Dear Batch 32,
Congratulations ! You have no idea how proud and happy I am of and for you.I hope that the past 10 months of your year of service have been nothing but grace. I hope you bring with you each experience, each new friend, each sunrise and sunset as signs of God's movement in each of your lives, as signs that He will never leave You.
And for those who feel weak, afraid, sad and angry , for those who are unable to find God in the darker shades of life, let me borrow words from Fr. Jet Villarin:
When the sun dances and our rosary beads turn to gold and we find the tomb empty, there is almost always something just as captivating there to nudge us to doubt.And this is just as well for we discover something deeply human and lovely in the very ambivalence of signs. It is the fuzziness itself that helps us to mean our love and our faith. Thus we can say for better, for worse (who knows, we will never be sure), we will continue to love no matter what happens. Thus can I make this profession in love: even if I am not sure about your love for me, I am sure about my love for you. Even if I do not know you forgive me, I will ask for your forgiveness.Thus can I make this confession in faith: even if I do not always see your presence, I will be present to you. Even if things are not clear, and especially because things are not clear, I will continue to entrust myself and risk loving you.Whatever difficulty you are in, whatever hardships are yet to come, in the middle of uncertainty, my prayer for you is this: that you still choose service, that you still choose love, that you still choose to love.I hope you remember that the darkest of moments are also the greatest opportunities to love God, to be with Jesus Forsaken ( this is the image of Christ in His weakest and loneliest moment. May this be the image you bring in your own lonely moments. ) In your weakest and loneliest moments, embrace Jesus Forsaken. Thus can I make this confession in faith: even if I do not always see your presence, I will be present to you. Even if things are not clear, and specially because things are not clear, I will continue to entrust myself and risk loving you.Wherever life takes you, please continue to serve and love. Last Holy Thursday, while the priest was washing the feet of the "disciples", I found myself crying, both in joy and in sadness. Joy - because of the realization that this is what I wish to do with my life and that this is where I am happiest : in serving just as Christ served. But there is also loneliness in this realization because I know that this path will not be easy and that there will be many times when the burden becomes too heavy that I would want to give up. But still : Even if things are not clear, and especially because things are not clear, I will continue to entrust myself and risk loving you.
Batch 32, go into the world that's thirsty for love, that's hungry for able and generous hands. (Pumalaot kayo sa mundong uhaw sa pagmamahal at gutom sa mga kamay na bukas-palad.) Do not be afraid and know that you are never alone, that you will never alone. This world needs you. Embrace God, Embrace this world.
Mahal na mahal ko kayo.