Jesuit Communications Foundation’s (JesCom) newest publication, “The Miracle of the Ordinary”, made its successful launch, as the main feature on Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM’s “The Jesuit Hour” episode last Tuesday morning, August 3.
Garnering over 5,000 views via its Facebook live stream, Ateneo de Manila Junior High School Chaplain Fr. Ro Atilano SJ openheartedly shared with JesCom Executive Director, Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso SJ, the noteworthy experiences and touching reflections that led to the publishing of his book.
“Hindi ko akalain magkaroon ng libro sa panahong ito. Talagang biyaya ng Panginoong Diyos ang nagbigay daan para mangyari ito,” remarked the first-time author at the top of the broadcast.
Describing his work as “a product of several homilies and reflections based on experiences during the pandemic”, Fr. Atilano fondly recalled how the road to “The Miracle of the Ordinary” all began.
“At the start of 2020, I was with a group of pilgrims in Jerusalem—my first Holy Land pilgrimage. When we came back, Manila was already on lockdown,” he narrated.
“While we were in the Holy Land, I had daily mass with my co-pilgrims and we decided to continue celebrating the mass using Facebook video call. For a week, I was celebrating mass from my quarantine room.”
As Fr. Atilano’s virtual congregation started to grow in number, it was the idea of good friend Joyce Crisanto—whose son Isaiah was now helping set up the 4:30 pm masses on Zoom—to start transcribing and compiling his homilies with the intention of producing a book later on.
Though overwhelmed at first, it took the encouraging words of Fr. Albert Alejo SJ and Fr. Ben Nebres SJ—who heard his “Miracle of the Ordinary” homily delivered on a Radyo Katipunan mass—that ultimately convinced Fr. Atilano to push through with the project.
Asked about the inspiration for his book’s title, Fr. Atilano reflected on his own struggles dealing with the pandemic, and the heartening Ignatian message behind all these shared experiences.
“Doing ordinary, day-to-day things during these extraordinary times is difficult. How do I go back to work when I’m scared of the virus, when I’m not motivated? How can I go back to daily life and find meaning in that,” he explained.
“That’s the miracle of the ordinary, being able to find God with us even in these extraordinary times. The spirituality of St. Ignatius is ‘finding God in all things’. If we cannot find God in small, ordinary things, then how can we find Him in extraordinary ones?”
As many Christians encounter doubts and mounting anxieties in these trying times, Fr. Atilano concluded the episode by referring back to St. Ignatius’ own ‘cannonball moment’ and the consoling image of the Good Shepherd.
“The pandemic is like a leg-breaking experience for us; forcing us to look into what is most essential in life, and realign, reorient our path back to God. I reflected on the image of God as the Good Shepherd, carrying the lamb on his shoulder,” he expressed.
“The sheep can get lost over and over again, so the shepherded breaks its leg—out of love—to recognize his voice, his scent again. This is the image of God during the pandemic, a shepherd carrying us on his shoulders when we are broken. In our brokenness, we are able to find ourselves back to him and recognize his voice once more.”
“The Miracle of the Ordinary” by Fr. Ro Atilano SJ, is now available for pre-order. Send an email to email@example.com for inquiries, and reserve your copy today. You can learn more about other inspirational publications and products at jescom.ph/josh .