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Turn to Jesus (Article)

The Fire of God’s Love
Fr Aaron Smith, LC (United States)

P. Aaron Smith, L.C.
P. Aaron Smith, L.C.

My life began in Forest Lake, a small town in the Minnesota. My father, a Catholic, taught classical guitar, and it was thanks to him that I was brought up in the Faith. My mother, a Methodist, worked as a night receptionist in the emergency room of a hospital. She always gave us a great example of love and courage, as she would get up after having slept only a few hours, so as to take care of my brother and me when we arrived from school.

The Faith in My Family

God’s plan for my family started to show itself with greater clarity when my father made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. After he came back, he began to pray the Rosary and go to Mass every day at a parish close to his workplace. In the morning, we would see him in his room on his knees praying before his bed. My mother was impressed by this change, since he not only prayed but also started to spend more time with the family. I think that the joy my father showed in living the Faith was essential for the change that was about to take place in our family.

God’s grace shined first of all on my mother, who became Catholic two years later. My brother, Jason, after entering a prayer group next decided to take a trip to Medjugorje. When he returned, he sat the family down and told us he wanted to become a priest. That same summer he attended a Test Your Call retreat with the Legionaries of Christ and decided to enter the seminary. Last of all, God touched my life when I went to visit my brother at the seminary. I had felt the call to become a priest a few years before, but as I arrived the call became stronger. I was impressed by the charity and prayer, as well as all of the fun activities during my time there. Nonetheless, I resisted and decided to go back home to be with my friends and leave the “vocation thing” for later, since I was only fourteen.

Why Me?

God was
P. Aaron Smith, L.C.
not satisfied with my decision. When the Lord calls, he does not waver before difficulties. I filled my life with activities, such as sports, debates, and parties. My friends and I played in a basketball league on Sunday afternoons. During one of the games we were losing, and so, trying to remedy the situation, I faked and then went up to shoot. My defender, who had jumped earlier, came down, and his elbow hit me right in the nose. I fell to the ground, bleeding all over. As I got up I was surprised to see how my friends continued to play on another court. “Why me? Why does this have to happen to me? Why does God have to call me?” The questions seemed to flood into my mind. My father took me to the hospital, where the doctor said that I had a double fracture and would have to have an operation.

A couple of days later, I found myself on the hospital bed with the nurses giving me anesthesia. My mother was at my side, and I felt the urgency to tell her what was going on inside. I chose the moment when the nurses were gone, turned my head, and said, “Mom, I am called to be a priest with the Legionaries of Christ, and I want to follow my vocation.” “Alright, alright, be calm,” came her reply. “We will talk about this after the operation when you are feeling better.” The nurses quickly appeared to bring me out for the operation. Afterwards, when they brought me back, they were laughing as they told my mom about the “crazy things” I had said. “Those drugs really had an effect on him, ma’am. The whole operation he was saying, ‘I have a vocation. I want to be a priest.’”

The next day at breakfast my mom asked me, with a curious look on her face, “Do you remember what you said before you went in for the operation?” I looked confidently into her eyes and said, “Yes, Mom, I am called to be a priest. I want to follow my vocation.” She understood then that it was no bout of craziness. I started to go to Eucharistic adoration a half an hour a week after school at my home parish, St. Peter. I also started to pray the Rosary every day. This helped me to mature in my answer to God’s call and to have the strength to follow it.

The next year, I entered the high-school seminary, and one year later, the novitiate. Now, looking back fifteen years later, I cannot help but reflect on the merciful love and patience that God has showed towards me. He has always been with me every step along the way. Only the fire of his love was capable of burning the ropes that held me fast to my own will, so as to later make me fully happy following him. In the midst of the Cross, and when temptations assail me, I strive to remember to lift up my head, look him in the eyes and remember his loving call, this call that says “Come and follow me.”

FR AARON MICHAEL SMITH was born in Forest Lake, Minnesota, on October 11, 1978. He entered the Legionaries of Christ high-school seminary, then located in Cheshire, Connecticut, in 1995, one year after his brother, Fr Jason Smith, LC. He spent his two years of novitiate in Germany, and his year of humanities studies in Salamanca, Spain. For five years, he did youth work in Chile, and he obtained a licentiate in philosophy and a bachelors degree in theology from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome. He is currently studying for a licentiate in theology, and does youth work in Florence, Italy.

The vocation stories of the Legionaries of Christ who were ordained in 2010 have been published in the book "From the Heart of Christ."



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