Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A New Presence

This afternoon, I attended the wake of my former student, who has been in a coma for a little over a year. His sister came over to me. We've met just a few times when I visited at the hospice. She said she's a little sad. I found myself saying to her, "Kor kor will still be seeing you... from heaven. And you'll still get to see him. Just that, this time, you'll see him in your heart."A new way of being present to each other. No longer physically but in spirit. The same person, the same love, the same importance and intimate relationship, taking on a different form of be-ing.

Partings are never easy when one shares in a deep relationship with the other. And I believe it was the same for the apostles and the women we see in the Gospels in the time between Jesus' death and resurrection; the sudden dramatic departure of their Master brought them a deep sadness and loss. But there came the Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost. 

In this series of events, the apostles and the faithful women had to allow the presence of Jesus in their lives to take on a new form. Moving from the familiarity of His physical presence with them before His death, then seeing Him in a form they could not recognise as in the case of Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, recognising Him in their hearts as their " hearts burn within... as he talked... on the road and explained the scriptures..." (Lk 24:32)  and thereafter, being sent forth in mission, during which, in spreading the good news, in founding the Church of Christ, in continuing the legacy of their Master, they went beyond the need for His physical presence. For this presence is more than within their physical space; Jesus began to live anew in their hearts and is present in the very work they did, in their very lives, and even becomes the purpose for their living. They became truly one in union with their beloved Master, and what deeper union can there be?

Rome and Assisi are two very special places to me. I have been blessed to visit each twice. I asked myself if I need to go back again. It would be nice if I had the chance to but if I don't, that's alright too. I have come to understand that a physical absence does not mean that they now become any less dear to me or that I feel a weakening connection with them. They have taken a different form of presence in my life and more so, my love for them grows and concretise. They are now deeply and permanently embedded in a very special space in my heart. Whenever I get in touch with their presence in my heart, I am reconnected in a nostalgic reminiscing, treasuring with a grateful heart the spiritual transformation in those encounters which have shaped me into the person I am today. 

To be separated is not making smaller or less significant a person, a love or a relationship. 

Are there people in your life you hold really dear to you? And perhaps, for some reason, you are called to let go of an old way of being in relationship with this person so as to embrace the new? 
What was your response? 

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