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Pope to youth: Learn to weep

January 19,2015 - 06:17 PM

Pope Francis hugs two former street children during his meeting with youths in University of Santo Tomas. (AP Photo)

Pope Francis hugs two former street children during his meeting with youths in University of Santo Tomas. (AP Photo)

It was a child, 12-year-old Glyzelle Iris Palomar, who moved Pope Francis to discard his prepared statement at the “Encounter with the Youth” at University of Santo Tomas yesterday.

Palomar  narrated how many children are neglected by their parents why are children dragged into the use of drugs and prostitution?

Looking up to the pope, she asked “Bakit po pinapayagan ng Diyos ang ganitong mga nangyayari? (Why does God allow these things to happen?)” and then broke down into an anguished cry.

Francis had no answer to her question. But he enfolded her in his arm, discarded his prepared speech in English as he reverted to his native Spanish to deliver an impromptu and heartfelt response.

But before addressing the issues raised by the youth, the pope e broke “a sad piece of news” — the death of Kristel Mae Padasas, a volunteer of the Catholic Relief Services, who died when a scaffolding used as loud speaker platform in the Tacloban Mass feel on her last Saturday.

“I would like all of you who are young like her to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we will pray to Our Mother in Heaven. Let us pray,” Pope Francis said.

No answer
Pope Francis acknowledged that he has no answer to Palomar’s question.

“She is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer and she wasn’t even able to express it in words but in tears,” Francis told the estimated 30,000 rain-soaked young people on the UST grounds.

“Certain realities in life we only see through eyes that are cleansed with tears. I invite each one here to ask yourselves, have I learned how to weep, to cry?” the Pope said.

“If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian,” he said.

The Pope also embraced 14-year-old Jun Chura, another former street kid who spoke about the plight of abandoned children.

The children came from the Church-run shelter Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation, which rescued them from the streets where they once lived by begging and scavenging dumps for scraps of thrown-away food.

The Pope also addressed a generation growing up in an age overloaded with information and different means of communication, addressing a request for guidance from law student Leandro Santos II on how to keep values intact in this day and how to love truly.

All these advances have not been necessarily bad, the Pope said, but the youth must not become “young museums” or mere repositories of information, not knowing what to do with them.

He called on the young people not to have a “computer psychology” that has made many of them think they knew everything.

“All answers on computers, but no surprises. The challenge of love. God reveals himself through surprises,” he added.

Surprises, he said, might shake up our world, but they would move us in the right direction.

“What you think you must feel and put into effect,” he said. “To think, to feel, and to do.”

According to the Pope, the most important concern for the youth is learn ing how to love.

“This is the great challenge life offers you, to learn how to love. Not just acquiring information without knowing what to do with it, but through that love let that information bear fruit,” he said.

Real love, he said, would be about “loving and letting yourself be loved,” though allowing oneself to be loved would not come easy.

“That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. 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,” he said.

At the end of his talk, Pope Francis posed three challenges to the youth: Learn how to love and learn how to be loved; get involved in the concern for the environment; and serve the poor.

The Pope’s visit adds to the rich history of the Asia’s oldest university, where two pontiffs made state visits: Pope Blessed Paul VI in 1970 and Pope St. John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.


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Pontiff meets Pa of volunteer killed in Tacloban Mass
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TAGS: children, drugs, papal visit, Pope Francis, Pope in PH, prostitution

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