This familiar and iconic phrase of a well-known song from the band Paramore can be heard emanating from car radios as people drive the busy, bustling streets of the city. The beauty of this famous phrase lies in its versatility, as it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways depending on the context and the person. In a romantic sense, it could express a deep and enduring love for a special someone, despite facing challenges in their relationship over time. Alternatively, it could convey surprise or delight that their feelings have not diminished despite the passage of time. For Br. Irwin, the phrase takes on a different meaning altogether. Through his eyes of faith, he had found beauty in every moment and meaning in even the most challenging circumstances, strengthening his relationship and love for Him.
On his perpetual vows, Br. Edmundo shared about the unique qualities of the panganay or the firstborn, and the bunso or the youngest in the Filipino family. But his words were not just about the dynamics within a family setting. They were about one of the most beloved members of their community, Br. Irwin. As the older of two siblings, Br. Irwin - or Ian, his family nickname - embodied the qualities of both the panganay and the bunso but with a greater emphasis on the latter. He was always eager to help, consistently ready to serve, and had a kind word for everyone he met, making him a cherished member of the community.
Br. Irwin's kindness and easygoing nature was summed up in the classic words of Br. Gus, “he is a gem.” He has become a beloved one and a desired member of every community in the sector, just like the famous youngest son in the scripture, Benjamin.
As one of the youngest, it’s no surprise that Br. Irwin is tech-savvy. In his response, he shared a different take on the concept of 5G. In comparison, many may see it simply as a faster and more reliable way to access the internet. For Br. Irwin, he sees it as an opportunity to build deeper connections and relationships in his ministry. For him, the 5G stands for Gratitude, God's Love, Grace, Guidance, and Generosity.
As Br. Irwin looked back on his journey and experiences, he realized that nothing has been purely an accident, that everything he had gone through had a purpose and that God's hands had guided him along the way. He spoke of the "series of yeses" he had committed to, all of which were built on God's love, grace, generosity, guidance, and gratitude. He saw these qualities as concrete manifestations of God's divine providence in his life, that always and in all ways, echoing from the book of Psalms “You will show me the path of Life, the fullness of Joy in Your presence, at your right hand, happiness and peace forever.”
It is in the De La Salle Brothers where Br. Irwin witnessed the 5Gs come alive, and he found himself in this community. Through his big eyes… of faith, he recognized the divine purpose in the work entrusted to him. His love and devotion for Him had only grown stronger over time, and even now, after all this time, he is still into HIM. (Text: Lara Jomalesa, University of St. La Salle - Basic Education Alumna (Batch 2019); Photos: DLSP-CORE)