Second Day: Hope The Spiritual Legacy in the life and virtues of the servant of god, Ignacia del Espiritu santo.
“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire and await that God will grant us life eternal for our happiness, placing our faith in the promises of Christ and our expectation in the grace of the Holy Spirit to merit and persevere until the end..” (Translation from the Compendio del Catechismo della Chiesa Catholica. P. 387)
Reflection: “The Servant of God had great hope…” These words are applied to our Mother in the process of the deliberation of the Congress of Theologians in Rome.

The record of the first adult aspirations of the Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, to dedicate her life to a closer following of Christ in a religious community, reflected this disposition: the expectation to be acceptable to God even as an Yndia one generation after the colony’s conversion to the faith. The resolution by which she responded to the charism she received during her retreat underscores the virtue of hope that formed one of the fundamental dispositions of her spiritual life.

“There, (during the course of her retreat) God inspired her to remain in the service of His Majesty.” This was the gift the Lord granted her for the service of His people: the charism for her vocation. Ignacia’s response to the initiative of God was unique in the Church as well as in her times. Women in Europe as well as in the colony needed the protection of father or husband in society. Fiscal stability was required of any social initiative. But Ignacia was not an española. In her veins run the blood of two cultures with a different set of social values: The Chinese valued industry and hard work; the yndio, resourcefulness and self sacrifice. In answer to the invitation to “remain in the service of His Majesty,” Ignacia “resolved to live by the sweat of her brow,” although she had parents who could decently support her. And from her home she brought her sewing kit, representing her skills by which she would earn her keep. Her faith made her recognize God’s invitation, her hope prompted her to “cast off into the deep” with a pair of scissors and her needle. Thus, another theologian said: “The decision to dedicate herself to God in 1684 was fruit of an act of hope. By the Spiritual Exercises and spiritual direction she underwent a serious discernment, abandoning herself to the bounty of God. Having arrived at her decision, she pursued this up to the end.”

The test to Ignacia’s HOPE will run through her lifetime and beyond. Because of her decision not to depend on her family’s resources but to “live by the sweat of her brow,” she and the other native women who joined her in a common search for the life of perfection, had to live in “extreme poverty.” She and her companions clung to the hope that the Father will provide, but at the same time they had to work for their living. Theirs was the delicate balance between native industry and resourcefulness, and complete trust in Divine Providence. Further, the same theologian continues, “Her firm hope in God urged her to labor with great insistence that was sustained in the face of the difficulties before her.”

Prayer: God of power and hopefulness, teach us to place our confidence in Your abiding love for us. After the example of Your handmaid Ignacia, help us to appreciate the dignity of honest labor and the value of being poor with Your Son, Jesus Christ. GLORY BE…
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