness with parties, good clean fun, but it didn’t work. The sensation of emptiness just got stronger. After a year like this, in January of 1991, I went to a church to “file my complaint” with God about this unending void that I couldn’t satisfy. For an hour I told God that he could ask of me whatever he wanted and I would try to come through, as long as he would take care of this situation. God didn’t tell me anything during that hour but that night when I went to sleep, God responded. I perceived with an inexplicable clarity that God wanted me take part in the summer vocational program. How I came to that conclusion I cannot say but I was certain of it. God had made himself present to my soul.

The temptation to run away from God was not far behind, because I knew that if I went to the summer program there was the possibility that God would ask me to enter the novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ. I sincerely didn’t think that would happen, but being that I had already promised God, I couldn’t go back on my word anyway.

As soon as I said yes to God, the void disappeared; now there was an interior war in its wake: God’s plans or mine. I sought to convince God of the fact that my plans were better than his, that I could get more done following my plans than his.

In the end I went to the candidacy program that summer and later entered the novitiate of the Legion of Christ. As the days passed, it became more and more clear to me that God wanted me as his priest. Now I am a priest and I can categorically say that the best thing I ever did was to follow God’s plans before my own; his will before mine. At the beginning not everything was clear. Little by little, the reasons behind many things have come to light. There is no doubt in my mind that the only way to have assured success is to always follow God’s will.

Father Francisco Aguilar was born on May 13, 1970. He is the oldest of four children. He lived the first seventeen years of his life in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He majored in Industrial Engineering at the Technological Institute of Monterrey, Mexico. In 1991 he entered the novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ in Salamanca, Spain. He studied philosophy at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome, Italy.


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