“One Foot Raised”, the Ateneo 2020 Ignatian Festival officially marked its opening with the celebration of the Holy Mass last Wednesday, July 1st.
Streamed via Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM, the virtual home of the month-long celebration in honor of the university’s patron saint and Jesuit founder, St.Ignatius of Loyola; Ateneo President Fr. Jett Villarin served as presider and homilist for the morning Eucharist.
“Today we begin the celebration of the Ignatian festival, where we seek to reconnect ourselves to the very wellsprings of our spirituality, our lives and the love of God. We take a pause, and be mindful of the graces and gifts we’ve received all our lives-most especially for the grace of Jesus,” greeted Fr. Jett as he welcomed the faithful to the newly renamed Radyo Katipunan online mass, Keep the Faith: Daily Mass for Hope and Healing.
After cheerfully reminding audiences of his last remaining month as university president, following many messages of thanksgiving for his long years of service, Fr. Jett began his homily by focusing on a familiar sight on campus.
“Living with ‘one foot raised’ suggests movement, mobility, freedom. But there is a statue of Ignatius, fronting the Manila Observatory, on bended knee, offering his sword to heaven- the image of his all-night vigil in Montserrat. That image though, is a bit puzzling, because those legs were dashed in battle.”
“Ignatius limped all his life because of the Battle of Pamplona. This today is Pamplona 2.0. Now like him, we are confined to quarters. We are in pain, humbled by defeat, trying to recover. We have been schooled to be persons of action, we want to get up and rise from the ruins. But we cannot. Wounds take time to heal. This is our vulnerability, our humanity,” alluded Fr. Jett to our current struggle with the COVID 19 pandemic.
Amidst these everyday challenges that seemingly become unbearable, Fr. Jett offered a valuable lesson for all to realize.
“Our lives are under siege these days: waves of fear, hope, joy, life, death, elation and numbness.
But it was while being pounded by these interior waves, that Ignatius discovered what was important and what was peripheral. We are learning to walk again, raising one foot at a time …while we recover, we will discover what it means to be free again.”
“Now we know that freedom only happens when we make choices, when we make commitments. It is about responsibility and the decisiveness that comes with the habit of discernment. Freedom is about holding on to what truly matters and having courage to let go of those little dreams that only deflect us form who we are,” he continued.
To conclude his homily, Fr. Jett reminded mass-goers to make ‘loving’ choices and find courage in the Lord.
“In this time of pandemic, may we choose life not death. May we decide to offer the better, greater love, over what is merely good. Pamplona was never the end. To live with one foot raised is to keep our faith, hope and love in motion. We know that we will be strong enough to bend our knee again. Supple enough to bend our lives in oblation, to the one who summons us, to be brave again.”
Following the prayer to St.Ignatius, Fr. Jett rallied the Ateneo community with a simple instruction for his final blessing.
“Go live with one foot raised, for the greater glory of God!”