Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Exercises’
Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Ex Corde Ecclesiae
POSTCRIPT: Test of Catholic Orthodoxy according to St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Ignatius of Loyola
The first time the phrase “the Catholic Church” appeared in print is in the Letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to Smyrneans:
8 Flee from schism as the source of mischief. You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. Follow, too, the presbytery as you would the apostles; and respect the deacons as you would God’s law. Nobody must do anything that has to do with the Church without the bishop’s approval. You should regard that Eucharist as valid which is celebrated either by the bishop or by someone he authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Without the bishop’s supervision, no baptisms or love feasts are permitted. On the other hand, whatever he approves pleases God as well. In that way everything you do will be on the safe side and valid.
Flee from schisms. Obey the bishop. This is the test of Catholic orthodoxy.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, at the last part of his Spiritual Exercises, wrote something similar in his Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church:
The First Rule. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.
The Ninth Rule. Lastly, we should praise all the precepts of the Church, while keeping our mind ready to look for reasons for defending them and not for attacking them in any way.
The Thirteenth Rule. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.
Concerning the institutional fidelity of Catholic Universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae has laid out general norms for the university community:
Article 4. The University Community
§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law(49).
§ 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.
§ 3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).
§ 4. Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University. In order not to endanger the Catholic identity of the University or Institute of Higher Studies, the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.
§ 5. The education of students is to combine academic and professional development with formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church; the programme of studies for each of the various professions is to include an appropriate ethical formation in that profession. Courses in Catholic doctrine are to be made available to all students(51).
The Church hierarchy is composed of the Pope, the Bishops, and Priests. If there is doubt on the teaching of a priest, we can appeal to his bishop. If there is doubt on the teaching of a bishop, we can appeal to the Pope and the buck stops here. If we disagree with Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae regarding contraception or if we disagree with Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae regarding fidelity or respect to the university’s Catholic identity, there is no more higher authority that we can appeal to. The most distinguished theologian, no matter how brilliant, must still submit to the authority of the Catholic Church. The most gifted visionary, no matter how holy, must still submit to the authority of the Catholic Church. And so, too, must University Professors: they must also submit to the authority of the Catholic Church by renouncing the RH Bill, for example. We are either inside the sheepfold or out of it. We are either with the vine or we wither as a branch. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. Outside the Church there is no salvation. Outside the Church there is only wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Dear ALMS members and friends,
The Catholic Church hierarchy has called us to join the Prayer Power Rally at EDSA Shrine on Aug. 4 against the RH Bill. Some of us may still be undecided regarding the RH Bill. But as faithful sons of St. Ignatius, it may be worth pondering on his Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Churchas stated in his Spiritual Exercises:
Rule 1. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.
Rule 13. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.
In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius asks us to meditate on the Two Standards. Now before us are two standards: the Standard of Christ and of His Church against the RH Bill and the Standard of the Pro-RH groups. The battle lines are clear. There is no middle ground. To waver is to fall. Let us join the standard of Christ and of His Church.
This is a historic moment.
Across the Pacific in US, Obamacare is currently being implemented, which requires to institutions to include contraception coverage to their employees. Those who don’t get health insurance coverage will be penalized with tax. The Catholic Church is against this law because Catholics cannot promote contraception. Though the Catholic Church itself is exempted, Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities are not. Business run by faithful Catholics have to fight their way in court to be granted exemption. Hercules Industries won the fight vs. Obamacare. And there are still other business and institutions who have to fight their own battles. The US Bishops have been divided on so many issues, but not this one: they are all against the Obamacare.
And the same story is replayed in the Philippines. The Philippine president and some lawmakers wishes to promote the Reproductive Health Bill which would require government to buy contraceptives and give it freely, so that we can lower our population, which the government thinks is the reason why we are poor. The bishops are against this bill because it would make Filipino Catholics accomplice to the sin, because the government will use taxes to buy these contraceptives. The Catholic Church promotes Natural Family Planning which respects the reproductive cycles of the woman’s body. Contraceptives only makes a woman’s body a tool to be used for the sexual gratification of the man, and the proliferation of contraceptives will promote fornication and adultery to the destruction of the Filipino family. Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae, have prophesied all these long before in 1968:
Consequences of Artificial Methods
17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
The Reproductive Health Bill is supported and funded by international groups: Planned Parenthood (the world’s largest abortion provider), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Marie Stopes International, the Packard Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As St. Paul says,
“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”
All these groups seek to depopulate the Philippines and make it another wasteland like Europe whose birthrates have plummeted close to one child per woman, resulting to a graying work force that drains the government’s coffers due to more pension costs and lesser sources of taxable incomes. If this cultural suicide of not having babies does not end, Western Europe as we know it would soon be gone. And if US also falls, the West would plunge to a new Dark Age of Faith, and the Philippines would become the last bastion of Judaeo-Graeco-Roman Civilization. Let us defeat the RH Bill once and for all–a defeat so definitive that none can foresee its arising ever again. This may be our last stand before Congress decides to terminate the debates on August 7 and decide the fate of the Philippines. As Aragorn said before the march of the Western armies to the Black Gates of Sauron:
If this be jest, then it is too bitter for laughter. Nay, it is the last move in a great jeopardy, and for one side or the other it will bring the end of the game. (The Return of the King, p. 164)
Tomorrow, August 4, is a First Saturday, a day of battle which we shall dedicate to Our Lady. She is The Woman Clothed with the Sun who accomplished the bloodless revolution in EDSA in 1986. She is The Woman Who Crushed the Head of the Serpent who destroyed the Berlin Wall in 1991. And tomorrow, She will be known once again as Our Lady of EDSA–Our Lady of the Epiphany of the Saints:
Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops? (Song of Songs 6:10)
So tomorrow, August 4, please come to EDSA and bring your rosaries. As Our Lady said to St. Dominic whose feast we celebrate tomorrow:
Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?… I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter. (St. Louis de Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, p. 21)
Our Lady’s Psalter is the Hail Mary. And a string of Hail Mary’s is the Holy Rosary:
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
I hope to see you there at EDSA tomorrow afternoon. We can meet at 12:00-1:00 p.m. at Loyola House of Studies and join the Loyola School of Theology delegationconsisting of Jesuit priests, brothers, and lay people. Wear red for martyrdom. Those who wish to join the convoy are asked to bring their cars. Those who wish to join me–we’ll take the train If there are only few who will come and EDSA is not filled to the brim, let us fear not but bravely stand and weather the storm. As Aragorn said:
Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.
For this is not just our war. Heaven is fighting with us. And may God open our eyes as he did to Elisha’s servant, and see the hosts of angels in fiery chariots and horses surrounding EDSA (c.f. 2 Kgs 6:17)
Lex orandi, lex credendi. May we who are faithful to the rubrics of the Latin Mass may also be obedient to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.
Ateneo Latin Mass Society
RETREATS IN DAILY LIFE
for Loyola Schools Faculty, Professionals & Administrators
Many Christians today have that yearning for God and interpret this yearning as an invitation to deeper prayer. This invitation can be realized through the “RETREAT IN DAILY LIFE” based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
From his own life experience, Ignatius created a way for women and men to deepen their relationship with God in the context of their daily lives.
The retreat offers opportunities for the on-going integration of the Gospel with daily life. It provides a wonderful, effective way of discovering God in all things.
A Retreat in Daily Life (RDL) is a way to give yourself some space in your busy life. It is an opportunity to experience:
- deeper companionship with God
- personal guidance in your spirituality
- the transforming power of the Gospel.
SIGN UP BEGINS 18 TO 30 JUNE 2012.
We are offering two (2) forms of RDL.
A. TEN WEEKS OF RETREAT IN DAILY LIFE
After registering for the retreat, a person agrees…
- to attend the Opening and Closing Session of the retreat
- to pray using Scripture for 20-40 minutes a day
- to do brief journal writing about their experience of prayer
- to meet for half an hour once a week with your prayer guide (for individually directed) or meet for 45 minutes to 1 hour with the group for faith sharing and direction (for group RDL). The meetings with your prayer guide and/or group focuses on what is happening in your daily prayer.
The role of the prayer guide is to listen to you and help you decide how you might spend your prayer time the next days/weeks.
TEN WEEKS PROGRAM BEGINS WEEK OF 9 JULY AND ENDS WEEK OF 17 SEPTEMBER.
B. WEEK OF DIRECTED PRAYER
After registering for the retreat, a person agrees…
- to attend the Opening and Closing Session of the retreat
- to pray using Scripture for 15-30 minutes a day
- to do brief journal writing about their experience of prayer
- to meet privately for 30 minutes each day with the prayer guide assigned to you.
The daily meeting with your prayer guide focuses on what is happening in your daily prayer.
The role of the prayer guide is to listen to you and help you decide how you might want to spend your prayer time the next day.
WEEK OF DIRECTED PRAYER: 16 TO 23 JULY 2012 / 13 TO 20 AUGUST 2012
SILENT IGNATIAN RETREATS
A time of rest, silence, listening and prayer. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is used as the framework for the retreat.
THREE-DAY SILENT RETREAT: 15-18 October 2012
FIVE-DAY SILENT RETREAT: 21-26 October 2012
A spiritual director is a person with whom you can talk about your experience of God, both in prayer and in the rest of your daily life.
With spiritual direction, it is hoped that you will become more conscious of how truly active God is in your life and how you might better cooperate with God’s gift of grace.
The Office of Campus Ministry can arrange spiritual direction for you with a Jesuit, religious sister or lay person trained for this ministry.
For inquiries, please contact:
Sr. Reylie de Guzman, rc
LS Office of Campus Ministry
MVP-CSL Center, Room 109
426-6001 local 5161
If you are supporting Earth Hour, do it for a more edifying purpose: gather the family members, turn off the electric lights, light the candles, and pray the Holy Rosary. Then read the first chapter of the Book of Genesis:
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth— 2* and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—b 3Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light.c 4God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed—the first day….*”
The Earth Hour becomes the Hour of Creation. The Church for centuries has adopted pagan practices but baptizing them with Christian meaning, in the same way as the Church accepts Gentiles and baptizes them as Christians. We can adopt the secular practice of the Earth Hour and turn it into a Christian practice. The Book of Genesis is the First Reading in the Easter celebration, that is why before Easter Sunday, it is Black Saturday, and on Easter Eve mass, the Church is dark, to symbolize the darkness of sin that covers the entire world.
Then read the Prologue of John in Chapter 1:
“In the beginning* was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.a
2He was in the beginning with God.
3* All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.b
What came to be 4through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;c
5* the light shines in the darkness,d
and the darkness has not overcome it….”
The Earth Hour becomes the Hour of Creation, as Sunday, through the Resurrection of Christ, became the day of the New Creation; the Hour of the New Creation is better designated to the first hour of Easter Sunday. The light of Christ shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. You see this in the seal of Ateneo de Manila University and Manila Observatory. The light of the world is not the sun but IHS, Christ. It is the Mystery of Incarnation. Gazing at the whole world–the Earth–is one of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius: to see the world as the Holy Trinity sees it. That is why, the Jesuits produced the greatest geographers like Mateo Ricci, because geography is an aid to the Spiritual Exercises. The Holy Trinity sees the world of men engulfed by sin. And so the Holy Trinity decides to send the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, who became flesh in the Person of Christ.
These prayers, readings, and meditations would fill a whole hour. Many indulgences can be obtained here from the praying of the rosary, the 30-minute reading and meditation of the scripture–and more if done in front of the blessed Sacrament in a Holy Hour.
A blessed Hour of Creation to all.
ATENEO LATIN MASS SOCIETY
Mission and Vision
Ateneo Latin Mass Society (ALMS) is an association in Ateneo de Manila University which seeks to give greater glory to God by making the most beautiful celebration of the Roman Rite in Latin in both ordinary and extraordinary forms available to all.
To accomplish this, the ALMS shall do the following:
Foster the use of Latin in the Roman Rite as mandated by Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium
Promote both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, but with a preferential option for the extraordinary form in the Ignatian tradition of magis and excellence
Train choir groups who can perfectly sing all the chants in Liber Usualis, in obedience to the mandate of Vatican II’s Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy that the Gregorian Chant should be given pride of place in the Roman Liturgy
Train sacristan groups who knows by heart the responses and rubrics of both the ordinary and extraordinary masses in all seasons of the year.
Train Jesuit seminarians, deacons, and priests in the words, rubrics, and chants in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite
Teach the congregation how to pray the rosary in Latin and how to chant the responses in missa cantata
Provide the most exquisite vessels and vestments for any Jesuit priest who wishes to say the Latin Mass
Promote Jesuit vocations, novenas to Jesuit saints, and prayers for the souls of living and dead Jesuits.
Establish the Institute for Latin Studies for the study of the classical, medieval, and ecclessiastical Latin literature, especially those written by Jesuit saints and scholars.
Promote the use of Gothic and Romanesque church architecture for the Roman Rite.
Promote the Spirtual Exercises of St. Ignatius
Promote St. Ignatius’s Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church.
Establish Latin Mass Societies in all Ateneo schools and form a worldwide Latin Mass Society of Jesuit Schools
Coordinate with the Jesuit hierarchy and Church hierarchy in promoting the use of the Latin and Gregorian chant in all Jesuit schools and in all parishes.
Promote Jesuit spirituality through the Sodality of our Lady and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Homily of Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio, S.J. for the Traditional Latin Mass at Sikatuna, Quezon City on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
by Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio, S.J.
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, 2009
Divine Mercy Church, Sikatuna, Quezon City
Íñigo López de Loyola was born in the municipality of Azpeitia at the castle of Loyola in today’s Basque Country of Gipuzcoa, Spain. He was named after St. Enecus (Innicus), Abbot of Oña. The youngest of 13 children, Íñigo was only seven years old when his mother died. In 1506, he adopted the last name “de Loyola” in reference to the city where he was born. He later became a page in the service of a relative, Don Juan Velázquez de Cuéllar, treasurer (contador mayor) of the kingdom of Castile.
In 1509, Íñigo took up arms for Don Antonio Manrique de Lara, Duke of Nájera and Viceroy of Navarre. His diplomacy and leadership qualities made him a gentilhombre very useful to the Duke. Under the Duke’s leadership, he participated in many battles without injury to himself. But when the French army, supporting the Navarrese monarchy expelled in 1512, stormed Pamplona’s fortress on May 20, 1521, a cannonball wounded one of his legs and broke the other. Heavily injured, Íñigo was returned to the castle. He was very concerned about the injuries on his leg and had several surgical operations, which were very painful in the days before anaesthetics. Being a man of the royal court, he was also a man of the world, quite vain about his looks and was driven by ambition.
During his period of recovery, he would have preferred to read books on chivalry and romantic exploits common in his time, but there were no such reading materials in the Loyola castle. Instead, he had to content himself with the available literature, namely, De Vita Christi, by Ludolph of Saxony, which eventually influenced his whole life, and the lives of saints. Reading these books, he became fired with an ambition to lead a life of self-denying labor and emulate the heroic deeds of Francis of Assisi and other great monastic leaders. He spent many days reflecting on the questions: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ? The conversion of a vain and worldly man had begun; Iñigo, the courtly gentilhombre was slowly turning into Ignacio, the hermit and pilgrim seeking to know in what manner he could serve the Most High. Upon recovery, as part of his quest, he visited the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat on March 25, 1522. He made an all-night vigil before the image of the famous “Morenita,” the Black Madonna of Montserrat, before whom he divested himself of his military sword, and gave up his rich vestments in exchange for a lowly pilgrim’s garb and staff. He then went and spent several months in prayer in a cave near the town of Manresa in Catalonia where he practiced the most rigorous asceticism. The result of this profound spiritual experience was the Spiritual Exercises, the most obvious fruits of which were his methods for the discernment of spirits, and contemplation.
As part of his quest, and seeking to be completely familiar with Our Lord, Ignatius embarked on a pilgrimage from Barcelona to Rome, enroute to the Holy Land. He would have wanted to remain there, but he understood that the will of God for him was not to remain in Jerusalem. However, his thought kept recurring to the question of what he ought to do. Finally, he decided that in order to help others spiritually, he had to undergo formal studies. And so, at age 33, he started to study Latin in Barcelona with students much younger than he was, and later moved on to philosophy and the humanities. He continued his studies in Alcalá de Henares and Salamanca , and eventually, higher studies in Paris at the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris. There he remained over seven years. In later life, he was often called “Master Ignatius”. This title was due to his taking a master’s degree from the university at the age of 43.
By 1534 he had six key companions, all of whom he met as students at the University— Francisco Xavier, Alfonso Salmerón, Diego Laínez, and Nicolás Bobadilla, all Spanish; Pierre Favre, a Frenchman; and Simão Rodrigues, a Portuguese. “On the morning of the 15th of August, 1534, in the crypt of the Church of Our Lady of the Martyrs, at Montmartre, Ignatius of Loyola and his six companions, of whom only one was a priest, met and took upon themselves the solemn vows of their lifelong work.”
The group of Ignatius eventually became the Company of Jesus, known today as Society of Jesus or the Jesuits, whose members vow special obedience to the Pope as missionaries. Ignatius of Loyola is known as a talented spiritual director. He was very vigorous in opposing the Protestant Reformation and promoting the following Counter-Reformation. He died in Rome as first Superior-General of the Compañia de Jesús on July 31, 1556. He was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609, canonized by Pope Gregory XV together with his friend and close companion, St. Francis Xavier on March 12, 1622.
Ignatius wrote the Jesuit Constitutions, adopted in 1540, which created a monarchical organization and stressed absolute self-abnegation and obedience to Pope and superiors (perinde ac cadaver, “well-disciplined like a corpse” as Ignatius put it). His main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (“for the greater glory of God”). The Jesuits were a major factor in the Counter-Reformation.
Today Jesuits are known all over the world for their schools, but we need to understand that the sons of Ignatius also pioneered daring missionary work in the New World and in the Asian and African continents, producing quite a number of martyrs for the faith. Even now, there are Jesuits who quietly labor in dangerous mission territories far away from the glare of publicity.
What, to me, is the challenge for Jesuits today—and which we can share with the faithful we serve— is to live and teach fidelity to the Church. In his rules for thinking with the Church, which is expressed in and by the Jesuit vow of obedience, Ignatius exhorts us, above all, to “ever be ready and prompt to obey in all things the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, our holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.” Fidelity and obedience to the Church, in the person of the Pope and the local bishop, is the mark of a true Roman Catholic Christian, even when sometimes—or many times–we do not understand certain decisions or actions that cause us much hurt and confusion. We may question certainly; we may represent; we may disagree, even dissent probably—but in the end, when we have exhausted all means to make our voices heard, we humbly bow and accept the inevitable because as Ignatius teaches us, God’s will is manifested in our all-too-human superiors and Church leaders. This is a hard saying for many, I know, and maybe even my fellow Jesuits will dispute this, but there is no other way we can preserve the unity of the Church which we all love, if we do not live and practice obedience to her. Unfortunately, this Mother Church is not a democracy, and this is probably one of the reasons why “the gates of hell has not prevailed against it” for 2000-plus years. Only time will tell if our voices were disinterested and prophetic, or were they voices of vested interests under the guise of “for the common good.”
In today’s postmodern and globalized world, so radically different from Ignatius’ time, we are bombarded from all sides with various so-called “creeds” that all have the glorification of man as their agenda. St. Ignatius teaches us in the Spiritual Exercises that “man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul,” and that “the other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.” Let us therefore ask this great saint, to help us discern the good spirit that leads us to think, say, and do everything for the greater glory of God.
NOTE: Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio, S.J. is willing to celebrate a regular Traditional Latin Mass in public at the Ateneo de Manila University if we can form a stable group.
So if you are a student, teacher, alumni, professional, or staff at Ateneo de Manila University who wishes to be part of this stable group, please email Dr. Quirino M. Sugon Jr. at email@example.com. You may also use the comment form below.
(St. Ignatius: Then and Now)
by Fr. Jett Villarin, S.J.
Based on a talk delivered at the Klima Conference Room, Manila Observatory,
Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
28 July 2008
Before talking about St. ignatius then and now (noon at ngayon), let me start first with tomorrow (bukas) because Ignatius always begins his Spiritual Exercises with the end, the purpose of human life, as stated in his introductory section, the Principle and Foundation:
Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.
This thinking about the end helps us to test the spirits, to discern. Ignatius listed four methods for discernment. The first is the rational way: what are the pros and cons? The second is to imagine someone like you asking for advice regarding the same problem: what will you say to him? The third is to imagine you are laid in a funeral: what will other people will say about you? And the fourth is to imagine you are in front of our Lord on Judgement Day: what will He say to you?
Ignatius was born in a Spanish aristocrat family. To be Spanish then is to be Catholic, and Ignatius was raised Catholic: son of the Church, servant of the Crown.
In 1521, Ignatius’s was tasked to defend the city of Pamplona against the French. The Spaniards were already losing and the most sensible thing to do was to surrender. But he would not, and he continued to rally his men, exhorting them to fight, even after a cannonball smashed his leg. The French admired his courage. They placed him in a stretcher and brought him home.
In his home Ignatius asked for books on chivalry: kings and knights, honor and courage, love and death. But there were no books to read except the Bible and the Lives of the Saints. Reluctantly, he read them. He read about Love dying on the cross. He read about courage before fire, rack, and sword. He read about a kingdom that is not of this world. And his eyes were opened: What would it profit him if he gains the whole world yet suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall he give for his soul? Ignatius got up from his mat and left. No king shall he now serve except the King of Kings. No kingdom shall he now aspire for except that of Heaven.
Ignatius went on a pilgrimage and passed by the town of Manressa. He planned to stay a there few days, but he ended up staying for ten months. He exchanged his rich clothes for that of a pilgrim and offered his sword to his Lady, the Blessed Virgin, as a pledge of love, devotion, and service. In a cave he contemplated his sins and confessed them to a priest—day after day, week after week, month after month—not sparing one sin, however small. His scruples he could hardly get past.
Beside a river, Ignatius had a vision: he saw God laboring in the world. He then understood that God wanted him also to labor in the world, outside the walls of his cloister. Where will he go? To labor in the world requires competence and this can only be acquired by studying. So Ignatius left his cave and travelled to Europe’s best university: the University of Paris.
Ignatius wanted to become a priest. And to be a priest, he must study Latin. The University of Paris, however, did not group students according to age but to ability. So Ignatius, vassal of kings and captain of men, suffered himself to be seated with little lads learning Latin. He was thirty-five.
In University of Paris Ignatius met two of his future companions: Peter Fabre and Francis Xavier. Blessed Peter Faber became the Apostle of Germany at the rise of the Protestant Reformation and the eve of Council of Trent, winning many souls back to the Catholic Faith. St. Francis Xavier became the Apostle of the Indies, converting thousands to Christianity in India, Malacca, Moluccas, and Japan;. Faber died in the hands of Ignatius at forty; Xavier, in China’s Shangchuan Island at forty-six. Both died in their labors. Ignatius did not become a missionary like his two friends, but he sat in his office as the Jesuit Superior General in Rome, directing his highly-trained legions loyal and obedient the Pope, in the conquest of the world for Christ, for the salvation of souls.
After Ignatius’s death, the Jesuits numbered a thousand; now, four and a half centuries later, about twenty thousand. The first Jesuits worked in hospitals; some preached in public squares. To train future priests, seminaries were built, which grew into universities. Many Jesuits became university professors; some confessors to kings; others organizers of the peasants. Where the need is greatest, there are the Jesuits.
Unlike Dominicans and Franciscans, the Jesuits do not wear a monk’s habit but the garb of diocesan priests: a black cassock, as Ignatius required. The cassock may be tainted with scandal in Ignatius’s time—and even now, at the outbreak of clerical sexual abuse. But wear it they must. To wear the cassock is to be a sign of contradiction. To wear the cassock is to carry a cross. Where the scandal is greatest, there are the Jesuits.
A. Jesuits’s Global Mission
The Jesuit mission is global. Did not God labored in the world? Did not Christ commanded his apostles to preach the Gospel throughout the world? As Ignatius said, “Our vocation is to travel through the world and to live in any part of it whatsoever.”  Because Ignatius wanted to deal with the universal good, which is always the greater good, the Jesuit Superior General Kolvenbach said that the mission for Ignatius could not be anything but the mission of a universal apostolic body, gifted with global apostolic availability.
In the 35th General Congregation, the second decree is entitled A Fire that Kindles Other Fires: Rediscovering our Charism. The fire here is the fire of the Society’s original inspiration, the fire whose heart is Christ. Jesuits know who they are by renewing their love for Christ:
There [at La Storta], “placed” with God’s Son and called to serve him as he carries his cross, Ignatius and the first companions respond by offering themselves for the service of faith to the Pope, Christ’s Vicar on earth. The Son, the one image of God, Christ Jesus, unites them and sends them out to the whole world. He is the image at the very heart of Jesuit existence today; and it is his image that we wish to communicate to others as best as we can.
Carrying the image of Christ as a banner, the image of the Sacred Heart aflame, the Jesuits ventured into the remotest corners of the world—Miguel Andrade (1624) crossed the heights of Himalayas in search for Tibet; into the crossroads of ideologies—Miguel Pro (1927) was shot in Mexico as he raised his hands in imitation of Christ, shouting, “Viva Cristo Rey!”; and into the frontiers of science—Christopher Clavius (1612) formulated the Gregorian system of leap years that we still use today.
Today the new context that the Society of Jesus live is marked by “profound changes, acute conflicts, and new possibilities.” In the words of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, as quoted in the 35th General Congregation:
Your Congregation is being held during a period of great social, economic and political change; of conspicuous ethical, cultural and environmental problems, of conflicts of all kinds; yet also of more intense communication between peoples, of new possibilities for knowledge and dialogue, of profound aspirations for peace. These are situations that deeply challenge the Catholic Church and her capacity for proclaiming to our contemporaries the word of hope and salvation.
The Church needs the Jesuits. The Church relies on the Jesuits. The Church turns to the Jesuits. And Benedict XVI quoted Paul VI’s 1974 address in the 34th General Congregation:
Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme fields, at the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, there has been and there is confrontation between the burning exigencies of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, here also there have been, and there are, Jesuits.
B. Manila Observatory
Let me end my talk with three challenges for the Manila Observatory, as the Jesuit presence here diminish:
- 1. Interdisplinarity. We cannot anymore work in isolation—physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, economists, managers. The present problems in climate, for example, require an interdisciplinary approach.
- 2. Solutions. Monitoring is not enough: we can monitor rainfall, pollution, temperature, and sea levels forever. We need solutions. We have to engage the government and other insititutions to craft better policies.
- 3. Love. We must cultivate our love for Christ. At the end of our life, the Just Judge will ask us only one question, the same question he asked Peter :“Do you love me more than these?” And to which we hope to reply, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.”
Disclaimer: I transcribed this talk from my notes and my memory of Fr. Villarin’s words. I added some notes, quotes, and references for clarity. –Quirino M. Sugon Jr. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” T. Villarin, S.J., is the present president of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics at the Ateneo de Manila University and is a member of the Manila Observatory’s Board of Trustees. He finished his Ph. D. in Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a member of the American Geophysical Union.
 George E. Ganss, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: A Translation and Commentary, 2nd Indian Ed. (Gujaratsahitya Prakash, Anand, Gujarat, 1992), p. 32.
 Ibid., pp. 77–79.
 c.f. Mt 16:26.
 Suau, Pierre, “Bl. Peter Faber.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11. (New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1911) 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11767a.htm>.
 Astrain, Antonio, “St. Francis Xavier,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 6 (New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1909). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06233b.htm>.
 ”Jesuits acknowledge drop in vocations,” Catholic News Agency (10 May 2006). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6687>
 James Martin, S.J., “Father General: Out of Habit,” In All Things, a blog of The America Magazine (posted 2008-03-08 19:28:00.0). 12 Dec 2008 <http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6687>
 Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, “Opening talk of the Father General,” in Loyola 2000: Corresponsible in Service of Christ’s Mission (Press and Information Office, Rome, 22 September 2000). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://users.online.be/~sj.eur.news/doc/Loyola2000e.htm>
“A fire that kindles other fires: Rediscovering our charism,” Decree 2 of the 35th General Congregation (7 March 2008). <http://www.sjweb.info/35/documents/Decrees.pdf>
 Ibid., Article 3.
 It was during the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on 16 June, when Jesus said to Sr. Mary Margaret Alacoque, “Behold the Heart that has so loved men…. instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude …..” and asked her for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult Father de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. The mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the Society of Jesus. Jean Bainvel. “Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07163a.htm>.
 “As I express the wish that the 50th anniversary will give rise to an ever more fervent response to love of the Heart of Christ in numerous hearts, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, Most Reverend Father, and to all the Religious of the Society of Jesus, who are still very active in promoting this fundamental devotion.” Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI on Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Encyclical ”Haurietis Aquas” to the Most Reverend Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Vatican, 15 May 2006). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20060515_50-haurietis-aquas_en.html>
 In 1624, the Portuguese Jesuit Antonio de Andrade, became the first European to cross the Himalayas. China History Forum (posted by Southern Barbarian 9 Jul 2006). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t12548.html>
“Miguel Pro,” Wikipedia. 12 Dec 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Pro>
 “Christopher Christopher Clavius, S.J. and his Gregorian calendar,” (Mathematics Department, Fairfield University, Fairfield CT). 12 Dec 2008 <http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/jmac/sj/scientists/clavius.htm> (broken link)
 “A new context for mission,” in Decree 3 of the 35th General Congregation (7 March 2008). See Ref. .
 Pope Benedict XVI, “Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Fathers of the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus” (Clementine Hall, Thursday, 21 February 2008). 12 Dec 2008 <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/february/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080221_gesuiti_en.html>
 c.f. Jn 21:15–19.
St. Ignatius’s rules for thinking with the church and the Ateneo faculty’s dissent against Humanae Vitae
A group of faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University recently made a position paper in support of the Reproductive Health Bill 5043:
We respect the consciences of our bishops when they promote natural family planning as the only moral means of contraception, in adherence to the teachings of Humanae Vitae (1968). In turn, we ask our bishops to respect the one in three (35.6%) married Filipino women who, in Declaration of support for the Reproductive Health Bill’s immediate passage into law their “most secret core and sancturary” or conscience, have decided that their and their family’s interests would best be served by using a modern artificial means of contraception. Is it not possible that these women and their spouses were obeying their well-informed and well-formed consciences when they opted to use an artificial contraceptive?
I disagree. St. Ignatius’s rules on thinking, judging, and feeling with the church, as stated in his Spiritual Exercises, is clear:
Rule 1. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church.
Rule 13. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our Holy Mother Church is guided and governed.
The teachings of Humanae Vitae; regarding contraception are clear:
14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)
Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.