Miko Lambino: A Pilgrimage

The author: Mr. Marcelo Clement III Q. Lambino teaches Christian Life Education at the Ateneo High School. This is his first year of teaching. This reflection has been delivered over the PA System today, 29 June 2015  for our common weekly reflection which is usually done every Monday. It sets the spiritual tone for the week and builds a culture of Ignatian reflection.

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Miko Lambino
Miko Lambino reads the Scripture on the 28th of June 2015, Sunday Family Mass of the Ateneo High School. Miko is an alumnus of the Ateneo HS (Batch 2011). After his college graduation, he returns to AHS to teach CLE.

Today, I invite you to look at all the blessings that you have: your family, your friends, your education, your opportunities, your achievements and successes. Now, imagine yourself slowly taking them off one-by-one. Imagine what it would be like and how you would be like without all of these. What is left of you? Who are you underneath all of these?

This morning, we ask for God to give us the grace to see who we truly are underneath, to be able to answer the question: Who am I?

I would like to share with you an excerpt from the autobiography of St. Ignatius. “At nightfall, unobserved by any one, Ignatius approached a beggar, and taking off his own costly garments gave them to the beggar. He then put on the pilgrim’s clothing, he had previously bought, and hastened to the church, where he threw himself on his knees before the altar of the Blessed Mother of God…”

There are three lessons that we can learn from this incident in the life of St. Ignatius.

First is that, if we want to follow Christ, we have to be ready to give up the things that we hold dear.

Ignatius gave up his costly garments to the beggar because he was not in need of them. But the beggar was. We are not saying that you should give up everything you have, completely, all in one go and live on scraps for the rest of your life. We do not want that. That is not the point. The point is that, If God calls you to do so, are you willing to do it. If someone else needs them more than you do, will you part from your possessions? Will you be ready to leave it all behind and follow Him as the Rich Young Man that you are?

Ignatius teaches us here of the value of “spiritual indifference”. Spiritual indifference is to not prefer a “healthy life over sickness, riches over poverty, etc.” It is to be able to discern that all of these – intelligence, wealth, experience, health, even poverty, sickness, and suffering – are just means to an end, not ends in themselves. The ultimate end is to praise, love and revere God. God is there in your hopes and joys. For if He is not then to whom do we send up our praises? God is also there in your suffering and pain because if He is not, then who do we hold on to?

The second lesson is related to St. Ignatius putting on the pilgrim’s clothes which he bought previously.

I heard a short story from a homily before about a rabbi and some travellers. There were two travellers that were passing through a town. Tired from their long journey, they wanted to rest a bit. They stumbled upon the house of a rabbi and asked if they could come in. The rabbi agreed. When they entered his house, they were surprised by what they saw. The rabbi only had 3 things inside: a chair for sitting, a table for eating and a bed for sleeping. They asked him why he had so little to call his own. The rabbi answered, “Because like you, I am also travelling.”

St. Ignatius put on his pilgrim clothes not only because he wanted to humble himself but also because, like the rabbi and like all of us, he was on that pilgrimage which we call life. All that we have and that we have acquired in this life, we will leave behind. Let us not go about aimlessly searching and striving for shallow things that we cannot bring with us. Rather, let us search for, strive for and journey on to Him who will bring us home.

The third lesson we take from the end of the excerpt. St. Ignatius hastens to the church and throws himself, on his knees, before the altar.

Every pilgrimage and journey has a destination.

What better destination can there be than the house of the Lord? We are all trying to go where we will find happiness. It is not selfish for us to do so. Naturally, since we are made by Him who abounds in joy and glory, our search for joy and glory abounds as well. If we are willing to travel down that path, by His grace and our hope, we will one day get there. You may begin to question why we should help the poor if we will all end up happy and peaceful someday. Well, here’s another question, what’s wrong with making their journey a little bit easier? But there is more to it than that.

In my immersion experience, I was blessed to meet one of the mothers in Brgy. Escopa IV. She, along with her 5 kids lived in house as big as my room that was propped up from the sewage canal underneath. Inside, there was no bed, no chair, no table, no bathroom, no faucet and no sink; just a linoleum matt to sleep on. The mother works very hard to send her kids to school but she does not have a job. Every morning, she pushes a cart from Escopa in Project 4 to Kamias, then E. Rodriguez and back selling balot.

When I asked her, “How do you know if you can make enough to eat for the day?”

She answered, “I do not know.”

When I asked, “Aren’t you tired?” she said, “I am very tired.”

I asked, “What keeps you going?”

She said, “I trust in Him for us.”

If we are searching for Christ, we do not need to look very far. Beyond all reason, beyond all feeling, and sometimes even beyond all hope, they still carry their cross forward as Christ did.

Who are you underneath? If you take off all that you have been given and all that you have acquired, you will end up staring at something so basic, yet so profound and ridiculously beautiful that no fancy garment can ever seek to outshine. You need only to look and see that you are His. And that alone will make you go forward.

Please stand for the prayer.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, Here I am.

Do with me what You must

And I will wager my life that I will find no greater joy than that.

St Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

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