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Turn to Jesus (Article)

A Simple, Natural Call
Vocational Testimony of Fr. Francisco Cruz, LC

Testimonio vocacional del P. Francisco Cruz L.C.
Fr. Francisco Cruz L.C.
The moment when I perceived God’s call for the first time was a watershed in my life. Everything started with an innocent comment from a friend. While we were talking about a young men’s retreat I had attended, she said half-jokingly: “If you keep going like that, you’ll end up becoming a priest…” For me, that comment “clicked” and from then on, I gradually began to perceive the possibility that God could be calling me to be a priest.

A Gentle Voice
The possibility that God could be calling me seemed very natural to me. Why not? I had no idea whether I had a vocation or not, but I was sure that God deserved my giving him the chance to talk to me and let me know his will for me, and that I couldn’t remain with the question unanswered. In my interior, the question came up again and again: “And what if God is calling me?” Gradually, it got more specific and clear, to the point that it became an interior voice, God’s voice, constantly inviting me: “Do you want to…?”

My first steps were full of light, joy, and generosity with God. I wasn’t sure if God was calling me; I just wanted to be 100% generous with him. He had given me everything and was giving meaning to my life. I got to know the Legion of Christ and attended a vocational get-together in the Monterrey novitiate, which was decisive for me to discover my specific call to be a Legionary priest. I met young men who had opted for Christ, and seeing them so happy and surrendered to God in an atmosphere of so much charity and prayer was decisive for me. Now I just had to take the step.

The Reality of Sacrifice
And this
Testimonio vocacional del P. Francisco Cruz L.C.
step wasn’t easy at all. Little by little, I started to see the implications of opting for Christ: giving my life for others, leaving my family and my own land to follow him, setting aside my own plans of forming a family, of fulfilling myself in a career… Christ was holding out his hand to me, inviting me to follow him as his intimate friend, and at the same time, I was vividly experiencing the rupture that it would imply to leave everything for him. Although my family didn’t find it easy to understand my vocation at first, they supported me at all times when they saw me happy and ready to give God this opportunity. I know that for them too it was a big detachment, but they always supported me by putting my happiness ahead of everything.

It was a time of big decisions, of triumphs and failures, in which Christ was always very close to me and never left my side, not even for an instant. The close guide of the vocational road team, constant prayer, and above all, the sacraments were the means by which God granted me the grace to persevere in the battle to surrender myself to him.

After the summer candidacy program, I entered the novitiate in 1995, full of enthusiasm to give myself to Christ and follow his call. I thought it was a done deal now that I had opted for the path of priesthood in the Legion. Nevertheless, that important step was only the beginning: I had my whole life in front of me and years of preparation before ordination. In my new Legionary family, I found all the support and help I needed to give myself to Christ; even more, God himself was sustaining me and molding me through my superiors and the example of all the other priests and brothers.

To Be God’s Presence in the World
Now that I have the opportunity to look back, I realize that it is an enormous grace that God has wanted to associate my life to his salvation history. My priestly ordination begins a very special stage of this call that began in such a simple and natural way. In this path, it has been a great help to get to know so many other men and women who have heard the same call from Christ to follow him. In a very particular way, the priestly testimony of John Paul II has marked me, as well as that of our current Pope Benedict XVI and of Nuestro Padre, our founder. In them, I have been able to see the fruits and the deep happiness of a life that is given without limits to Christ.

My own story and those of many others whom I have had the chance to know firsthand has taught me that God continues knocking on many hearts, because his love for men is just as infinite as always. He still wants to feel the need of men and women who will give their lives and be his presence in today’s world.

Father Francisco Cruz was born on March 17, 1976 in the diocese of León, Guanajuato, México. After entering the Legion of Christ in September of 1995, he received his priestly formation in Mexico, Spain, and Italy. During his apostolic internship, he worked in the formation of Legionaries in Salamanca and Madrid, Spain. He is currently earning his licentiate in theology from the John Paul II Institute and is part of the directive team of the Maria Mater Ecclesiae Priests’ Center in Rome.



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