Over the weekend, it was serendipity that we attended a wedding on Saturday and heard Sunday mass at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Sacramento. It is a Jesuit Parish. Jesuits have played a major role and exerted a tremendous influence in my life and on my family. I had dreams of studying in Jesuit seminary but that was not meant to be and it remains as one of the disappointments in my life. Anabelle and I have spent the majority of our lives working as Jesuit lay collaborators at the Ateneo, where all our sons were all educated and spent their formative years in. Fr. Blanco awakened in me the spirit of a radical, nationalist commitment. Fr. Abe taught me how to flesh out that commitment into effective actions for the poor and the oppressed. Fr. Green started me on a serious quest for a deeper spiritual life. Fr. Ruben provided me and Anabelle with an apostolate that allowed us to help others and at the same time strengthen our own relationship. Then, there are the many Jesuit friends we have and I remember Bro. Tremblay particularly with great fondness and love.
There are three spiritual themes that I have learned from the Jesuits that have stayed with me all these years, giving depth and meaning to my life: the Creation, the Incarnation and the Resurrection.
Creation. God created everything and everything He made was good. It took eons before God saw that the rest of creation was ready for the coming of man. He prepared the stars and the planets for man to gaze upon. He prepared planet earth to be a hospitable dwelling for man. He populated it with all sorts of living things to be with man. And when, in the fulness of time, everything was ready; He made man and put him in charge of all that He had created. God loved us and gave us life and we did nothing to merit this gift of life He gave us.
Incarnation. God looked at what He had made and He saw that it was all good. So good that He decided to enter the world and join His creature – man. One of the major meditations in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is the Meditation of the Incarnation: how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God, through the Son, took on human flesh and became like one of us. Before that, men caught a glimpse of God through the awesome beauty of creation: in the grandeur of the mountains, in the great expanse of the sea, in the awesome sight of the stars, the sun, the moon and the skies, in the beauty of the fields and the flowers. Now, God reveals Himself in Jesus Christ His Son. Through the Incarnation, we are able to encounter God in the flesh. And Jesus taught us He meets and encounters us through our fellowmen, through the ordinary and routine events in our lives, in the silence and solitude of our hearts. For He is Emmanuel – God with us in our here and now.
Resurrection. And all of this is not random, not transitory, nor is it all but a dream. Christ died like all men do. But He also rose from the dead like he has empowered all men to do. All the joys, all the happiness and all the thrill we have in life will go on forever. Through the Resurrection, Christ allows us to level up in our existence and join Him in His eternity in heaven just as he had join us in our temporality here on earth.
God created time and space to make it possible for us to come into existence. Then, He joined us in that time and space to reveal Himself to us and to show us His plan for us. Finally, He levels us up out of time and space into His eternal moment to be Him forever where there is no more time nor space.
I will praise you, Lord, for you have done marvelous thing for me.
At that time Jesus left Samaria for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.