Happy Feast Day to my idol, mentor and soulmate; a soldier whose first endearment (when I was finally willing to accept it) was to teach me to always fight and never settle, even as his most enduring image, installed in the room of every adult male in my family, is of him kneeling and offering his sword in complete surrender; whose Compañeros de Jesus, aka the Jesuits, some 400 years after his death have formed me in my most formative years in the Ratio Studiorum of their classrooms, indeed in no less than 3 Jesuit schools I have been blessed to attend, in the same way they have educated and held to a higher standard every male (and practically every female!) of my family for 3 generations and counting; whose priests and laity brought me up in the enlightenment and vigor of their parish; whose spiritual exercises of discernment and finding God in all things, along with Communion in the Eucharist, have been my sweetest sweetest sweetest nourishment every morning for the last 6 years; whose unrelenting admonition to Magis – MORE, in everything always MORE, always for God’s greater glory, always to find His will in all things – has been and will always be my noblest inspiration, my daily failure, the ultimate thrill and hope of my life and the greatest gift I will leave my children; whose radical prayer of Suscipe sums up the only thing that matters:
Take and receive my liberty.
Take all my will, all my mind, all my memory.
All things I hold, all I have are from you.
Yours was the gift,
to you I surrender all.
Do what you will
– command and I will obey.
Only your grace,
Your Love on me bestow.
These make me rich,
All else will I forgo.
Forever grateful. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
PS, I would be remiss in celebrating Ignatius if I did not also celebrate and thank my parents for bringing me up on the wings and embrace of Ignatian spirituality. Not just 3 Jesuit schools, but a Jesuit parish was all I knew Monday to Sunday for so many years! And for that matter, I need to celebrate and thank my grandparents – they weren’t even Catholic, but in their love and wisdom they started this Jesuit tradition by sending my dad to Xavier and my mom to ICA with the Jesuit parish of Mary the Queen between, and later onto Ateneo and Maryknoll. The Jesuits have been all around and in between this family for more than half a century! A testament to Ignatius’ vision – his discernment of God’s call that the pen would be mightier than the sword, not just education but a classical formation based on the humanities, ratio studiorum and mens sana in corpore sano, and that if he and his compañeros were to set the world on fire they would do it by offering the best education there is. I am only too happy to carry on the tradition. Those who know me well know what Renee and I have given up so that our boys can have a Filipino Jesuit education. Soldados de Ignacio! San Ignacio kawal ni Kristo!