How I loved the past five days. I felt like I was having glimpses of the divine. Have you felt the same? The pastoral visit of His Holiness Pope Francis here in our beloved country, Philippines, was such a religious experience!
I had goosebumps, I shed tears, I felt loved, I felt blessed. These (and more other things I couldn’t explain) were my experiences in my encounter with him. His simple gestures such as blessing and kissing a child and tirelessly waving hands were just so heart-tugging! What a grace!
We still have so much to learn from the Pope, but I am happy that in his short visit, he already left a handful of beautiful lessons that we could all keep and treasure in our hearts. What are these?
1. Live in the likeness of a child. Pope Francis has simple joys, he is humble, he is kind-hearted, he is cheerful, and he is spontaneous! He also flashes that warm and loving smile (like that of a child’s), the kind of smile that brightens hearts! Don’t we all see that the child in him? And as Thelma San Juan puts it, “He is a good man. And he is a goodness that is doable.” Let us then try to follow his goodness!
2. Speak from the heart. When Pope Francis celebrated mass with the victims and survivors of Super-typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban (which killed more than 6,000 with at least 3,000 missing, according to Inquirer), he taught us the value of speaking from the heart. He set aside his prepared homily and spoke spontaneously in his native language, Spanish.
During the emotional mass, the pope also taught us the power of silence. He said that he survivors’ pain has ‘silenced his heart’ and in his homily, he shared these heartwarming lines:
“So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you, but the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you lost part of your families. All I can do is to keep silent, and I walk with you all with my silent heart.”
“I walk with you with my silent heart.” Such a beautiful, meaningful line, isn’t it?
3. Serve the poor. Did you know that our #DearPopeFrancis has a Twitter account? Yeah, he is cool like that (Go ahead and follow him, he is @Pontifex in Twittersphere)! Pope Francis, in the Filipino language, twitted and called on Filipinos “to go out to the needy and to serve them”. And in one of his talks, our Pontiff also encouraged all Filipinos to “Reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.”
4. Keep on dreaming. When the Pope Francis celebrated a liturgy program for families at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the Pontiff inspired us to never stop dreaming. He said:
“If you lose this capacity to dream, then you lose the capacity to love… I recommend that you examine your consciences: Today, did I dream about my sons and daughters? Did I dream about the love of my husband and wife? Don’t lose this ability to dream.”
5. Protect the children. The Pontiff’s message at Rizal Park encouraged us to care for our young people. “We need to guide and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage.” He also reminded us to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected.
6. Pray often. Pope Francis constantly reminded us to pray and to make room for Christ in our hearts. “Pray often and take the fruits of your prayer into the world, that all may know Jesus Christ and his merciful love.” He said. He also reminded us to pray together as a family because “A family that prays together, stays together.”
7. Learn how to love. Well of course we will never forget that funny moment when Pope Francis started his homily at Manila Catheral with, “Do you love me?” and spontaneously, the audience answered, “YES!” before he could finish and went on to tell them that it was not he but Jesus who was asking the question (followed by a loud cheer from the crowd). And that was when Pope Francis reminded us about God’s love.
During the “Encounter with the Youth” at University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, the Pope also stressed to the youth the value of learning how to love.
“Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised.”
And in loving, the Pope reminded:
“Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Don’t be afraid of surprises. They shake the ground beneath our feet and make us insecure, but they move us forward in the right direction.”
Indeed, the words of Pope Francis are very meaningful and enlightening. How about you? What have you learned from Papa Francisco’s short visit? Do share them in the Comments below. =)