I am one of the many who up to now, ponder about Pope Francis’ messages and homilies. Since his appointment as Pope in 2013, I’ve read so many interesting and promising stories about him. I thought I knew already what to expect on his visit, I was wrong. I had no plans to go to the streets and see him but I did. I never expected to be touched by his “sermons” but I was moved, deeply. This is the story of my glimpse of Pope Francis, a glimpse that enlarged my vision and compassion.
I was on my way back to Manila from Bulacan when his plane arrived. I saw the warm welcome of Filipinos from Villamor Airbase to the Apostolic Nunciature on the bus. I wondered what it was like to welcome him. After his first mass for the Church people in Manila Cathedral, his meeting with the former street-children of Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation and the goosebumps experience everyone who saw or encountered him was talking about, I decided to “stalk” him on his way to Meeting with the Families in Mall of Asia Arena, whether out of curiosity or heart’s desire, I did not analyze. I just knew inside that what was happening and what was about to happen were all beyond my expectations.
My husband and I, together with my sister decided to go to Roxas Boulevard and wait for his motorcade. We arrived at my husband’s office, which is along Roxas Boulevard, across CCP at 3:30 PM. He was scheduled to leave the Nunciature in Quirino Ave. at 4 PM, but our glimpse of him happened not until around 5 PM. Considering others’ “ordeal” (if you may call it that), our waiting time was shorter. It was not raining. It was not hot either. In other words, no dramatic moments to add flavor to my experience. His convoy was running at 40kmh, so we just had a plain 4-5 seconds glimpse of the Pope.
Call it hysteria or whatever but I just could not contain my emotions and I screamed “Pope…!”. It should have been “Pope Francis” but for some reason I was not able to finish it. I jumped and I waved at him. I wanted to run after him but I felt that a glimpse was enough and it was all I needed. I hurried home with a full heart. I was satisfied seeing in flesh the leader of my faith, of the Church to which I belong since birth. Perhaps, that was how a child who never knew who her parents are, feels when she meets them for the first time.
I know he is not God and he knows that too and he even keeps on reminding everyone else of that. I do not worship him and he does not want to be worshiped as well. But, I like him, and I like him a lot. For someone who tries to understand her Church and her faith, it was really amazing and fulfilling to see our earth-bound leader in flesh. It made me feel not alone in my spiritual beliefs and journey. Moreso, it is pure blessing to hear his messages and homilies which all went straight to my heart.
I like Pope Francis because he teaches without judging and being righteous. He naturally exudes with Godly, divine wisdom without trying so hard. I could perhaps talk to him all day, all night for a retreat. He asks for forgiveness and even asks to be prayed for, a gesture that could be translated into, “I am just a man like you who needs God’s graces.”. He never fails to remind everyone that Jesus Christ is the focus and not him, with all humility. He is not afraid to admit he (as a man), does not know all the answers but God does. He tries his best to live with simplicity and normalcy despite leading billions of Catholics. Best of all, he tries his best to practice what he preaches especially Jesus’ love for the poor and the children. In every way possible, he tries to resemble the teachings of Jesus Christ so that we could all see and experience Jesus Christ through him.
With a glimpse, I felt so much love, joy, blessings, positive energies and the itch to share my blessings especially to the poor, the weak and to the less fortunate children. If he’s not on God’s camp, how could all these good and positive vibes flow to me in just one glimpse of him?