I am always humbled in my spirit when I recall the inception of the ICCRS Sub-Committee for Asia-Oceania (ISAO) on December 9th and 10th, of 2006. 42 leaders from the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania met together in Singapore and spent time praying, sharing, discerning, and planning under the auspices of ICCRS and ISAO was birthed. It was then reconstituted in December, 2010.
We have been given much and seen much over the years. In the gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, our journeys have been strengthened and empowered to discover that God indeed is “with us” and “for us”. It is in this Baptismal Grace bestowed to us, that He has made it possible for us to foster our dimension of communion with one another.
That is the mission of ISAO, to serve the CCR in Asia and Oceania as a center of unity, communication and cooperation in order to fulfill Christ’s desire, “that they may all be one” (John 17:21), and to keep Christ’s body without division (1 Cor 12:4-31).
May we not forget that the Savior’s prayer on the night before His death speaks volumes of his heartbeat for a church that rests on the foundation of love and unity. Undoubtedly, such unity is a powerful fortress against the adversary of our soul.
Blessed Paul VI in (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 77) said “The Lord’s spiritual testament tells us that unity among his followers is not only the proof that we are his but also the proof that he is sent by the Father. It is the test of the credibility of Christians and of Christ himself. Yes, the destiny of evangelization is certainly bound up with the witness of unity given by the Church”
That is exactly what it is – for our mission to be effective, communities must be united, that is, they must be “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32)
As Asia – Oceania, we God’s people, may be scattered throughout the nations, but we are held together in Jesus Christ. “Where two or three are gathered in my name,” Jesus told them, “there I am among them.” United to Christ, we are invited to be members of a community beyond our imagination because of the One in our midst.
Of course I also want to add that the commitment towards love and unity can only find its complete expression in common prayer. When God’s people pray together, great things happen. It’s as simple as that. If we want to feel the pulse of the Spirit for the church, we must return to the Upper room together with Mary our Mother, who waited in faith for the One promised. Such communal prayer, inspired by faith is proof that despite our differences, unity is possible because we gather together in the name of Christ who is One. He is our unity.
In June 2017, we witnessed a historical moment, as we celebrated the 50th Golden Jubilee of our charismatic renewal journey in Rome. Addressing to Catholic Charismatics, Evangelical and Pentecostal leaders, Holy Father Pope Francis reminded us that “In a way both creative and unexpected, the Holy Spirit generates diversity, for in every age he causes new and varied charisms to blossom. Then he brings about unity: he joins together, gathers and restores harmony”.
This undoubtedly demands great responsibility from each of us. We realize that we are not just people who have experienced a personal Pentecost but that we are also channels of this Grace to a broken world. The gifts we are blessed with are marked with courage enabling us to reach out powerfully into the surrounding culture. These gifts give us everything we need to educate, convince and move in Power.
That is the future we hope to see in Asia Oceania, a future marked with humble disposition of a diverse yet united body, people filled with the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, set apart and set ablaze to love, witness and transform this world.
As a spiritual movement that trusts in the promises of God’s Word, our part above all is therefore to pray. It is said that an army marches on its stomach, but let us be an army that marches on its knees.
Let us together with Mary, our Mother at Pentecost, ask the Almighty for an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, unity and power for all nations under ISAO.