Message: Indayog 2021. Fiesta. Feast of the Assumption.

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 73rd Ateneo Fiesta!  I am happy to echo what Samahan President Karlo Torreon has stated, “This is one of the most highly anticipated events in the academic year.”  So let its anticipation not disappoint!  Let us all come together and enjoy ourselves! 

This year’s fiesta is branded as Indayog 2021.

As you may know, in Filipino, Indayog means rhythm.  It may refer to the rhythms of music.  There will certainly be a lot of music in this Fiesta!  The rhythms of songs of festivity and dances of celebration!

But Indayog also means the rhythms in poetry.  The rhythms in the words, the rhythms in the lines, honoring, remembering, celebrating life and life’s rhythms. 

Remember: in Davao, life is here, the rhythm of day followed by night, the rhythm of the hot season followed by the wet season, the wet season followed by the dry season, the dry season followed by the hot.  The rhythm of waking and sleeping, of going to work and coming home from work, of weekdays and Sundays.

For the longest time, it was the rhythm of going to Ateneo, and going home from Ateneo, of being with family and then of being with teachers and friends.  The rhythms of generations going to Ateneo and graduating from Ateneo, of living life and generating life, and of generating the generation that again goes to Ateneo.  These are beautiful rhythms.  And they are profound. 

In the Bible, there’s the beautiful passage from Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth which expresses the same experience of rhythm in life: 

There is an appointed time for everything,
and an appointed time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

The rhythms repeat and repeat and repeat, until you’d think their rhythms are eternal. 
But against these rhythms we also have another experience:

The rhythm of winter, spring, summer and fall, which in the song reminds us of friendship and the loyalty of friendship (“…winter, spring, summer, and fall all you’ve got to do is call…you’ve got a friend!”) is disrupted by climate change in nature and the fickleness of human commitments in love.  The rhythms of face-to-face friendships in schools and workplaces and face-to-face encounters at home are disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.  What was once so taken for granted in the mesmerizing rhythms of life is disrupted by the unexpected and the unwanted.  What was so deserving of celebration has suddenly become toxic.   What was perceived to be a timeless rhythm, is now disappointment.  Frustration. Where once we could say, Life is here, now we can say, a year and a half into the pandemic, Death is here as well.  Sure, that rhythm of life and death we’ve acknowledged!  But this is not just a lifeless assertion of life.  I know the people who have died.  They were my relatives, my friends.  I know their names. 

The rhythm that we celebrate in this fiesta is of another dimension.  The rhythm of God speaking to us in love, and of our speaking to God in love, of God inviting and man responding, as Mary did when she said, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”  The rhythm of God leading and man obeying, of man searching and God disclosing – through the interior rhythms of consolation and desolation, of sin and forgiveness, of frustration and recovery, of despair and hope.  St. Paul says our ultimate hope is in the glory of God.  This is what we ultimately look forward to, present to us now, but only partially, like in a mirror dimly.  But it is that which lifts us out of the ruts we repeatedly find ourselves stuck in as we negotiate the treacherous rhythms of life.  Mary assumed body and soul into heaven, helps lift us up out of these ruts to bring us to intimacy with her Son and the certain glory of God in heaven. 

In celebrating Indayog 21, the rhythm of life and the music take us through Mary, assumed into Heaven, ultimately to the glory of God.  It was through Mary that Jesus became Emmanuel, God-with-us, and through Jesus that Mary is now with God, bathed in the light of his glory.  Mary in heaven is our hope that we too will get there, that we too will stand before the glory of God unto his greater glory.  It is the hope that we treasure and celebrate, the future that this Fiesta leads us to. 

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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