Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jesuit Priest Preached at the MIM Convention

Rev. Fr. Edward F. Salmon, SJ, President of McQuaid Jesuit School, Rochester, New York

A disciple is a follower of the teachings of someone upholding and defending his beliefs or doctrines, with a relationship that is personal and devoted.  The disciple helps spread the teachings of the master.  In a homily delivered by Father Edward F. Salmon, SJ, referred to Mother Ignacia as a disciple of Christ, found in the following excerpt:  "... Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, like the Blessed Mother to whom she was devoted, was a disciple of Jesus Christ.  She, like Jesus, she , like Mary, heard the word of God and kept it by living it in her life.  You remember in Luke's gospel how Jesus was out preaching and teaching and saying all sorts of wonderful things.  There was a little old lady sitting in the crowd and she looked up at Him and cried out: 'Blessed be the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.'  And Jesus said : 'O yes, but ...blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it."  

To elaborate on what Jesus said, Father Salmon continued to say that having heard the word of god one has to keep it and live it in one's life.  "It doesn't matter what nation you belong to, what people you come from, what matters is that you hear the word of God and keep it by living in keeping with that word."  This word of God comes in various ways.  Jesus heard from the Father: "You are my beloved Son;  My favor rests on you."  Mary heard it from the Angel Gabriel:  "Hail Mary, you have found favor with God."  Mother Ignacia heard the voice while discerning during her retreat, "...My favor rests on your.  I love you just as you are."

Moreover, father Salmon showed how Jesus kept and lived the word He heard from the father.  He knew that the Father loved Him and whatever Jesus did was motivated by such love.  To him that was more important than anything else.  Rules and regulations would have to give way to that love He has for the Father--the Father who loves all human beings and would attend to their needs.  So rules and regulations would attend to their needs.  So rules of the Sabbath had to give way to answer the greater needs of the people like harvesting the grain regardless of traditions followed by the Pharisees.

Mary, on her part, had her FIAT which was motivated by the love.  She accepted to be the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus.  From the moment she bore Him in her womb up to the time He was nailed on the Cross, Mary was keeping and living the word of God.  As a devotee of Mary, Mother Ignacia imitated her in being a disciple of Christ.  father Salmon portrayed Mother Ignacia's discipleship in the following text : "...Mother Ignacia had heard the word of God and chose to live by that word...she dared, therefore, to do something unheard of, something very deep, something very intimate, but all in response to God's will.  She heard God's word...'My favor rests on you, Yndia and mestiza that you are, therefore, live in my love and bring that love to your sisters.'  And so she dared to do something unheard of of because she knew she was loved and wanted others to taste and to share in that love of God and therefore she did indeed found a new religious community made up of her fellow Yndias and mestizas. those days any community of religious women had to stay behind the monastery walls...but don't dare go out.  And as time went on, Mother Ignacia again living in keeping with the word she heard moved out and the sisters moved out with her."

Then Father Salmon pointed out what the Beatas did, namely:  inviting women to make retreats, educating girls and emerging themselves in the socio-cultural situation of Manila in the Philippines.  He recalled what Jesus did before He died when He entrusted the work of God to His followers  when He said : "As the Father sent Me, so I send you."  Mother Ignacia mirrored this when she abdicated her superiorship of the foundation she established, to a younger member and became herself one among the ranks several years before she died.  Indeed that was the true discipleship of Mother Ignacia.

Exhorting his audience, father Salmon concluded his homily saying: "...we gathered here to remember that as God worked in her (Mother Ignacia), so too God works in us and we too have been entrusted as she was with the word of God that says to us, You are My beloved, My favor rests on you to bring the word of love to the people with whom you live and work and have your being." 

Jesuit National Shrine of the North American Martyr's in Auriesville, New York, was the venue of the MIM activity.

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