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Farewell Message of Fr. Roque J. Ferriols, S.J.


As dictated to Dr. Leovino Ma. Garcia at The Medical City on 11 November 2017 from 10 AM to 12:15 PM. Read by Dr. Leo Garcia at the Funeral Mass for Fr Ferriols:


There is a prayer which we always used to say in San Beda after Holy Communion: “Lord, I accept at Thy hand whatever kind of death it may please Thee to send me, with all its pains, penalties and sorrows.”


Somebody might say that he studied in San Beda and he does not remember saying that prayer. Well, I remember because I read it in my prayer book and it has stood me in good stead. For the rest of my life, it always reminded me of what was worth remembering at every moment of my existence. It accompanied me during my years in San Beda College, a school founded by the Benedictines of Montserrat. It accompanied me during my years at the Ateneo de Manila, a school founded remotely but truly by the Benedictines of Montserrat. And through all the ups and downs of life, through all the sins and failures of life, there was always this reminder we have accepted from God whatever kind of death it may please Him to send you.


But God had answered my acceptance by telling me that it was He who accepted my acceptance. That without His acceptance, I would not have thought of accepting whatever kind of death it might please Him to send me. I will not have thought of accepting His acceptance, for He has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him, and He does not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength, and He does not abandon those who did not first abandon Him.


Our acceptance of death means our acceptance of what is really worthwhile in life, a listening to a constant call to a brightness shedding light over the darkness of concupiscence.



Lux in Domino (Light in the Lord) is the motto of the Ateneo. It has stood me in good stead through war and peace, through light and darkness, through understanding and misunderstanding because the Light is not something but Someone: Jesus Christ.


And the Jesuit style of following Christ is by obeying Him in the voice of your superiors who represent Him. How do you respect the superiors who represent Christ? You can fight with them all you want but in the end, you do what you are told because they listen to you all that you want. And out of this confusion emerges harmony, or so we hope; or if it does emerge, it is Christ’s doing, not ours.


I have spent most of my life teaching at the Ateneo and you can take me out of the Ateneo but you cannot take the Ateneo out of me. I have spent the last part of my life growing blind and that means remembering the things I have seen and intensifying the sound of the voices that I hear and I have come to realize what a beautiful world of sight and sound the Good Lord has made.


The poet says that God created memory so that we could have roses in December. And I say God created memory so that blind people can remember how beautiful to the eyes the world is.

I have spent the last part of my life remembering the things I have seen—the mountains of the Sierra Madre as seen from Sampaloc, those of Baguio when they were still full of pine trees, the sun setting over Manila Bay, the canyons of Bukidnon. What a beautiful world God has made and how hard we have worked at destroying its beauty. But we have not succeeded. Thank God!


For just as we believe in the resurrection of the body, so also we look forward to the resurrection of the world. For God tells us that there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.


“There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went; Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."***


And now I say goodbye in the words of Jose Rizal, “Adios queridos seres!”


Goodbye dear beings! I forgive all those who have injured me and I ask pardon of all those I have injured. And I ask you who are listening and even those who are not listening to me to commend my soul to the mercy of God in Whom we all place our trust.


- Fr Roque Ferrios, SJ


**


Watch the whole Interment Mass aired on Radyo Katipunan at this link.


***

This is from God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Here is the full poem:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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