There is no Thanksgiving without Sacrifice

40 hoursOn the First Friday of June 2012, I celebrated my first priestly anniversary. I had only 8 months in my first mission in Canada and I felt obliged to thank God for all the blessings received in such a short time because I was very impressed by the many graces that were poured on souls.

I was also aware that God gives His graces in proportion to the sacrifices of his servants so I couldn’t help but thinking in all those who had made possible the mission through their sacrifices. I thought about  the efforts of the founder, my superiors, formators,… all of them were parading through my head until my mind stopped at one person and the following words sprang up spontaneously: In a very special way I thank my mom …throughout my first year as a priest I’ve been able to prove once again that God has blessed me with this mother and I am convinced that it is thanks to her prayers and generous sacrifice that my ministry has been so fruitful. I know that every time I celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the altar she is there with me offering her life with Mary at the foot of the Cross. I felt that my mother was united in a unique way to my priesthood and its fruits.

It was during that time that I knew that my mom had a deadly cancer that was taking her life day by day in the midst of great suffering.

By God´s grace and the generosity of my superiors I was able to accompany her the last months of her life. The days before her death she constantly offered prayers for vocations. Finally, on the evening of Friday January 18, 2013, she passed away immediately after having celebrated in her presence the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To be exact she died right after I said the words: the Mass is ended go in peace. On that moment she could not answer with her lips but she responded with all her being.

She died surrounded by the prayers of her beloved ones and our Religious Family. That’s why on the day of her funeral I could not help but say … God not only gave her one son priest … but hundreds of priests who are everywhere in the world today offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for her. In Egypt, Greece, Italy, the United States, Spain, Russia, Ecuador, France, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil … there are children who are praying for her, as one friend told me: “in Christ, the Incarnate Word, we are one in prayer for your mother.”

I remember that when she visited me at the seminary in Italy before my ordination to diaconate she said: life here is heaven on earth, echoing the experience of Marcello Morsella and many more of us. I think that on that moment she experienced the joy of God’s answer to her prayers. I realized about this later when I read again the prayer that she shared with me before my ordination:

My Jesus, I offer and consecrate my son to you. Your creative omnipotence gave it to me. My mother’s heart gives it to you. Keep him away from sin, keep him in your grace, look at him with predilection and welcome him, my Jesus, to serve you and one day approach your altars.

Let me suffer for your love; but call my son to follow you, to love you, to become an apostle. Give him thirst for souls; love of the unfaithful peoples and the predilection of your Divine Heart.

That from my arms, where he learned to love you, his Holy Guardian Angel may lead him, priest to your altars … apostle, to the souls … missionary, to the infidels … religious, to the cenacle of your love … holy, to Heaven.

I do not ask you more than this. My Mother, Most Holy Virgin of Good Counsel, guide my children!

This is the reason why I give thanks to God every day, for having prepared me in the heart of my mother to be a priest, religious and missionary of the Incarnate Word and I ask God the grace of not being ungrateful, in other words the grace that I may never forget that behind every Thanksgiving there is a sacrifice!

Fr. Diego Ruiz García-Huidobro IVE

[1] My mother’s name was Magdalena María, Magdalena because she was born the day of St. Mary Magdalene and María because my grandmother was devoted to St. Rafaela María del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, foundress of the religious congregation Esclavas del Sagrado Corazón.

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