“An emigrant with the emigrants” – the Rev Noel Diaz, originally from Nicaragua, serves in mission in Zaragoza, Spain.
“To cry with those who cry, laugh with those who laugh, suffer with those who suffer and work with those who work for a new world whose horizon has the face of God…”
A local Spanish newspaper recently asked the Rev Noel Diaz, a Church Mission Society local partner in Zaragoza, about being a priest in this time of pandemic. Here is his answer…
For me, it is being in love…knowing that God has loved me first, has written my name in my personal history with the ink of commitment and vocation.
For me, being a priest is being happy…with the happiness that comes from feeling led by the hand of God the Father who throughout my life has manifested in call, strength, enthusiasm, commitment, hug, love.
For me, being a priest is feeling called by my name, and looking up, contemplating the brother who needs the Gospel to continue interpreting his own story; see who needs my help to continue having hope; work with the community to make the World the Kingdom of God of justice and peace.
For me, being a priest is being poor among the poor, hope among those who have lost it and do not even trust in recovering the light with those who live the dark night of the soul, Gospel for those who have lost the way of life, a breeze for those who are on the path of commitment and hurricane for those who need to take reality from their own conscience.
To be a priest for me is to feel alone in the field of the harvest and yet accompanied by the Owner of the harvest who gives me strength and sustains me.
To be a priest for me is to feel misunderstood and abandoned in the demand and commitment of faith and to find reasons to continue believing, which not even reason itself understands.
To be a priest for me is to close my eyes and see the face of the Living God and open them and continue to see the face of that Living God in the old man, in the battered woman, in someone who lost a loved one in this pandemic, in someone who lost their job, in those who lost hope, in those who look with eyes of hatred or in those who seek only power, money or revenge…open their eyes to the Truth to find the true face of God.
Being a priest for me is an encounter, an encounter with someone who has given me everything and asks me to put at the service of those who have the least. An encounter with someone who has made me participate in the Light to illuminate the darkness. An encounter with love made Care for a world that needs the love and tenderness of a Living God.
To be a priest for me is to be an emigrant with the emigrants, a scholar with those who know the most and ignorant with those who want to learn from simplicity and humility; cry with those who cry, laugh with those who laugh, suffer with those who suffer and work with those who work for a new world whose horizon has the face of God…
But at the end of all this, if you want me to share with you what it really means to me to be a priest…I am speechless. Better come, look at it for yourself and share my life…
And I only ask that God who has given me everything, that you can contemplate his face in my life, in my story and in my walk.