Reviewing my spiritual diary from when I was a Legionary I came upon a passage where I was meditating on the Letters of Nuestro Padre, the Legion Founder, Fr. Maciel's, Letters to his disciples...volumes of which were treasured by us Legionaries of that time...
I opened the first volume that day many years ago, before I left the Legion, before I knew of Fr. Maciel's abuse of seminarians, about his secret life and before I lost my respect for him...
and I found a letter he had sent to his mother, Maura, when he was 19 years of age
Full of passionate expressions of love for Christ, it made my efforts appears feeble and half hearted
Fr. Maciel’s saint’s day, onomastico, St. Martial
My reflections from 1980 on reading his letter #1, November 8th, 1939 to his mother, Sra. Maura Degollado de Maciel, where he talks about his call to the priesthood.
Why did I accept the call to the priesthood?
To do something for Christ who did so much for me. “Most give from what they have left over. Few gives from what they need.”
I also wanted to do something for others, for the less fortunate; this meant forgetting self and renouncing those simple pleasures of job, position, sport, hobbies, girls, wife, children…
It did not seem particularly dramatic at that moment. I felt exceptionally free. I thought it was the right thing to do. The other way was all right. I believed this was BETTER.
I still believe the best way of doing something for Christ and helping others is renouncing those “securities” for the adventure of the priesthood.
Nuestro Padre is around the same age when he writes to his mother.
-He talks about wanting to be a saint. This would never have occurred to me. I wanted to be a missionary. I did not think I would have to be a “saint”.
-His desires are expressed in much more poetic, passionate terms…
-He wants to “save many souls” Me: help other people
“That I love God so much…” Me: do something for Him.
“Seek only sacrifice to prove my love for him.” I would accept sacrifice but I would not go looking for it!
“I want to transform myself into Christ.” I never thought of that; at that time. Maybe it came later.
“To rest in him to hear his heartbeats of love”. Much too romantic for my liking.
His mindset is far above mine; probably a lot more mature from a developmental point of view; and certainly, a lot more spiritual.
He seems to desire a tremendously intense interpersonal relationship with Jesus.
Did he ever love a woman, besides his mother and sisters?
Did he ever “fall in love”?
Or did he simple consider these loves betrayals of his love for Christ,
as stains on a heart that was destined to love Jesus with that total and exclusive love? > >
My God, what a different impression in hindsight!