With Philippines being one of Asia’s most religious country, pontifical visits has always played a big part of our history.
This began with Pope Paul VI’s last intercontinental trip on 1970, which took him to nine countries including the Philippines, and was followed by Pope John Paul II’s international visit on 1981, where he beatified Saint Lorenzo Ruiz in Manila, and in 1995, when the World Youth Day was first hosted in Asia. Now, another Pope has come and proved our religious unity that never yielded to calamities but goes stronger as time pass by.
Pope Francis’s visit in the country last month has been an eye-opener to all Filipinos. He has answered hundreds of concerns but also raises thousands of questions especially to the youth. One that may have left a deeper mark is the emotional question raised by 12-year-old Glyzelle Iris Palomar regarding why God makes children suffer. It is a simple yet very intriguing query from an innocent child who has greatly suffered from today’s prejudiced world.
I, for that matter, can’t help but think about the Philosophy of Existentialism, created and conceptualized during the late 19th to 20th century. The ideology insists on the importance of man’s own freedom, decisions and choices which then forms his essence and existence. The principle also adheres to the fact that individuals are responsible for his or her choices and therefore should be liable for the consequences of his decisions; whether it is for better or for worse.
Truly, our judgements and preferences towards something are made through different factors, may it be personal gain, kinship, commitments, beliefs, faith and the standard of what is right and wrong. Those decisions affect our behavior and way of life. Moreover, it also reminds me of a question that goes like this: if you were divided into parts, what specific part of your body captures your whole essence? Would you be the helping hand or the obstructive feet? Maybe you’re the innovative brain or the humble heart? I think the answer is neither of your physical parts but what you did for the physical world that affects both your life and the lives of others.
Just as Pope Francis said at his speech at the University of Santo Tomas, “Learn how to cry for the poor”, learn to put yourself on the shoes of the beggars and the homeless because then you’ll know how to give, and in return, receive kindness and generosity.
So in the end, what really matters is not what we know but what we believe in. Now, let me ask you a question: what do you believe?