It is often in our absence that the Spirit of God manifests itself. When Jesus left his disciples he said: “It is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete [the Spirit] will not come to you. However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth” (John 16: 7;13). It was only in Jesus’ absence that his friends discovered the full meaning of his presence. It was only in his absence that they completely understood his words and experienced full communion with him; and it was only in his absence that they could gather in a community of faith, hope, and love.
When we claim for ourselves that we come to our friends in the Name of Jesus – that through us Jesus becomes present to them – we can trust that our leaving will also bring them the Spirit of Jesus. Thus, not only our presence but also our absence becomes a gift to others.