Manresa Moments: Week of August 16



Friday, August 21: Vas a Ver

John Paul Ramirez, Campus Minister for Regional Service


In Heroic Leadership (2003), Chris Lowney recounts briefly Ignatius’ arrival to the cave in Manresa, the town in Spain where he is said to have written the Spiritual Exercises. He writes, “Intending to rest there a few days, he stayed a year. Words failed his later attempts to describe with precision what happened there.” 

The following is a humble attempt to describe what has taken place in the Manresa spaces of my heart over the last few months. While I can name that this time has been incredibly formative, it has not been without its genuine challenges “to find God in all things.” I think that a majority of us thought or wished this period of quarantine would have only lasted “for a few days,” but several months later, here we are in the midst of two global and public pandemics, Covid-19 and Systemic Racism. With millions of people having been affected and thousands more each day, I do not need to further exhaust the litany of uncertainties that we are all facing at this time. In good Jesuit form, I strive to begin and end each day in gratitude, specifically, for the ground under my feet, the roof over my head, the access to clean water and food, my job that serves as my vocation, and for the opportunity to love and to be loved. I also give thanks for the ability to think, to reason, and to doubt, which has led me many times to ask, “Where is God in all this”? If I truly search my heart, I begin to wonder if perhaps God might not be fully present in the response from thousands of people speaking up and acting for justice for the least of these. Perhaps God is present in the wealth of resources that have been created and shared generously online and through social media. Perhaps God is in the tears from honest conversations some of us have had with friends and family surrounding racial injustice. Perhaps the God of love and mercy (whom I pray to) is revealed in a thin piece of plastic with two pink lines given by a wife to her husband in March that reveals their lives are about to change forever. 

At the time I write this, we are a little more than halfway through our first pregnancy, which sounds odd because my wife has definitely done all the heavy lifting. One of the most challenging parts for me these last few months has been not being allowed to be present at any of my wife’s doctor’s appointments due to hospital safety regulations. This pales in comparison to what so many have had to face during this time. As I reflect on this a bit more, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed and deeply concerned about the current state of our country and world. Indeed, the anticipation of our child’s birth (November 2020) has been the constant source of comfort, hope, and joy throughout our time in Manresa. 

Last month, on the day of our 5th wedding anniversary, we shared the news publicly in the most official way our generation knows how, through Facebook.  Also, rather than a gender reveal, we opted for a name reveal as a way to respect and honor our LGTBQ+ brothers, sisters, and siblings.


My dearest, Micah 

During this time in history, there was so much unrest, pain, and division in our country. We were in serious need of healing and reconciliation. For your mother and I, you were that beacon of hope, our silver lining, our God in all things. Since #lovetrumpshate and love always wins, things eventually changed and our world learned to love better. We want you to know that everything about you is intentional. Therefore, with intention, we waited to share the news about your soon to be arrival with our friends on this thing called "social media" on the exact day of our 5-year wedding anniversary. You should already know two things: First, your parents love each other very much. Second, we love YOU and we were already so in love with you before you were born. These are the moments from that famous ultrasound day in which we found out what your name would be.

All my love,

Your dad


We had the honor and privilege of naming our child after one of our favorite verses from the Hebrew Scriptures in which the prophet Micah says, “He has told you, O Mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, NRSV HarperCollins Study Bible).

These last few months have afforded me more than a handful of opportunities to reflect more deeply on concepts and beliefs that I have become so comfortably accustomed to accepting. One of these is parental love, a love I always thought resembled most closely God’s unconditional love for humanity. I am fortunate to have experienced this love through the words and deeds of my mother. To borrow language from the Kairos retreat, she is a result of God’s friendship. Among the many affirming sayings I heard from her growing up, such as “Mi pedacito de Cielo” (my little piece of Heaven), “Mi corazon” (my heart), and “Dame un besito” (give me a little kiss), I specifically recall the phrase, “Vas a Ver” (You will see).  Note that this was usually prompted by something I had done or said that most likely warranted a correction. After consulting with a few friends who also grew up in Spanish-speaking households, they often heard this phrase as well. 

In his chapter on love-driven leadership, Lowney writes, “Love was the glue that unified the Jesuit company, a motivating force that energized their efforts…Love is the lens through which individual Jesuits beheld the world around them.  It changed not only the way Jesuits looked at others but what they saw.” My mother now uses that phrase “Vas a Ver” to speak on all the joys of what to expect in parenthood. As incredibly irrational as it may be to grow deeper in love each day for a human we have yet to meet, I wholeheartedly trust her words of prophetic hope, “Vas a Ver.” 

It is my hope and prayer for all of us that we strive to continue believing that our world can and will heal with, through and for love, because in my heart, I hear God’s resounding voice telling us, “Trust me, you will see.”




More for Reflection

  • In what ways has love shaped the lens through which you behold the world around you? 
  • For what do you hope in this time of uncertainty and woundedness? 
  • In what ways might God be asking you to trust and see?



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