Photo by Bok Pioquid of the Christian Service Involvement Program of the Ateneo High School
Forty years ago, Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ gave a speech to an exclusive all-boys school in Valencia, Spain. He said that the mark of those who receive Jesuit education is being a “man-for-others” o ang pagiging tao-para sa kapwa. This slogan of being “men for others” was picked up by many Jesuit schools and those who have been connected with Jesuits all have used, or overused, this slogan without knowing where or how it all came to be. Forty years after that speech, we used different expressions of being “persons for others” – including our theme in 2011, “En todo amar y servir” (In everything, love and serve the Lord), “Cura personalis” (care for the entire person) or “A faith that does justice.” But the original is “ayudar las animas” o “to help souls.”
It all began in Jerusalem. Shortly after his conversion, St. Ignatius went to Jerusalem to visit the sacred places where Jesus went. There he was filled with much spiritual high or consolation. Together with this fervor, emerges his great desire to help souls or “ayudar las animas.” From then on, St. Ignatius, even as Superior General of the Jesuits, would continue to work for the care of souls by involving himself and his earliest companions in a number of ministries, such as the Jewish and Muslim converts and outcasts; the House of Martha which helped reforming prostitutes, the House of Endangered Young Women, which protected vulnerable girls from exploitation, and the Society of Orphans, which aided orphans, beggars and the sick. For St. Ignatius, to help souls means not just a concern with the spiritual life of the person, but with the whole of the person including their physical and emotional welfare. Souls here, according to St. Ignatius is the whole and complete person. And therefore, Ateneans are formed into this understanding: our way of holiness is essentially that of compassionate service driven by a sincere personal love for the Lord and neighbor. That is why, the center of the 5Cs is Christ.
This school year, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the slogan, “persons for others,” we shall pray to the Lord for a heart of generosity and concern for the poor. We shall abandon our “I, me and myself” world and begin to cultivate a culture that is other-centered. We shall pray for a generous heart, that is a heart that has a sense for the other person. This is the meaning of the Sanggu’s battlecry, “Sige pa.” Meaning, to give until it hurts. To love unconditionally. To be a “person for others” even if we feel that we must think about ourselves. That is why St. Ignatius prays the Prayer for Generosity. As we pray together, savor each line, pray it from the heart, like you mean it. Because WE actually mean it:
Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you and you deserve. To give and not to count the cost. To fight and not to heed the wounds. To toil and not to seek for rest. To labor and not to ask for reward. Save that I am doing your most holy will. Amen.
May the Lord bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. This is Fr. Jboy, have a great day!