During prayer, I was moved to write.
Today, July 31, is the feast day of San Ignacio de Loyola, the patron saint of my alma mater, of soldiers and the founder of the Society of Jesus. I grew up reading his life story, memorizing and singing his prayers. Grade school teachers used to test us on these. I still remember one song by heart, but I don’t understand what it means because it’s in another language!
Personally, I am fascinated with his life story. He has the affinity for the dramatics. Some of my friends and I refer to his crisis moment as his cannonball moment, where he was hit on the leg during war and was hospitalized for some time. There, he transformed himself from a pompous and rich soldier to a poor and spiritual man. This was made possible through the books that he read on the lives of different saints.
And of course, who would not be familiar with his Montserrat moment where he offered his life to Mother Mary. The popular depiction of this event is with San Ignacio, in his war suit, kneeling down, looking toward the heavens and with two hands, and offering up his sword.
Two weeks ago when I attended the Ignatian festival, I was pleasantly reminded by Fr. Jet Villarin, the current president of the Ateneo de Manila, that Ignacio’s last few years were stuck in an office. He was doing a boring desk job, attending to administration work, and preparing, monitoring and disbursing finances. His barkada were in the more exciting quests – evangelization, discovering (or rediscovering) new territories and recruitment and training of new hires (so to speak). On the other hand, he was stuck in Rome writing manuals (the Spiritual Exercises) and charting organization policies and human resource systems (the Constitution).
As Fr. Jet reiterated, we assume that Ignacio did experience some struggle in the work he was doing. The tedious task of writing down tons of notes and letters would move a person into desolation.
As I reflect on that point, I, too, find administration work such a bother.
Yet, the invitation for us, like Ignacio, perhaps is to use that experience as a source of prayer, to find God in the mundane tasks of everyday administration work. That’s the challenge for us – to look beyond the papers that need to be signed, the concept notes that need to be written, the proposals that need to be collated, etc. Conceivably, we may find some consolation for ourselves.
In a sense, the invitation for us is to embrace the call of what we are ought to do, may it be in the frontline or the backroom, forefront or a desk job, in the center or just in the wings, may it be even in the most innovative endeavor or the most basic responsibility.
A friend, who currently works for a multi-national company, asked me recently. Am I contributing to nation building with what I’m doing? Am I doing the right thing?
A former student sends me a message over social media to apologize because he was on his way to Singapore to do finance work for a company.
In moments of uncertainty, Inigo gives us three questions to ponder:
- What is important for me?
- What is more important for me?
- What is the most important for me?
May we find peace wherever we are, whatever career we’ve chosen, whatever life plans we’ve made, as we continue to seek for our deepest desires in the midst of the world’s greatest needs.
In omnibus amare, in omnibus servire.
In all things, to love and serve the Lord.
31 July 2012 | Antipolo City
Reference: San Ignacio. Retrieved from http://pinaytraveller.com/http:/archives/4009 last July 30, 2012.