Authored by Br. Rafael Solorio, OMV
“Lord, extolled in the heights by angelic powers, you are also praised by all earth’s creatures, each in its own way. With all the splendor of heavenly worship, you still delight in such tokens of love as earth can offer. May heaven and earth together acclaim you as king; may the praise that is sung in heaven resound in the heart of every creature on earth” (Psalm-Prayer from the Feast of the Guardian Angels—Divine Office, MP).
Rafael, רפאל in Hebrew, means God has healed. And so I began my personal Christian history with a Judeo-Christian name that has attached to it so much of God’s goodness and mercy. Today, our world cries out for such goodness and mercy. Where do we go for it? How do we obtain it? Is it real? Hear and understand! There is only One Source, GOD in Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yes!!! These are also the creative words spoken by a priest when a human person is baptized, and while pouring water on the person’s head, he says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Now, the effect of such Sacrament is life and healing because God is Life, God is Good, God is Mercy. Salvation has entered into our human history because “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1, 14). In the Gospel of Matthew, Our Lord tells the disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28: 19).
This past summer I was so blessed to travel to so many places and witnessed to the power of Jesus’s words to His disciples to make disciples of all nations. I started by visiting my own little town in the mid-west part of Mexico where I was born both to my natural and supernatural life in the waters of baptism. I saw once again the baptismal font where I was baptized, and it gave me such a great joy that this is the place where my heavenly Father adopted me as His son and gave me the abundant life of the Spirit, His Life in Jesus Christ in whom He is well pleased.
My next stop was Alton, a small town in the Midwest state of Illinois. I lived there for two months, and I enjoyed every bit of it. What brings to my heart more rejoicing is every brother and sister that I met, and that I got to know a little more. Welcomed and loved are the words that best describes my experience in Alton and St. Mary’s. I hope to be a better person because I met a brother and a sister who loves Christ and neighbor, and they witnessed to it. My heart is full of gratitude for their kindness and generosity.
I then travel to Italy, and once again, I was enchanted by its beauty, culture, language, history, religious art, food and its people! I visited many places in Italy, starting in Rome, then Pisa, Venice, Milan, Turin, Pinerolo, Assisi, and back to Rome. The life of countless witnesses to the Christian Faith are written in the various places that I visited with their own personal histories. These are apostles, martyrs, monks, virgins, holy women and men, artists and many, many more. Nowhere in the world exists a more concrete example of what the Christian faith can do. Human lives are forever changed because of God’s grace in the sacrament of baptism and the rest of the sacraments. This is where it all begins for Christians, a marvelous pilgrimage in Faith, Hope and Love toward our heavenly home, toward the vision of Love, the most Holy Trinity.
Back to Boston to my third year of theology and sixth year of formation as an Oblate of the Virgin Mary, I recently professed my third year of temporal vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. I cherish very much my religious consecration as a deepening of my Christian life originated in my baptism.
Praise be to you Father! Praise be to you Father! Praise be to you Father! This is my theme! This is my song, the song that resounds in the inner chambers of my heart! My King and my God!