The phases of the moon come and go; but the moon remains. So does the Spirit: She comes; she remains.
The Spirit comes and helps build up mission. The Spirit remains in people’s hearts as mission is deemed accomplished and the missionary can move on to the frontiers, where the Spirit continues to send her. The greatest joy of the missionary in handing over mission is to hear from the lay people, “The Spirit lives on!” We are the legacy that will live the ‘Truth in Love’. (Eph 4:15)
Yes, there is undoubtedly sadness and grief when a cherished 100-year old institution closes its doors. Yet, there is the marked surrender to the gentle strength of the Spirit, who re-assures, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter and Helper to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth… You know this Spirit, for it abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
Now, in this terminal year of our school’s operation and while coping with the pandemic, we can claim and be sustained by the abiding presence of the Spirit. How true: the chaos that we experience is the workshop for the Spirit’s re-ordering. There is no other way but to flow with the Spirit’s movement. This leads me to recall with gratitude the foundation years of our Congregation. Then, our pioneering sisters struggled with countless challenges. Yet, they kept focused on ‘mission’ and on the ‘Lord of Mission’. The joy of the Spirit helped them do what they were sent to do. When things did not turn out the way they were planned, the words of St. Arnold Janssen inspired them: “We will not want it if God does not want it.”
Moving on, we carry in our hearts the joy of mission accomplished: the graduates who have distinguished themselves in all fields of human endeavor, who continue to make a difference in the world they live in, and who proclaim in their lives “The Spirit lives on!”
God has poured out the Spirit on everyone. He chooses whom he chooses. We, can we ask ourselves, “Are we the willing partners of the Spirit in mission today?”
Eden Panganiban, SSpS, is from Philippines (PHN) and lives in Manila. She has been in leadership positions since 1989, including two terms in congregational leadership in Rome (1996-2008) and as provincial of the Philippines-North Province (2010-2016). The former President of the College of the Holy Spirit Manila, she currently is helping the school community transition from actively managing a 114-year old college to being a support to lay management.
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