Father Vincent Lafarge likes to celebrate Nov. 14th each year, as it marks the day of what he considers to be his second birth. On that day in 2000, the then-25-year-old Swiss man was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident that brought him close to death.
An internal hemorrhage, followed by a cardiac arrest, propelled him out of his own body, he says, toward a powerful light in which he felt surrounded by God’s absolute love.
Such a near-death experience radically changed his approach to life and to the deep meaning he gave to his presence on earth, to the point of leading him to embrace the priestly vocation two years later, as he recounts in this interview with the Register.
Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sion (in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland) in 2010, Father Lafarge lives in Villeneuve (Canton of Vaud), while he currently trains to become the chaplain of a nearby hospital in Rennaz.
In what context did your accident occur?
I was 25 years old. I had three jobs at the same time: I was an actor in the evening, a radio host in the morning and a French teacher during the day. Like many people at that age, I thought I was immortal. I used to do everything extremely fast, as one of my students once pointed out to me, noting a verbal tic I had: I always said the word “quickly.” “We’re going to do an exercise quickly.” “Let’s move on to another topic quickly.” “I’ll teach you something quickly.” I realized that thanks to this student!
I was thinking about this that night on my motorcycle, and I started talking to God in my heart. I said to him: “I know I’m going too fast and that this tic says something about my life. I’m doing too much, and I wish I could brake, but I don’t know how to do that, especially because I love everything I do.” I added, “If you’re so smart, if you really exist, why don’t you try to stop me?”
I was at a red light; and at that moment, very clearly, a voice that covered the music I was listening to loudly in my headphones started to talk to me. This voice, very soft and kind — and that had nothing to do with the voice of my conscience — asked me twice: “Are you really aware of what you are asking me?” And twice, out loud, not sure what I was doing, I answered, “Yes.”
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