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Turn to Jesus (Article)

There I Found Peace, Happiness and God
Father Klaus Einsle, LC, shares his experiences drawing closer to Christ.

P. Klaus Einsle
Father Klaus Einsle, LC, is currently directing youth groups throughout Germany.
I was born in a small town of farmers and craftsmen in the southern German province of Bavaria, an area of great natural beauty. I was surrounded by green pastures, majestic mountains, rolling hills, deep forests and all sorts of animals.

A Farmer´s Family

I grew up in a very simple family with four brothers. Mass, evening prayer led by my mom, daily rosary during the month of October, month of the rosary, these were all very normal for me, just part of the family traditions. I was always outside playing soccer with my friends in the fields. Whenever we got tired we would take a seat in a tree and enjoy ourselves eating apples, plums and cherries. Winter equaled skiing and ski I did every day there was snow. We had a ski lift right in the middle of town so ever since I was three years old, when I got my first pair of skis, off to the slopes we would go. I would always go with a group of friends because skiing alone is boring. At night we would arrive home, go straight to the fireplace and complain about how cold our fingers were. But five minutes later we would be warmed up and the next day we would be right back out there on the slopes.

That was my life: sports, friends and school. When I was eight years old I began playing my first instrument. I wanted to play the trombone but my hands were too small, so I took up the French horn. From then on music became another one of my life´s passions. Music, sports, friends and somewhere in the background, but still there, God.

A Passion for Music

My music teacher thought I was pretty talented so between my experiences in the town band and music classes an idea popped into my head: why not be a professional musician? And so it was. At fifteen I began trombone lessons at the Bregenz Conservatory in Austria, a well-known music school on the lake of Constanza. I was captivated and it opened up so many new doors in my life. I met students from the United States, France, Liechtenstein ... and was able to travel to Denmark and all over Germany and Austria.

Around this time I also fell in love with a girl from my hometown. This was a very happy time in my life, full of new experiences, the joy of living for another person, striving to make her happy, and not looking looking only to receive but to give as well. I was seventeen years old.

God´s First Sign: Military Service

It wasn´t long before I had to do my time in the military. I was fortunate enough to form part of one of the few musical bands in the German army, the Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The band had about seventy members but there were between eight and ten "special ones". This little group talked about the Bible and discussed other matters of faith and the Church. They sparked an interest within me so I bought a Bible and began to read and question it. One day Marco, one of the "specials", says to me: "Klaus, I don´t know what to tell you but I have a friend who is studying theology and maybe he can answer your questions better than I can." This other friend´s name was Ricardo. We went to chat with him and he really impressed me. He was very sincere an truly self-less. He wasn´t out to convince me but to help me. If he didn´t know how to answer something he would just simply say that he didn´t know but that he would find out for me.

A few times, before we would start chatting, he would invite me to pray so that God would enlighten us. I had never prayed to ask the Holy Spirit´s help before. I was used to simple "intellectual acrobatics", which too often was empty discussion. In this friend I found what I had always thought a true Christian should be: a person who is joyful yet serious, kind, happy and with a magnanimous heart. I later met Ricardo´s friends and they were just like him: open and joyful; convinced believers. They had something that I had been searching for. I felt really at home around them.

I finished my military service and began to attend the "specials" meetings more often. Every month they got together to have day of catechesis, prayer and fellowship. There I found peace, happiness and God amongst those Christians and we learned a great deal about our Catholic faith.

The Blessed Virgin, My Good Mother

I was invited to join them on a Marian pilgrimage. Together with my girlfriend, her younger sister and 130 other young people we took the trip in three buses. Our
P. Klaus Einsle
Father Klaus on the day of his ordination.
destination was a small town lost in the mountains amidst rocks and dryness; yet it was as if the mere air had something special about that place. Peace, peace, pure peace. Everything was very modest, almost no vegetation, a few cows that were more bone than anything else, old and small houses and a church. Unfortunately I can´t tell you all of the wonderful experiences of those eight days: the liturgy, the prayers in seven or eight languages, from punks to pious believers, fervent Catholics to non-believers and a lot of peace!

On the last night a group of about thirty of us decided to climb a nearby mountain and stay there for the night. We arrived to the top at midnight singing, talking, praying ... Little by little everyone began to fall asleep except for me. I couldn´t fall asleep. I just sat there contemplating till about four in the morning. A few roosters began to crow, a light in the town below came on, then another, a third, the first ray of sunlight ... A new day! This thought was firmly etched in my soul: a new day, a gift from God. What would I do with this gift, this brand new day? And what have I done with the rest of the days I had already received. Each one, a gift from God."

I started adding them up: I was twenty years, eight months and twenty days old, which comes to 7,300 days, each day a gift from God for me. And what I had done with these 7,300 days? I joined my hands together in an effort to show God everything I had done for him but a great sadness entered my heart upon realizing that just about the only thing I had done thus far was think about myself.

Uproot the Love of My Heart

I visited that sanctuary a number of times. Those experiences and the opportunity to be with such a wonderful group of young people truly changed my life. I began to pray and go to Mass every day; but my girlfriend had other interests. We loved each other a lot but we knew that little by little we were drifting apart. We had to go our separate ways. That was so hard! I felt an enormous pain in my heart and yet an enormous peace. Pain from having to break with a beautiful friendship that had been a part of my life for so long and peace because I could finally pursue an impulse that I had felt in my heart for some time: live totally for God and become a priest.

I later went on a retreat with an Irish priest who spoke about Christ like I had never heard before. It was as if he knew Jesus personally. He made Jesus so alive the way he spoke of him! After one of his talks, he asked me, half-joking and half-serious, "Would you like to be a priest?" I said yes. This was how I met Father Eamon Kelly from the Legionaries of Christ.

Finding Happiness Following Christ

He invited me to learn more about the Legion of Christ. Why not go to Italy and spend a few days with the Legionaries on vacation near Naples? It wasn´t a bad idea: ten days, the sea, the sun and meet some seminarians. It was one of the most beautiful weeks of my life. There were about 100 religious there and all of them were young. After a night of little shut-eye, we went to the sea the next day. 100 young men enjoying the water, laughing, diving, playing sports ... What an amazing day. My whole time there was unforgettable.

A year later I visited Italy again with another Catholic group. I went to see the Legionaries again because I wanted to see a few of the friends I had spent that wonderful week with. They had just built a new seminary because they didn´t fit in the old one. They gave me a tour: chapel, computer room, library, soccer fields and basketball courts, the bedrooms. Later in the afternoon we went to the chapel to pray the rosary with the whole community. 300 young men praying the rosary together all excited about becoming priests. We finished the rosary and when everyone was leaving I realized in my heart with absolute clarity that God wanted me to be a Legionary priest. It was something that I had never experienced before. But there it was and I couldn´t just forget about it. I saw it plain as day.


When I returned to Germany I spoke with Father Eamon about entering the Novitiate in Germany. I traveled to the United States for the candidacy and there I spent two months with sixty other young men who also wanted to be Legionary priests. Again I experienced the joy and serenity of living close to Christ. I was totally certain about my vocation, in other words, bingo!

It isn´t easy to describe in a few lines the fullness that one experiences following Christ. I can only say from personal experience that what Jesus promised Peter was 100% true:

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life"(Mt 19, 29).

Father Klaus Einsle, LC, is from Grünenbach, Bavaria, (Germany). After completing his degree in music, he entered the Legion of Christ in July of 1992. He studied classical humanities in Salamanca, Spain, and completed a licentiate in philosophy and a bachelors degree in Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He was ordained a priest on January 2, 2001. He is currently directing youth groups throughout Germany.

(August 19, 2003)



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