By: Gabriel Sánchez Navarro
Diocese of Santa Rosa in California
My grandparents were survivors of the "Cristero War" in "Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico, a region that gave the Catholic Church 25 holy martyrs, canonized by St. John Paul II in 2000. I am from a small town: Ojo de Agua de Latillas, municipality of Tepa: “La Perla de los Altos”. For this reason, I grew up surrounded by stories about the Cristera and hundreds of religious and folkloric tales and legends. My father loved the musical rhyme of poetry and entertained us with verses and tongue twisters. My maternal grandfather was a rural teacher, always with thousands of stories. I was his faithful disciple. I never got tired of listening to him! My paternal grandparents competed with their fables, proverbs, and popular sayings. They offered me books of saints' lives. Since I was a child, I loved the art and power of words. As a teenager, I thought, if Christ is the Word of the Father, then everything had its beginning in his "Divine Fiat."
The Word is the Alpha and the Omega. As a child, I was asked: "What are you going to be when you grow up? I used to answer: "I'm going to write until I die." I studied theater and classical and contemporary literature in Mexico. In Sonoma, California, I worked as a theater director and playwright for seven years at the bilingual organization: "Nuestra Voz, Líderes del Valle de Sonoma, Inc." St. Joseph Health System sponsored this organization, so many of my community theater productions depended on the hospital's campaigns such as: Say No to Drugs, Prevention of Diabetes, etc. This organization sponsored me with a two-year program that allowed me to explore other contemporary literature topics.
I received assistance from a professor of literature from the Sonoma State University when working on my first novel. At this time, I decided to obey the invitation; of the Living Word of God, Christ our Savior, to follow Him. And that novel had not seen the light yet. I experienced that He is the Mighty and Merciful Word. I thought that even if I were able to write a thousand books, I could not offer the peace, deliverance, love, and forgiveness that only Christ can provide through His Word. While the word of man lies, loses, and kills, Christ, the Living Word of the Father, is the Truth that frees us from darkness and death, the Way that leads to the Father; and the Eternal Life promised to the faithful servants. The Word of Christ is Light; my word is only a shadow. I have tried to put this talent at God's people's service in my vocational journey, especially in the seminaries where I received my priestly formation through plays and poems. I believe a little poetry, some coffee, and rain is always ok at some time of the day.
Please enjoy one of my poems below along with an English translation done by our Spanish professor, Martha Yáñez Sheridan. Thank you. God bless.