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When Tatay passed away four years ago, I initially saw God as only taking away a blessing from my life. I perceived it solely as death, a cross, a pain, an anguish that I must endure. But what I failed to recognize was God’s choice of the date for Tatay to return to heaven. The date was the 31st of July, the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
What are the gifts of St. Ignatius of Loyola to the Church?
There are two. The first is that St. Ignatius teaches us to find God in everything. The second is that St. Ignatius instructs us to find beauty in detachment.
Reflecting on the event from four years ago, I realize now that July 31, 1995 was not just the day when my dear father was taken away from me, or a loving husband was taken away from my mother.
Rather, it was a blessing at that specific moment, the grace of St. Ignatius that became our source of consolation.
How do we find God in everything? It is easy to find God in convenience and comfort. But it is also important that we find God not only in these instances but also in death, sickness, and pain—in everything. God is Emmanuel. He is “God with us.” The name of God is not “God with us only in comfort.” His name is not “God with us during daytime.” The name of God is not confined to life. The name of God is “God is with us in life and in death, in sickness and in health, on earth as in heaven.” The second gift of St. Ignatius is detachment. I have learned about detachment from this saint whom we commemorate today. But this detachment does not signify less love. On the contrary, he demonstrated that we can love more and in a superior way if we are more detached. Sometimes our love suffers due to excessive attachment. Sometimes our love suffers because we do not grant our loved ones the freedom to be themselves.
But through the spirit of detachment, we are able to perceive more clearly the power of love and friendship, because nothing can separate us from God.
Today, as we remember another anniversary, let us thank God, not only for the passing of Tatay, but also for the “time” He called Tatay to heaven. It was on the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and through him, God told us then, and is telling us now, that He is in everything and that we can find Him with a spirit of detachment. Through St. Ignatius of Loyola, Tatay gave us his final blessing.
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