“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!