“Do you ask the poor to give you the wisdom that they have?” – Pope Francis
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA –Pope Francis began his talk to the youth by asking why there was only one girl who gave a testimony.
“Women are many and they have a different perspective of the world. They ask questions that men do not understand.”
Pope Francis then urged the Filipino youth to learn the most important thing in life – to love.
The pontiff spoke about not love for oneself or one’s family but for the poor and the suffering.
He lamented how the world “has a great lack of capacity of knowing how to cry.” “It is only when Christ is able to cry that he understood what is going on in our lives. Those left on one side are crying. Those discarded are crying. But we don’t understand much about these people. Certain realities in life are seen through eyes cleansed with tears.”
Pope Francis asked the youth to weep for those who suffer. “If you don’t learn how to cry, you can’t be good Christians.”
He further told the youth “to learn how to receive with humility, to learn to be evangelized by the poor.” “Do you ask the poor to give you the wisdom that they have?” the pontiff asked the crowd.
After his election as Pope, Pope Francis declared he wanted a Church of the poor and for the poor. The Philippines, a country whose citizens are predominantly Catholics, has a 25.2 percent poverty incidence, according to government.
Before the Pope gave his message, two former street children and two youth gave their testimonies. They asked the Pope what true love is.
He asked the youth to shun “worldly compassion that is useless.” He said, “I want to encourage you, as Christian citizens of this country, to offer yourselves passionately and honestly to the great work of renewing our society. “
He called on the youth to “use the three languages of the heart, mind and of your hands.”
He told the youth to emulate St. Francis of Assisi, upon whom he derived his name. “St. Francis died with empty hands, empty pockets, but with a very full heart,” he said.
Aware that he is addressing a tech-savvy generation, Pope Francis warned the youth about the danger of passivity and instead use technology wisely.
The Pope said the world does not need “youth museum” but holy young people.
“Let us not have the psychology of a computer to think we know it all,” he said.
The Pope said reality is better than ideas.
Response from the youth
Leaders of progressive youth organizations find inspiration from the Pope.
Anakbayan chairman Vencer Crisostomo said, “Contemplating on the message of Pope Francis to the youth today, we realize that it is a call for the youth to engage the status quo, to be catalysts of change, to be activists.”
“The Pope made us repeat – again and again – the lesson that we must imbibe, that we must ‘think, feel, and do well. It is a message for the youth to be critical, to be compassionate, and at the same time act against the injustices and oppression in our society,” Crisostomo said.
Einstein Recedes, spokesman of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines said “the words of Pope Francis has energized and rekindled the youth’s spirit of idealism.”
“Pope Francis encourages us to dream of a society devoid of poverty, inequality, and injustice – and we will surely follow his words, words that highlight and reflect the Lord Jesus’ own teachings,” Recedes said.