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Be Like Him? Never!
INTERNATIONAL | WHO WE ARE | TESTIMONIES
Father José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich, LC (Mexico)

P. José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich , L.C.
Fr. José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich , LC

I watched her with big eyes and her words resounded in my mind: “If someone dies in mortal sin, he cannot go to heaven.” Troubled, I thought: “But if you are murdered and you did not want to die… It’s not fair!! It’s not fair that because of someone else’s fault you cannot go to heaven. Besides, God cannot be so unjust.”

My uncle had died murdered
Some weeks before, my beloved uncle had died, murdered. I could not stop thinking about him. Almost involuntarily I raised my hand. Mother Marú, who taught us the Catechism class in preparation for the First Communion, listened carefully to my question and answered, “Throughout your life, God gives you opportunities to come closer to him; so that when the moment of death comes you are in the state of grace and can go to heaven.”

“But, if you did not want to die, and you get killed?” – I needed to be sure that my uncle had gone to heaven.

“Normally, nobody wants to die,” she went ahead, “that is why we have to be ready for it when the moment comes; and a way to be ready is to go frequently to confession.”

“But,” I charged again, “what if you could not go to confession because you could not find a priest?”

“That is why it is necessary that there be more priests.”

(Boom) That fell like a torpedo that would “explode” years later. After some weeks, on May 26th, 1986, I received Christ into my heart for the very first time. From that moment on, and with the help of my parents, I began to cultivate a true and intimate friendship with Christ.

Elementary school continued. In general, I was not doing badly in my studies. I wasn’t a straight A student, but I had a lot of trust in the memory God had given me. A few reviews were enough to quickly memorize the questionnaires, tell the answers to my mom and go out to play soccer or volleyball with my friends. Besides, there was always something more interesting than studies.

On Saturdays I had an appointment which I would rarely miss, not even when Mexico played in the semifinals against Germany in the 1986 world cup. With Group 9 of Scouts in Puebla, I lived unforgettable moments: national camps, countryside and city rallies, local camps, and works of mercy, such as visits to orphages.

 During vacations, we would go to the ranch to ride horses, chase sheep, get wet in the water springs, shoot sling-shots or rifle shots, eat roasted corn with the workers, get up at 5:15 in the mornings, and accompany the cowboys to learn to milk the cows, with our bare hands, not with a machine.

The dreaded gang of my cousins
The summer of 1988 arrived. The dreaded gang of cousins would meet in the Mexico City. We had a lot of fun together: baseball, hours of bike riding, entire mornings riding toboggans, videogames, movies, table games…

All of a sudden, we got
P. José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich , L.C.
a call from my house. My uncle, my father’s older brother, was celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and his son, a Legionary of Christ, would come from Brazil to visit us. For me it meant interrupting my vacation to return home for a family reunion and I did not like the idea one bit.

After some scoldings, I arrived back in Puebla. The anniversary Mass for aunt and uncle was about to begin, but my attire was not the most adequate. I had to go home to change my clothes. When we arrived at church, the Mass had already begun. My cousin read the second reading; seven years had gone by since I last saw him. It was amazing to see him up there dressed as a religious. When the Mass ended I left the church to see my cousins. We began to play while the adults greeted and congratulated each other.

My mom greeted Father Enrique Vizcaíno, a Legionary of Christ. This same summer some of my other cousins spent the summer discerning their vocation to the priesthood. As a little joke, my mom asked Father Vizcaíno if he thought of stealing all the cousins in the family. He responded that not all but the next one he thought of inviting to get to know the minor seminary was me. At this very moment I was passing by and my mom grabbed me by the arm and asked: “Did you hear what the father said?”

“No.”

Father Enrique repeated his comment.

“You are making a mistake by inviting me. I am not crazy like my cousins,” I said.

The priest looked hard at me. Out of nervousness, I laughed, but the conversation ended there. Later dinner began, then the time with my cousins, the party, and the dancing. Everything seemed to be forgotten, but God had planted the seed. As a matter of fact, while returning home in the car, all my brothers and sisters were asleep and my parents were in the front speaking in a low tone. In this silence, I heard the voice of God: “What if God was calling me to be a priest?” I could not accept, and I felt restless about this possibility. I had many dreams which I was not ready to give up, many friends that I did not want to leave, and above all the dream of who my future girlfriend would be… when would she come? Who would she be? It was not possible that God had other plans for me.

Something that never ends
In that moment, my mother, with the intuition that God grants all moms, said, “I noticed you were a little strange tonight.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing… I think I’m tired from the trip and vacation.”

“Or did Father Enrique shake you up a bit?”

“No way! I told the priest that I’m not crazy.”

With jokes and laughter, the comment, which I did not like one bit, was forgotten. The following days I saw my cousin a few times. It was unavoidable. Each time I saw him, the thought occurred, “Can I be like him?” Almost automatically the answer came, “No way!” From this moment on an interior resistance was let loose. Consciously or unconsciously I perceived that the moments I was alone and in silence caused uneasiness. I tried to distract myself with the telephone, music, going out with friends, sports, scouts, parties, vacations, camps, and trips. But each time I returned from a party or a trip, I experienced a strange sensation. The moments that caused the most excitement ended and afterward left me with a nostalgic feeling, as if there was an emptiness in my heart.

At the same time that I enjoyed everything, I felt that I needed something that would never end. This is what God wanted to give me with the gift of the vocation. For this reason God was winning the duel in just a few months. One Sunday during Mass with the scouts, a Guadalupan Missionary spoke with us about the missions in Africa and invited us to join in these missions. I thought of the adventure of traveling to Africa, and after Mass I went to speak with him. He told me I was too little to enter the seminary but I told him I did not want to go the seminary. I wanted to go on the missions. He suggested I finish high school and then I could go on missions. But God was in a hurry.

I wanted to give God a week
A few days later my cousin invited me to an ECYD club, youth groups that the Legionaries oversee. I did not know what it was but he assured me that I would have a good time. I went along. On one occasion I mentioned to Father Jesús Sánchez my desire to visit the minor seminary of the Legion of Christ but that it was difficult to leave my friends and companions. Father Miguel Romeo, who accompanied Father Jesús, told me that I would find many more friends. I did not believe him because for me friends were irreplaceable. Years later I would realize that God not only gave me more friends but many good Legionary friends and brothers.
I did not enter the seminary until the summer of 1989. I found an environment of happiness and friendship. Everybody was disposed to help and at any moment. I experienced a great peace. It was as if the machine which during the past few months had been grinding suddenly clicked and began to work perfectly. But I had gone with the intention of giving Christ a week of my life to quiet my conscience.

One night I looked for Father Carlos García and told him I wanted to return home; I had fulfilled my promise of staying for a week. The week had passed and I was going home. We did not speak long. Father Carlos simply told me, “José Ignacio, I do not think that you are that stingy with God to tell him that you did not discover that He is calling you.” In that moment I caved in. It was true, I did not want to be generous. I went to my room, put on my pajamas, and threw myself on the bed with my hands under my head.

When I finished high school in the minor seminary we have in Mexico City I entered the novitiate and received the uniform of a Legionary. The two years of novitiate I did in Ireland and in this period I began to love Christ more in the Eucharist and waited anxiously for the day when I could consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass. From there I went to Salamanca, Spain to study two years of classical humanities. Then I went to Rome to begin a bachelor’s in Philosophy. But after only one year I went to Leon, Mexico to help in the formation of the minor seminarians. They were young men just as I had been, who received the call of God at an early age. After four years I returned to Rome in 2002 and there finished my bachelor’s and license degree in Philosophy and a bachelor’s degree in Theology.

Mary
This is the story of my vocation; I have told it from my point of view as I lived the different circumstances. As time has passed I have come to better understand why God has called me. One day my mom told me that at the beginning of her marriage she had difficulties having babies. She entrusted her situation to Mary and promised that if God gave her a son, he would be for her. Mary fulfilled her promise and took my mother at her word.

Nineteen years have passed since the road to the priesthood began and they have been full of happiness. Sure, there have been moments of maturing and difficulties, but Mary, without my realizing it, has always protected me with her mantle. If God allowed me to choose again the path I would take in life, with my eyes closed and without a doubt I would choose this one. I know that with priestly ordination I will be more united than ever to Christ crucified. The two dreams, so united to the seed of the vocation that God planted, cultivated, and made grow in my heart will become a reality: the power to confess in his name and give peace to souls in tribulation because of sin, and the power to consecrate the bread and wine so they become the Body and Blood of Christ.

Father José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich was born on February 5, 1977. He is the oldest of three. Juan Carlos and Margarita are his brother and sister. He entered the minor seminary in the summer of 1989. He did his novitiate in Dublin, Ireland. He studied classical humanities in Salamanca, Spain. His has license in Philosophy and Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome. He was a member of the team of superiors in the minor seminary in Leon, Mexico run by the Legion of Christ. Presently he works pastorally with youth in Merida, Mexico.

 

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


PUBLICATION DATE: 2008-12-20


 
 


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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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