Fr. Jose Cecilio Magadia, S.J.: the Jesuit mission is to preach about holiness and sanctity

Since none of us here are fortune-tellers, we cannot do this second task with great detail, as we did the looking back. But maybe, what we can do is to try to provide an optic to help us live the coming year, in fidelity to who we are and what we have been called to do.

Last June 2009, the Holy Father led the Church in opening the Year for Priests, which is ending this June 2010. So I invite you to look at the coming year, as members of this priestly Society of Jesus. In an article he wrote in 2002, Father Michael Buckley points out that as Jesuits, our priesthood is not mainly cultic, nor mainly pastoral. These belong more properly to our bishops and our brother diocesan priests. For Jesuits, our priesthood is mainly prophetic…

(This reflection was intended mainly for Jesuits, but all Christians, by virtue of our Baptism are called to be priests and prophets…)

…and this involves speaking God’s Word to people, and making men and women hear this word, and assimilate it into their hearts, and incarnate it in their lives. In short, it means telling the world in a powerful way, something that we often only half-believe most of the time – that yes, we can be holy, and that yes, it is possible for us to be saints.

St Hippolytus writes: (On the Refutation of All Heresies, Office of Readings for December 30):

We know that by taking a body from the Virgin he re-fashioned our fallen nature. We know that his manhood was of the same clay as our own; if this were not so, he would hardly have been a teacher who could expect to be imitated. If he were of a different substance from me, he would surely not have ordered me to do as he did, when by my very nature I am so weak. Such a demand could not be reconciled with his goodness and justice.

No. He wanted us to consider him as no different from ourselves, and so he worked, he was hungry and thirsty, he slept. Without protest he endured his passion, he submitted to death and revealed his resurrection. In all these ways he offered his own manhood as the first fruits of our race to keep us from losing heart when suffering comes our way…. He was truly Word made flesh, and …

The saying “Know yourself” means therefore that we should recognise and acknowledge in ourselves the God who made us in his own image….

So let us look forward to 2010, not knowing what it will bring. For some of us this year will be a year of transitions, for some a year of major shifts and decisions, for some a time of crisis and difficulty, for some a time of facing debilitation or diminishment or death, in our families, in our selves. For many, it will very well be more of the same. We do not really know how it will end, but as Jesuits belonging to this priestly Society of Jesus (and as Christians baptized into Christ), we are called to be prophets, and to tell all those around us that through it all, we can be holy. We have it in us to be saints, and recognize that we are creatures, dependent on the unfathomable power of God.

– Fr. Jojo Magadia, SJ
Provincial Superior of the Philippine Jesuits
January 1, 2010

Source: The Philippine Jesuits.  This is the second part of the article, “Looking Back and Looking Forward.”

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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