A week ago Pope Francis arrived in the country and four days since he left. A week ago, I watched him smile and wave while giving is blessings to the crows. Every time I see him do so I get chills, goosebumps. Especially when he randomly picks someone in the crowd, kisses them or hugs them, I just have this sudden urge to cry. But I got that effect only by watching him at our living room, in front of the television. I held the tears back and simply shaked the goosebumps off.
My family decided to go to Manila to attend his last mass on Sunday at the Quirino Grandstand. It’s really a bit of an impulse trip, as my parents have regular jobs and I am on my review. Anyway, this is an opportunity to see the Pope without going to Vatican. We were not even sure if we will be able to catch even a glimpse of him if he pass by. Or even get a good position. It was all uncertain. It was unplanned. Or is it?
We woke up at 5 in the morning, too late compared to the thousands or even millions who camped outside the venue. We arrived at the intersection before Manila Hotel, only to find out we have to go to another entrance, way too far from where we are. Suddenly, a nun my father knew from a convent he served food at a discounted price was there volunteering as a human barricade. She convinced the police to let us enter. She told them we were part of their group. The police obliged and let us pass. We were so relieved we were able to enter before the crowd thickened. We got into the grandstand and quite near the stage but we are in the pathway, a temporary position because the Pope mobile has to through it so they will make us leave eventually. UNTIL, my parents saw the seminarians they adopted, they have access in the quadrant for the nuns and seminarians. They were kind enough to (again) say we were their guardians. In the end we got to stay in the quadrant that is quite near the stage. We were able to get some rest before it rained. That rain was actually a blessing.
During the homily, when the Pope said the we should learn how to cry I suddenly started to sob so hard. I was crying and it was not for no reason. I was crying for all those time I held back the tears. There were numerous reasons for crying that I can no longer identify them. I sobbed even more when everyone sang “Tell the World of his Love”
When the mass was over the Pope rode the mobile again. Luckily, He passed near our quadrant. Ignoring the cold pouring rain I raised my hand, holding a handkerchief and a box of pencils for my exam. I saw him turn to our direction. and again I cried. Tears flow from my eyes down to my cheeks along with the rain.
It was a memorable day. A proud feeling of being with the 6 million people. His presence was different from what you see through the television. Multiply that until it will make you cry instantly.
It made me simply feel loved. Loved regardless of who I am and what I did and did not do. I felt loved like a stranger, yet like a friend. Loving a stranger and loving someone truly is not really different after all. Love for a stranger is pure because you don’t know anything about that person technically speaking you love someone because you simply have no reason to hate them. True love is the same in a way, even though you know reasons not to love them but still chose to because you accepted those reasons.