From the Seminar: Brothers, also in pain

By: seminarian Rafael Cruz Dévora  

Seminario de La Habana

It all started with a phone call. I was passing through the Holy Angel Custodian because it corresponded to Wednesday afternoon off. Because of the clouds, it could be sensed that it was about to rain, everything was gray. Rumors of those previous calls on the journey to Havana had clouded the atmosphere. However, no one assumed they would report such an unexpected ending. I got out of the bus at the tunnel exit stop. I advanced to Chacón Street, went up to Compostela and from there to the angel’s hill. During the tour I remembered the situation, but I calmed down with a simple “shouldn’t be anything serious.” I ascended the steps that give way to the side terrace of the parish and next to the priest, the sacristan and a good cup of coffee we sat down to chat in the armchairs of the living room. Once put on the subject, the downpour was no longer kept waiting and breaking gravity began to bathe old Havana.
The memory that some brothers had been left on their way nearby and had nowhere to shelter motivated me to send some messages to provide custody in the Angel’s house, wherever we are in passing, seminarians are always well received. Just a few minutes later I got a call, without taking the cell phone out of my pocket I approached the gate. Great surprise caused me, as I peeked out, the absence of my brothers, while the cell phone kept ringing in my pocket. I came back indoors, and when I answered I heard the bewildering news. The first of my reactions was not to react, I was completely stunned and for a few seconds I thought I heard wrong. Then, like when you play dumb waiting for the speech to change, I asked what did you say, but this time the answer was the same. Those words drilled my soul and heart in a single instant. He concluded by saying, “We’re on our way, we can do nothing but go with him, what are you going to do?”
The final question of the call sounded to me that shot that starts the race of a velodrome, so that at full speed I picked up the backpack from the back of the armchair, said goodbye and ran out. I wasn’t camping yet, but the water was less intense. I went down to find two brothers who were in the Archbishopric, but as I turned down Havana Street I could see that they were taking me about three blocks away, so I accelerated the pace until I managed to reach them.
The bitterness of the message did not allow us to reason well, at one point we did not know what to do to get to the National Terminal. The mobiles kept ringing with calls and messages, some wanted to warn and others confirm their doubts about the event. Finally, we arrived at the packed terminal. A seminarian came out to meet us, brought us up to know the situation and led us to where he was. His eyes lost in the pain of a broken heart kept repeating that they did not believe what was happening. While his face, dissatisfied by the course of events, he thanked his brothers in the faith for the sad news that, hundreds of miles from the Seminary, in the hospital of his municipality and suddenly, his mother had died. Who’s ready for this moment, when you don’t even expect it?
Those hours beside him were much more significant to me than the rest of the five years shared throughout the priestly formation. There, at the foot of the suffering of a son who loses his mother, all past roughness was polished and his heart widened by the grace of the Holy Spirit that unifies us in Christ Jesus. I felt a lot of pain, perhaps as if it were for my own mother, and it is that the mother had passed away not from a stranger or a simple companion on the way, but from a brother. With the help of Divine Providence, the bus left for its province shortly after four o’clock in the afternoon. He didn’t leave alone, another seminarian left with him to accompany him for the next few days.
This has been one of the most significant experiences I have as a seminarian. It helped me to network-cover how great God’s family, our Father, of the Church, and how every moment of the seminary is to become a space of its own to foster that desire of the Lord that we may be one family for his glory. A true place where relations between brothers are written not in stone boards but in hearts of flesh, not in ink but with the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor 3.3). I learned that God deprograms us, changes our plans, does unpredictable things, and that while we don’t always understand them, they’re for us. Today we believe and trust that the mother of this brother of ours rests in the peace of Christ and from there prays for us and with us. Ω

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