Thirdy Ravena reflects on the Ignatian, soldierly value of discipline

July 23, 2013
By: 
Thirdy Ravena; Photos by Dondi Nolasco

Mr. FERDINAND “Thirdy” C. RAVENA III
Class of 4-F 2014
Ateneo de Manila High School
Thursday, 18 July 2013

“In my life as an Atenean and an athlete, how do I practice and show the Ignatian soldierly value of discipline in my daily life?”
 
If we look up the meaning of discipline in the dictionary, it means to "train [oneself in a manner] that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.”
 
My life has always been about being a student-athlete, about having enough discipline to balance my academics, extra-curricular activities, my time with my family and my relationship with God on a daily basis.
 
Let me tell you some things about my daily schedule:
 

  • I wake up at 5:30 am and take a shower, then go to school.

 

  • When I get to school at about 6:45 am, I immediately ask my classmates what subjects/s we’re going to have quizzes on. Sometimes, if I’m lucky and there aren’t any quizzes, I go and hear mass with Fr. Jboy in the Kostka Chapel.

 

  • Then the school schedule follows.

 

  • After school, I change to my basketball attire and rush to the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center for our basketball practice which lasts for about 2 or 2 ½ hours from 4-6 or 6:30 pm. Tiring, but still not done. After that, I  head to my tutoring center in one of the offices in Moro for another 2 hours.

 

  • After I end my tutoring session at about 8:30, I head home to have dinner with my family.

 

  • I finish around 9:30 and if there is homework that requires the use of a computer, that’s when I do it.

 

  • After all of those, I fix myself, get ready for bed while I’m resting or before I go to sleep. I talk to God in the most humane way possible, because I talk to God like He’s my best friend. This somehow helps me whenever I reflect on the things I’ve done and should’ve done on that day. After the reflection and solemn prayer, I go to sleep.

 

  • The next day starts again…

 
Well, these may sound very tiring to do for a day, but imagine doing it everyday for 9-10 months…
 
For me, discipline may be the bridge between goals and accomplishments. However, the example of St. Ignatius compels me to ask myself: “Is this the same kind of discipline which moves me closer to God?”
 
In one small and very unexpected way, it is. In today’s gospel, Christ said: “Come to me, all of you who are burdened; and I will give you rest.” St. Ignatius, a man of both soldierly discipline and courage, also grew tired in the midst of all of his worldly ambitions. Paradoxical though it may be, it was precisely this exhaustion from all of his worldly desires which most probably predisposed him to open himself to God, who spoke to him during his recovery through the books about Christ and the saints which led to his conversion.
 
St. Ignatius’ example therefore poses to me questions similar to the one I asked earlier, but from a different perspective: “How can I use my sense of discipline for the greater glory of God?”, “How can I use my sense of discipline in answering positively to God’s invitation for me to be a man-for-others?” The challenge now for me is no longer to simply persevere in being disciplined, but to channel that same sense of discipline into being of service of others. The challenge now for me is no longer to keep up with the heavy demands of my daily schedule and to score great achievements, but to understand exactly how I can use the fruits of my labors and my achievements for the greater glory of God.
 
I won’t pretend to have easy answers to those questions but I do sincerely pray that, with St. Ignatius’ intercession and his example of humility, discipline and generosity, I shall one day learn to be what God invites me to be: “isang tao para sa kapwa”!     
 
Let us pray…
 
Heavenly Father, we pray that we may bring Your life and Your love to others through the gifts and talents You have given us.   Help us to be the people  You want us to be. Teach us to find ourselves amidst this journey we call life. Grant us the grace of courage, discipline, and perseverance so that we may come out stronger knowing who we are, what we are here for and what we can become.
 
With your grace, may your love fill our hearts and let it exceed our ourselves so that that same love may continue to flow to other people through our actions, deeds, and words; making us your servants to bring love and service to everyone. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.
 
St. Ignatius of Loyola,
Pray for us.