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Archive for January, 2015


Crossandra1

It takes time

for you to see the light,

when you have been too long

walking in the dark.

It takes time

to appreciate

what is in front of you

when your eyes are riveted

to the farthest view.

It takes time to appreciate

what love really is

when you ignore the whispers

of your heart.

Take a moment to see –

the feel of a cold morning

on your face,

the beauty of the dawn,

the wonder of a sunrise

breaking on the horizon.

Take a moment to feel –

the innocent kiss of a child

the warm embrace

the tight hugs.

For they speak to you

of love.

 

 

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“When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. Dear young boys and girls, today’s world doesn’t know how to cry. The emarginated people, those left to one side, are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. But we don’t understand much about these people in need. Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears. I invite each one here to ask yourself: have I learned how to weep? Have I learned how to weep for the emarginated or for a street child who has a drug problem or for an abused child? 

If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian. This is a challenge. When they posed this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry.”

Through the entire week that I was indisposed nursing a cold and occasional cough before we said goodbye to Pope Francis, I read all his speeches from the time he visited Malacanang up to his interviews with the Papal delegation (mostly accredited media people) on his way back to the Vatican. Although I saw him deliver his speeches in English, in his native language which is Spanish and some in Latin and clearly translated by his official translator, Msgr. Mark Gerard Miles, I can’t help but go back and reread them again. There is something so heartwarming listening to him.  His speech during the Encounter with the Youth  at the University of Santo Tomas opened my eyes to a lot of things.

Sometimes what you can’t say in words is more understood through tears.  Crying is not a show of weakness, it is rather more on how we are attuned with our feelings and our emotions. Crying sometimes gives us that perspective we don’t open see  when  our hearts are hardened by circumstances and events  that we’d rather not face. Pope Francis was right in saying that “certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears.” When you are touched by these simple words, crying becomes a necessity and a natural outcome, it becomes your catharsis. You cry when you’re happy, you cry when you’re sad. I haven’t cried as much as when I saw Pope Francis on one of the windows of the Sri Lanka plane and the following days watching him touch the poor, kiss the little children,  sway with the youth while they were singing the 1995 theme song during the World Youth day, wave to thousands of people lining up the streets,  and smile at the millions of pilgrims who were in Luneta during his last mass.

Just to let you know, I am quite teary-eyed while writing this post because I remember those times that I cried buckets. I remember those times I felt so alone. I remember the times that I can’t seem to understand everything that was happening in my life.  Sometimes, the cross is so hard to bear but you have to carry it with grace and a strong  hope and faith that you  can. One thing I am proud though, I never gave up.

Yes, it’s okay to cry!

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Things are as they were six days ago –

the unopened book,

muddled thoughts that keep intruding,

lovely words that need to be said.

My mind is full of lessons

I have yet to digest

I have yet to write about

I am inspired

and the euphoria hasn’t waned yet.

his words touched my soul.

And I am thankful.

The memories

make me smile

and they make me laugh.

They feed my mind

with unspoken words.

that will remain

forever in my heart.

 

 

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Photo credit: CBCP. Inset is mine.

Photo credit: CBCP. Inset is mine.

I love this picture of Pope Francis in front of the iconic Arch of  the Centuries at the UST campus. Every year, freshmen take the traditional “Freshmen Welcome Walk” by passing through the Arch of the Centuries as a symbol of ‘becoming Thomasians’ because the same Arch was the doorway of the University when it was still in Intramuros. This is called the ‘Rite of Passage’. When they graduate, they walk through the same Arch facing Espana Blvd. It is a “symbolic act of their “readiness to face the challenges of professional life and fulfill the mission of serving the Church, the nation and the family as future Thomasian professionals.”

 

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Maraming, maraming salamat LORD

sa lahat ng umaapaw na biyayang ibinigay Mo sa amin

na kasama si Pope Francis.

For all the inspiring and uplifting words,

for the messages of hope and love,

for making us feel so blessed,

Thank You.

We will continue praying for our beloved Pope Francis.

Please heal our hearts, heal our people, heal our land.

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I can’t pass this up because I find it so cute to see Pope Francis wearing a UST ID which was a gift from the university  during his touching Encounter With The Youth early this morning.  It comes with a lovely ID lace. I suddenly miss UST.

Look at that smile :)

Look at that smile 🙂

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There is no public event that the Pope has to go to  late this afternoon so I guess it is  time to update this blog  🙂  I was glued to the TV since day one and that was when Pope Francis arrived here. It is now day three and I’ve played  couch potato to the hilt, drinking endless cups of tea and coffee in between, finding something to munch on and… reflect.

Kidding aside, I’ve never been busy updating my timeline on FB than the last three days.  I let my tears just flow and experience that wonderful feeling of being inspired, blessed and uplifted. Lots of thoughts are playing in my head but for now, they just remain beautiful moments that would make some beautiful memories to recall  when the Pope has gone back to Rome.  They are mixed emotions actually. It’s not everyday that the Pontiff visits a third world country like ours because he empathize  with the Filipino people and sympathizes with the survivors of typhoon Yolanda.  The latter is actually the main reason why he decided to visit the country – the highlight of his five-day visit.

Yesterday was the official start of the events that millions of Filipinos watched and enjoyed. Pope Francis made a courtesy call to Malacanang early in the morning and then later presided over a mass for the religious, priests and seminarians at the Manila Cathedral.  Everywhere the Pope goes, there are thousands and thousands of people lining up the roads, hoping to take a glimpse of him in an open pope mobile. It was a very solemn mass except that the priests can’t stop themselves to take pictures of the Pope via their tablets, cameras and cellphones. It was so touching to see the sea of humanity outside the Cathedral.

Here's what Pope Francis wrote on the Palace's guest book: "On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God's abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace. 16.1.2015. Francis."

Here’s what Pope Francis wrote on the Palace’s guest book: “On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God’s abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace. 16.1.2015. Francis.”

Filipino culture has, in fact, been shaped by the imagination of faith.  Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary.  This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential.  It is the way in which your people has inculturated the Gospel and continues to embrace its message (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 122).  In your efforts to prepare for the fifth centenary, build on this solid foundation.

Christ died for all so that, having died in him, we might live no longer for ourselves but for him (cf. 2 Cor 5:15).  Dear brother bishops, priests and religious: I ask Mary, Mother of the Church, to obtain for all of you an outpouring of zeal, so that you may spend yourselves in selfless service to our brothers and sisters.  In this way, may the reconciling love of Christ penetrate ever more fully into the fabric of Filipino society and, through you, to the farthest reaches of the world.

This was part of his homily during the mass at the Cathedral. The beauty of our faith is shining through. He said, “do you love me?” as an intro to his homily quoting the gospel and everybody shouted, “we love you” then he answered “thank you very much”. I had a good laugh at that, he has a sense of humor.  Actually there are those moments that made me laugh and I clapped my hands seeing his lighter side. At the MOA arena, as he was  blessing the deaf-mute family who were privileged to share their journey, Pope Francis kept gesturing with his hands how to say I love you in sign language. Yesterday, while spending just a few minutes with the religious  at the Palo Cathedral, he asked them  to: first pray for him and second, to keep quiet as he smiled at them. That elicited a roar from the crowd. He blessed each religious and priests who came in wheelchairs. Unknown to the social media, he made an unscheduled visit to Manila  street children. During his trip to another event at the Mall of Asia arena, he stopped the pope mobile and kissed a child. He blessed each one of those in wheelchairs at the arena including a teenager with a cerebral palsy who gifted him  with a cross-stitch artwork with the image of Mama Mary.

It was signal number 2 in Tacloban when the plane bearing Pope Francis and his entourage touched down this morning and they had to cut his trip  short to Palo, Leyte and go back to Manila at 1pm due to the inclement weather.

A virtual sea of yellow, everyone wearing raincoats because of the typhoon.

A virtual sea of yellow, everyone wearing raincoats because of the typhoon.

This is my second chance to attend mass  (on tv) presided by Pope Francis. It was the best homily ever. Maybe it is even first in history for a Pope to celebrate   mass wearing a yellow raincoat and braving the winds and rains to give hope to the people of Tacloban and all the people of the Visayas region who are survivors of typhoon Yolanda. (I learned later that yes, it was his first experience to celebrate mass in a typhoon-stricken place).

It seemed like he also experience what the survivors did during typhoon Yolanda.

It seemed like he also experienced what the survivors did during typhoon Yolanda.

This is my simple realization while my tears gently flows as I watch the mass in Tacloban: I felt the presence of Jesus Christ in the person of Pope Francis. Even my  son unabashedly wiped his eyes when the mass ended saying “what a lovely homily”. 

“I have come to tell you that Jesus is Lord. And he never lets us down. Father – you might say to me – I was let down because I have lost so many things, my house, my livelihood. It’s true if you say that and I respect those sentiments. But Jesus is there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down. He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all the calamities that we experience. Jesus is Lord. And the Lord from the cross is there for you. In everything the same as us. That is why we have a Lord who cries with us and walks with us in the most difficult moments of life.” – Pope Francis (part of his homily in Tacloban)

He stopped briefly  on his way to Palo Cathedral to talk to a family along the road, blessed them and gave them encouragement. What is more touching as told by Cardinal Tagle was when he met 30 survivors for lunch, some lost as much as seven members of their family, some lost their limbs, some lost everything. Pope Francis was speechless and told Cardinal Tagle later that he is learning a lot. The resilience of Filipinos are truly admirable.

When you walk through life with pain and suffering, God is there walking with you, holding your hand lest you stumble and fall.

When you reach your destination, He is there rejoicing with you.  The beauty of it all – the beauty of faith working in your life, the priceless moments alone with God in prayer. They make life meaningful.

 

(photo credits: rappler.com, Official Gazette of the Republic of the Phils.)

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