Great summer, a time were people can get burned, or like my mom says “Para que te pongas prietito”; in other words, so you can get your skin more burned! It is also a great time for mosquitos; “love them”. And also the best time were all of us show our true smell, of sweat, and God knows what else.
Well, let’s get back to the real thing. I am going to talk about a certain “smell”, but the one that I am referring to is the one that Pope Francis calls “The smell of the Sheep”. This summer I have been assigned to Santo Niño de Atocha, were I am living a close experience with the Pastor here, Father John Telles. It has been a great experience and definitely one that helps me grow; it has barely been a month and I have to say I have learned a lot, and have experienced so much in such a few amount of time. I have gone home tired, but the “good tired”, the one that when you lay down you say, “I enjoyed using my energy serving the Lord”.
Why did I want to use Pope Francis expression of the smell of the sheep? Well, it is because there has been moments were Father John has said, “Did you smell that?” And at first I didn’t really get it until I said, “What?” and he said, “The smell of the sheep.” And at first one can think, “What smell?”, or one can say, “Did you see that? Did you sense it? Did you feel it? Did you see their eyes in need of Christ? Did you see how we brought them Christ? Did you sense that we brought them hope, comfort, we brought them Christ? Did you feel that? We brought them joy.”
The smell of the sheep, I have to admit I do not mind the smell of the sheep. Being with the people has been a great blessing: using what you know and what you have learned and being able to put that into practice is really beautiful, and so fruitful for the person and for yourself. I cannot say I had all the answers, but what I always had when I was among them was a heart to serve and help them. And for them that is enough. And with the help of Christ and the Virgin Mary I have been able to do good. Being in charge of 24 teens has been great, or maybe should I say my 24 sheep, that I hope one day they won’t be afraid to be among wolves. Serving in Mass and being able to live the sacraments is very beautiful. And seeing my vocation in action is really inspiring. With this heat, I have to say it is hard not to have some sweat in your shirt or forehead; or maybe, just maybe, a little smell. But at least when I have to wash my clothes I can say, “Oh yes, I have the smell of my sheep”, or even, “Yes, I gave my all, I put love into my work, and because of that I have this joy in my heart, that only the feeling can praise God because words alone are just so simple to express it.” I still have another four weeks to go, and in these four weeks I definitely do not want to let a day pass by without having ” The smell of the sheep.” Keep on having my brother seminarians in your prayers, and myself if possible. Thank you, and God bless you!