My dear Family,
The following words from Job clearly state what I am feeling: “…the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). There is sadness in parting and leaving my family; but there is also peace knowing that this is the will of God. I pray that you can also see the goodness and blessing of God in all this. We are all looking for true happiness, and at times we forget that we can only find it in the will of God, even if at the moment it might not feel like “happiness”, but we must have faith and trust “…that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints” (Romans 8:28).
I want to take this time also to ask for your forgiveness if at any point I offended anyone with anything I did, said or did not do. Know that I tried to give my all out of love for God and the salvation of your souls. To the best of my knowledge, I always spoke the truth of the Gospel to you, realizing that only the Truth would makes us true disciples of the Lord Jesus and truly set us free (John 8: 31-32). Always remember that at times the Truth will be painful to hear and hard to accept, just like the medicine we have to take for a physical illness is at times painful or bitter to the taste, but we know that it is for our physical well being. The same is with the Truth, it can be painful to hear and bitter to swallow, but if we abandon ourselves completely to the will of God, this at times painful and bitter medicine, will bring us to Eternal Life.
You have taught me so much these past three years which God has blessed me with. I have been graced to meet in this faith community people of great Faith, Hope and Charity. The witness of so many of you has strengthened my priesthood and my commitment to continue to die daily to self that I may live completely for God and the salvation of souls. There are no words to express my gratitude for all that you have done for me. Your smiles, your words of encouragement, your love for me and above all your faith, all these truly humble me and encourage me to keep fighting the good fight. It is not an easy time to be a Catholic and it is less easy to be a priest, but you all have helped me and encouraged me to not lose hope to always remember that Christ is still King, and for this I am greatly thankful. I only hope that I was able to return the favor and gave you a little hope in the Church and the priesthood.
Even though I will not be here with you, know that I will always carry you in my heart and will always remember you in my prayers. I ask that you please pray for me; that you beg God for my sanctification. My deepest longing for you and for me is for us to become saints! So let us follow the council of St. Paul: “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one.”(1 Corinthians 9: 24-25). So let us run the race that will win for us the crown of Eternal Life without counting the cost. Always remember that we will receive much more than what we are asked to give. Always remember how BLESSED YOU ARE IN CHRIST!
In the love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Fr. José Haro