I thought there was nothing to write today, which is ok. I walked out of the AHS chapel after another quiet morning of prayer, out onto the dancing acacias and beautiful sprawling greens of the Ateneo campus bathed in sun on this crisp Feb morning after valentines. I was already starting my work day thoughts – and then he stopped me. He stopped me in the form of one of his living saints who held my hand in his as we spoke for a precious few minutes. It could not have been more than ten.
Onofre Pagsanghan is 90 years old. Today he is on his way home at 830 in the morning because, as he confided, he was tired from yesterday’s giving. He gave 2 recollections to 2 sets of high school boys and by his own words “it took a lot from me; these kids really need help”. I believe he meant kids nowadays in general. Then he had to manage his legendary theatre group in the annual staging of the Valentine’s classic of all classics, Sibol’s Sinta; followed by the customary thanksgiving dinner with alums that all in all kept the old man awake past 11. All this on top of his usual academic load with the honors section – at the age of 90, some 60 plus years of teaching Ateneo high school students.
It is only now, after he left and let go of my hand, that it dawned on me why this 90 year old legend even bothered to show up today knowing he was leaving at 830am to rest his weary bones. He did not tell me but I know: because his Sibol and honors section boys always sing at the Wednesday 7am Mass. He is always there, and the most wonderful thing is how he musters all that he has in his 90 year old body, puts the cane aside, to personally give the Body of Christ to every one of his boys.
When I grow up I want to be like you, Pagsi. Tired, but not exhausted; because there is always something more to give. I want to work to my last breath because the only work I want is the Lord’s work is the work of Love, and it never ends. And I see in your tiredness, Pagsi, the radiant peace and joy and energy that makes you eternal.
Here’s to the saints among us and in all of us! AMDG!