31st of March 2016, 1:00PM – On board three buses, the personnel of Malate Catholic School, Sta. Clara Parish School and Ermita Catholic School went to the mountainous place of Alfonso, Cavite for their annual retreat – a three-day, usual short-cut, Ignacian retreat.
The personnel were led to contemplate on a mountain experience where they would meet God and encounter Him intimately. Schooled in the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, their facilitator-companion is a Jesuit himself, in the person of Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Montesclaros, who is currently assigned as professor of Loyola School of Theology of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU). In contemplation, Fr. Manol, as fondly called by his friends, led the personnel in climbing up the mountain of Sinai where they renewed their covenant with God. They were also encouraged to pass by the mountain where Jesus gave the Beatitudes. The passing through required that they take time to have a long-loving look at him as they pondered on the “be-attitudes” taught in that mountain. However, an interesting stop over was at Mt. Calvary where Jesus gave all of Himself.
The perfect self-giving is encased in the mystery of the paschal mystery that served as a living testimony of His love for all humanity. The usual menu in the spiritual exercises were excellently ordered by Fr. Manol crafted artistically with his unique exposition of each session from the principles and foundations down to the last element of the spiritual exercises. The over-all rhythm of the retreat revolved on the cosmos and all that it contains most especially the messages behind the stories of creation until Jesus’ existence. All the stories taught the personnel how to live an orderly, beautiful and fruitful life, doing more of those that would help them attain the end for which they had been destined and avoid those that would block the way to their end which is to be with God. The mountain experience culminated with a Mass at 10:30am on April 2, 2016. The personnel went home bringing with them God’s salvific words transforming challenges into learning experiences.