Fr. Carlos Esquivel, O.S.J.
In the eighth grade, while I was attending St. Joachim Catholic School, Fr. Arnold Ortiz, O.S.J. (at that time Brother Arnold) came to invite young men from my class to visit the seminary. He spoke specifically about considering a vocation to religious life and the priesthood. At that time in my life I had never heard of a seminary but I had begun to consider in a very simple way what I wanted to do with my life. I remember feeling a sense of emptiness and a void in my life which left me with a certain restlessness. I accepted Father’s invitation to visit the seminary, not because I was interested in religious life or the priesthood at that time but purely out of curiosity. After spending one day visiting the seminary I suddenly realized the restlessness, the emptiness and the void that I had felt up to that time was gone. It was replaced with a sense of inner peace and calm. I was also very attracted by the great family spirit and unity I saw and experienced between the Oblate Brothers, Priests and Seminarians. At that moment I knew that I needed to be in that environment to help me better decide what I was to do with my life. I couldn’t honestly say that I wanted to be a religious or a priest – I only knew that the seminary had the atmosphere I needed to help me better discern in what direction my life needed to go.
After applying and being accepted into the Seminary of the Oblates of St. Joseph, for five years I continued discerning what God’s will was for me. Those five years were my “Come and See” time, much like our Lord’s invitation to the Apostles when they asked Him, “Where do you live?” In my fifth year I reached a point at which I knew that I now needed to make a decision to become an Oblate and Priest or leave the seminary. I no longer needed to “Come and See.” I now needed to make a decision to stay or leave. That fifth year was for me an intense year of discernment.
Hoping and praying all that year for some undeniable sign from God as to what my vocation was to be, I received His response not in the way I had hoped (there was no voice in the night or some other miraculous event). Instead it came in much the same way God had spoken to me five years earlier through the inner peace and calm at visiting the seminary. It was in realizing that I was happy, content, at peace, and that the thought of leaving the seminary and the Oblates left me once again filled with a sense of emptiness and a deep void. This was how God had answered my prayer for guidance and direction.
Now after many years as an Oblate and Priest I am still humbled and awed at how God continues to call me and bless me in my vocation. I am especially grateful to God for the gift of my Oblate family and my Priesthood and pray that like Fr. Arnold, my Yes to God will be an invitation for others to “Come and See.”
Praised be Jesus Christ!