When Pope Francis, Lolo Kiko to the Filipinos, arrived in the Philippines on the 15th of January, I couldn’t help but tear up as I saw the Pope climb down the plane and wave—all smiles—to the crowd. I felt goosebumps, the good kind, as I watched him. The Pope is actually here…in the same land where I stand!
It has been 20 years since Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines. So much had happened already and the mood in the country felt hopeless: corruption worsened, there were numerous killings of innocent people, and lots of devastating typhoons passed.
In the personal level, I felt hopeless because of everything that happened in the past twenty years. The biggest thing was my parents’ separation as it left me feeling at fault and made me believe that there is no such thing as a lifetime commitment.
Fast forward to 2011: I got married and had children…but at the back of my mind, my past experience growing up in a broken home still haunted me. Sometimes, I would question my husband’s love for me and my worth as a mother. Oftentimes, I feared the good thing we have as a family might not last…just like what happened to my parents.
Then Pope Francis came. Like Jesus gave hope through His coming, Pope Francis also gave hope to the Filipinos—and to me, somebody who has been lost for years—by reminding us how God’s compassion and suffering gives meaning to our own struggles.
The com-passion of God, his suffering-with-us, gives meaning and worth to our struggles and our sufferings.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 17, 2015
The Pope also reminded us about the importance of family, that we have to protect it as it is the foundation of society. Through his words, I knew I have to protect my family…from my own fears. I was reminded that my family now is different from the family I came from. I have been told this countless of times before, but hearing it from the Pope himself is a strong reminder and encouragement that truly touched my heart.
The family is the greatest treasure of any country. Let us all work to protect and strengthen this, the cornerstone of society.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 16, 2015
I am one with the Filipinos in saying: THANK YOU, POPE FRANCIS! Thank you for your words of compassion, encouragement, and enlightenment. Thank you for being with us and bringing us even closer to God.