The photo above of Pope Francis was taken in Tacloban during his Papal Visit here in the Philippines. With permission: Photo Taken by Niecy Garvez via Sarina Joy Odivilas. More below on Pope Francis' quotes about life and in other topics.
Good thing I am not going to Sinulog this year for this allowed me to stay at home and watch the coverage of Pope Francis' Papal Visit here in the Philippines. I've decided to share my lessons, observations in this post. See below for quotes about life, and many more when Pope Francis visited the Philippines.
"Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of family and its place in God's Plan is entrusted to us so we can carry it forward. To each one of you and us because I too am the son of a family.
When families bring children into the world, train them in faith and sound values, and teach them to contribute to society, they may become a blessing in our world." - Pope Francis
"Begin with your families and communities, in building a world of justice, integrity and peace." - Pope Francis
"Families have an indispensable mission in society. It is in the family that children are trained in sound values, high ideals and genuine concern for others.
But like all God’s gifts, the family can also be disfigured and destroyed. It needs our support. We know how difficult it is for our democracies today to preserve and defend such basic human values as respect for the inviolable dignity of each human person, respect for the rights of conscience and religious freedom, and respect for the inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn and extending to that of the elderly and infirm.
For this reason, families and local communities must be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to transmit to our young the values and the vision which can help bring about a culture of integrity – one which honors goodness, truthfulness, fidelity and solidarity as the firm foundation and the moral glue which holds society together." - Pope Francis
"To dream how will your daughter or son be, it is not possible to have a family without such dreams. When you lose this capacity to dream, then you lose the capacity to love, and this energy to love is lost. I recommend that at night, when you examine your consciences, ask yourselves, ‘Today, did I dream about my sons and daughters? Did I dream of the love of my husband, or my wife? Did I dream of my parents, my family? It is so important to dream, and to dream in the family, please don’t lose this ability to dream in this way. And how many solutions are found to family problems if we take time to reflect? If we think of a husband or wife and we dream about their good qualities that they have? "- Pope Francis
"Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them! Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care." - Pope Francis
"The Church in the Philippines is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Filipino Society, plainly contradicting the teaching of Christ." - Pope Francis
"The Gospel calls individual Christians to live lives of honesty, integrity and concern for the common good.. to create circles of integrity.., networks of solidarity which can expand to embrace and transform society by their prophetic witness." - Pope Francis
"As ambassadors for Christ, we, bishops, priests, and religious, ought to be the first to welcome his reconciling grace into our hearts.. it means being the first to examine our consciences, and to embrace the path of constant conversion. Constant conversion, everyday conversion." - Pope Francis
"The message of the Santo Niño is so important. The child Jesus speaks powerfully to everyone." - Pope Francis
"Don’t ever lose the illusion of when you were boyfriend and girlfriend!" - Pope Francis
"Real love is all about loving and letting yourself be loved."- Pope Francis
"It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love." - Pope Francis
"You must be open to the love of God." - Pope Francis
"To learn how to love is the most important lesson in life." - Pope Francis
"When you lose the capacity to dream, you lose the capacity to love, and the energy of this love is lost."- Pope Francis
"This is the challenge that life offers you: to learn how to love. Not just to accumulate information without knowing what to do with it... But through that love let that information bear fruit." - Pope Francis
"Women have much to tell us in today's society. Sometimes we're too macho, and we don't leave enough room for women. Women are able to see things with different eyes than us. Women are able to ask questions that men can't understand. ... When the next pope comes, please have more women and girls among your numbers." - Pope Francis
Quotes about Life:
"For this the Gospel offers us a serene way forward: using the three languages of the mind, heart and hands – and to use them in harmony. What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put it into practice. Harmoniously. What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel. The three languages.." - Pope Francis
"To be wise use three languages: think well, feel well and do well. And to be wise allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That will guarantee a good life." - Pope Francis
"God chose and blessed you for a purpose: to be holy and blameless in his sight." - Pope Francis
"Can you repeat this? Think well, feel well and do well, and to be wise." - Pope Francis
"Allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That’s a good life." - Pope Francis
"Your deepest identity is as God's Children." - Pope Francis
"Only when we too can cry about the things you said can we come close to answering that question... When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something."-Pope Francis
"Those on the margins, cry. Those who have fallen by the wayside cry. Those who are discarded, cry... But those who are living a life that is more or less without need, we don't know how to cry."-Pope Francis
"Certain realities we only see through eyes that are cleansed with tears."-Pope Francis
On serving and helping the poor:
"Only by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency will we be able to identify with least of our brothers and sisters." - Pope Francis
"So many of you have lost everything. I don't know what to say to you but the lord does know what to say to you." - Pope Francis
"Today, from this place which has known such profound suffering and human need, I ask that even more be done for the poor. Above all, I ask that the poor throughout this country be treated fairly - that their dignity be respected, that political and economic policies be just and inclusive, that opportunities for employment and education be developed, and that obstacles to the delivery of social services be removed.
Our treatment of the poor is the criterion on which each of us will be judged. I ask all of you, and all responsible for the good of society, to renew your commitment to social justice and the betterment of the poor, both here and in the Philippines as a whole." - Pope Francis
"As many voices in your nation have pointed out, it is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good. In this way they will help preserve the rich human and natural resources with which God has blessed this country.
Thus will they be able to marshal the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace." - Pope Francis
"Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor.
It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart." - Pope Francis
"At all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community." - Pope Francis
"You know how to give and yet you have ever learned how to receive. You still lack one thing. Become a beggar. This is what you still lack. Learn how to beg. This isn’t easy to understand. To learn how to beg. To learn how to receive with humility.
To learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us. Have I learned how to beg? Or am I self-sufficient? Do I think I need nothing? Do you know you too are poor? Do you know your own poverty and your need to receive? Do you let yourselves be evangelized by those you serve? This is what helps you mature in your commitment to give to others. Learn how to open your hand from your very own poverty." - Pope Francis
"Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity." - Pope Francis
"We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected." - Pope Francis
"And we need to care for our young people,not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to a life on the streets." - Pope Francis
"Protect the young from sin and vice, so they become outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia." - Pope Francis
"Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor. But if Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have greeted a couple of people, given them something, and walked on. But it was only when he was able to cry that he understood something of our lives. 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? Unfortunately there are those who cry because they want something else.
"A fundamental role in the renewal of society is played, of course, by the family and especially by young people." - Pope Francis
"I want to encourage you, as Christian citizens of this country, to offer yourselves passionately and honestly to the great work of renewing your society and helping to build a better world." - Pope Francis
"There is a real danger of living in a wave of accumulation of information. We have so much information. But maybe we don’t know what to do with that information. We run the risk of becoming a museum of young people that has everything but without knowing what to do with them.
We don’t need youth museums. But we do need holy young people." - Pope Francis
"A challenge for you is to maintain integrity, protect the environment and care for the poor." - Pope Francis
"The Philippines... is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia." - Pope Francis
On the environment:
"I don’t know if climate change is all man’s fault, but the majority is. For the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature. We have, in a sense, lorded it over nature, over Sister Earth, over Mother Earth. I think man has gone too far."- Pope Francis
"He created the world as a beautiful garden and asked us to care for it. But through sin, man has disfigured that natural beauty; through sin, man has also destroyed the unity and beauty of our human family, creating social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption." - Pope Francis
There is no doubt that we can learn a lot from those quotes alone but I think some aspects need more expounding from my perspective that is. First thing I observed is the pope's character, attitude, stamina and passion for what he does. In the 3 days that he was here, his schedule was ridiculously hectic and yet still able to smile!
The core of the the pope's visit here is the poor. Though I don't know how true that report about young Filipino street children being caged in preparation for the pope's visit but what an irony that the pope's messages when he arrived centered on the poor, family, children and the youth.
Another thing that showed it's ugly face is our own weird culture of "personality" which also reflects in the majority of Filipinos when elections kick in. That is the last thing Pope Francis wanted, as he said, don't focus on me..focus on Christ and on the poor..or something along those lines. To further punctuate this point, His Holiness even made it clear that he wanted the identities of the people he will be sharing a meal with in Tacloban to be kept private.
Oh I almost forgot, did you see that ridiculous painting? Call it satire, a joke, a tribute.. it is what it is, you be the judge. Wait let me add to the above, a culture of "epal." There were even reports of epal politicians (and perhaps some businesses too) who printed tarps with the pope's face with their photo as well as logo. But let us learn to forgive such things and work to correct our damaged culture.
He has even inspired the bishops to declare 2015 as the Year of the Poor. Hopefully, with Pope Francis' example, our bishops and priests should begin shunning any form of excess like riding "donated" expensive vehicles, officiating a wedding that displays ridiculous wealth, participating or meddling in politics and become simple and humble.
The real test for us Catholics and Filipnos now is to put some action in those words that the pope has left us. Can we shift our mindsets, when the church and our state leaders rise above vested interests and work for the common good to rally against corruption, inequality, injustice as well as elevate the lives of our poor brothers and sisters? Will we Filipinos live the message of simplicity and humility? Are we able to act on his message on caring and nurturing children and youth?
Only time will tell. Are you up to the challenge though?