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Mark Anthony HernándezMaking an Investment in Living the Gospel

Mark Anthony Hernández was making a name for himself in the investment banking field.  He had a good job and a nice paycheck.  He had been selected for an exclusive program dedicated to training future leaders in the banking industry.  His mentor at the time even told him: “You may not understand fully now, but the stars have aligned in such a way to make this possible. Many of us here are working in the minor leagues of banking, but you are going to the major leagues of banking.”

Six months into this new position, Mark began to realize the investment that really mattered was not in his career, it was an investment in living the gospel.  He asked God one night, “God this is the work I believe you are calling me to do, but perhaps I am blinded by my own desires to grow successful and rich.  Please give me a sign that this is not the place where you are calling me to spend my life.”

Shortly after this plea with God, Mark was inspired to open his Bible.  He opened to Haggai Chapter 1 and read: “On the second year of the sixth month God spoke to His people.”  Mark recalls pausing as he was in the second year of his banking career, and he had held this new position for six months already.  He told God, “Lord whatever it is You want to speak next, allow it to really touch me, please let it speak Truth.”

As he continued reading he was touched by the words: “You have worked long hours, yet you have borne little fruit. You have attempted to carry your money bag home, but it is filled with holes. Your house is well built, while my house is in ruins.  Reflect on your experiences; you have told yourself that the time has not yet come to help build the house of the Lord, but I tell you the time is now.”

These words struck Mark like a lightning bolt.  He broke down in tears at the realization that his true calling was not in the field of banking.  At that time a seed was planted within Mark’s heart, a seed that would push Mark to invest his time, energies and entire life to help rebuild God’s Church and to bring the talents God has given him to the service of God’s people.  Mark then took a giant leap of faith; he resigned from his comfortable job in order to deepen in his relationship with God.

With his newfound passion to serve God, Mark turned to the Missionary Oblates.  He had been part of the Oblate family from an early age.  He received his first few Sacraments in an Oblate parish in Eagle Pass, Texas.  Oblate Fr. Richard Guerra presided at Mark’s First Communion and remembers a child who was very serious, maybe even too serious.  It took all of Fr. Richard’s unique sense of humor just to get Mark to smile for a photo.

Growing up in a family of migrant workers, Mark’s family would travel from Texas to Wisconsin and Montana during the summer months to work in the fields as laborers.  His mother became a high school teacher for people with special needs and his father became an Assistant Supervisor for the Texas Department of Transportation.

As a student at Texas A&M Mark encountered many more Oblates.  These Oblates left lasting impressions on Mark as they gave him advice, encouraged him and walked with him on his journey.  During his transition from banking to exploring religious life, Mark remembered these relationships and was reminded that his roots in the Oblate family go deep and are part of his life story.

Father Roberto Peña, O.M.I. who recently turned 95 years old, was deeply influential to Mark.  The role he played in Mark’s life was that of a grandfather.  Mark’s grandfathers passed away before he was born, and he always longed for a grandfather.  During his time in college Mark’s mother would invite Fr. Peña to Eagle Pass to come celebrate special occasions.  He saw Fr. Peña as a man of joy and a person that spoke out on behalf of the voiceless.

These experiences brought Mark to the realization that God had been sending him gifted and talented spiritual companions on his journey.  It was God that opened Mark’s eyes to see that it was not him that would choose his spiritual community, but it was God that had been weaving his story alongside the stories of influential Oblates.

Mark recently finished discerning his calling at the Oblate novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois.  He is encouraged by his experiences.  Even though he still finds himself serious when learning about God and the faith, Mark is overjoyed at the invitation to follow Christ and no longer needs to think twice about smiling when striving to show others the love of Christ, and the love God has shown him.

 

Invirtiendo en Vivir el Evangelio

Mark Anthony Hernández se estaba forjando un camino en el área de inversión bancaria. Tenía un buen trabajo y buen sueldo.  Había sido seleccionado para un programa exclusivo para capacitar futuros líderes en la industria bancaria. Su mentor de entonces, incluso le comentó: “Puedes no entenderlo por completo ahora, pero las estrellas se han alineado de forma que esto fuera posible. Muchos de nosotros trabajamos aquí en las ligas menores de la banca, pero tú estarás en sus ligas mayores.”

Seis meses después de ingresar a su nuevo puesto, Mark comenzó a darse cuenta de que la inversión que realmente importaba no estaba en su carrera, sino en vivir el Evangelio.  Una vez le dijo a Dios, “Señor, este es el trabajo que creo me llamas a realizar, pero tal vez me ciega mi deseo de éxito y riqueza. Por favor dame una señal de que este no es el lugar adonde me llamas para pasar mi vida.”

Poco después de su petición, Mark estuvo inspirado en abrir su Biblia y fue en Ageo Capítulo 1, donde leyó: “El año segundo del reinado de Darío, el día primero del sexto mes, el Señor dirigió esta palabra.”  Mark recuerda haber pausado, pues estaba en el segundo año de su carrera bancaria y había estado en su nuevo puesto ya por seis meses. Le dijo a Dios: “Señor, lo que sea que desees decirme ahora, permite que me conmueva, permite que me diga la Verdad.” 

 

Al continuar leyendo, le conmovieron las palabras: “Siembran mucho pero cosechan poco; comen, pero quedan con hambre; beben, pero siguen sedientos; se arropan, pero sienten frío: y el que trabaja por salario, guarda su paga en saco roto.”

Esas palabras llegaron a Mark como una descarga; rompió en lágrimas al darse cuenta de que su verdadero llamado no era en el área bancaria.  Esa vez quedó una semilla sembrada en el corazón de Mark, una que le llevaría a invertir su tiempo, energía y toda su vida al servicio de la gente de Dios.  Dando un gran salto de fe, renunció a su empleo para poder profundizar su relación con Dios.

En su nueva intención por servir a Dios, Mark se volvió a los Misioneros Oblatos, a quienes había conocido desde muy niño. Recibió sus primeros Sacramentos en una parroquia Oblata en Eagle Pass, Texas.  El P. Oblato Richard Guerra había presidido la Primera Comunión de Mark y recuerda a un niño muy serio, quizá demasiado serio, pues el P. Richard necesitó de todo su sentido del humor para que Mark sonriera para una foto.

Como trabajadores migrantes, la familia de Mark iba de Texas a Wisconsin y Montana en los meses de verano para trabajar en los campos. Su madre se hizo maestra de preparatoria para jóvenes con necesidades especiales y su padre se convirtió en Supervisor Asistente en el Departamento de Transportación de Texas.

Estudiando en Texas A&M Mark encontró a muchos más Oblatos que dejaron impresiones duraderas en él por sus consejos, aliento y acompañamiento en su recorrido. Durante la transición de banquero a explorar la vida religiosa, Mark recordó a esas personas y también que sus raíces en la familia Oblata son una parte profunda de su historia de vida.

El Padre Roberto Peña, O.M.I., quien acaba de cumplir 95 años, tuvo una gran influencia en Mark, como un abuelo. Los abuelos de Mark fallecieron antes de que él naciera y siempre anheló tener un abuelo. En su época en la universidad, la mamá de Mark invitaba al P. Peña a Eagle Pass para ocasiones especiales. Mark lo veía como una persona alegre y que hablaba por quienes no tenían voz.

Esas experiencias llevaron a Mark a darse cuenta de que Dios le había enviado compañeros espirituales talentosos para acompañarlo en su camino. Fue Dios quien abrió sus ojos para ver que no era él quien elegiría a su comunidad espiritual, sino que Dios había estado tejiendo su historia junto a Oblatos que lo impresionarían.

Animado por sus experiencias, Mark completó recientemente su discernimiento para ingresar al noviciado Oblato en Godfrey, Illinois. Aun cuando sigue serio al aprender sobre Dios y la fe, Mark está lleno de felicidad por la invitación de seguir a Cristo y ya no necesita pensar dos veces para sonreír y luchar por mostrar el amor de Cristo a los demás, y el amor que Dios le ha mostrado.