March 13, 2013, “Habemus Papam” were the words of French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran declaring that the conclave of cardinals had chosen a new pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina revealed himself in front of thousands at the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica which declared him as the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. He took the name of Francis I reflecting that he is one who focuses more on the life of poverty and simplicity.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit and First non-European pontiff of the Catholic Church has been doing great, irrational and shocking ways to lead the Church to what would lift it up against all of the flaming problems in the religion. From sexual abuse to inside Vatican issues, the pope is doing everything in big but specific steps. He has showed what a true leader might as well be by living up to the humble ways of a servant of God.
The pope has been traveling the globe to enlighten not only the Roman Catholics, but also to share the love of God with other religions. The pope recently came from Sri Lanka before heading to the Christian-oriented country, the Philippines. The Philippine Church has been facing problems not only in matters of un-religious practices of priests and clergies, but also of heat against the government for having different opinions in different aspects. The pope came to our soils on January 15, 2015 wherein he was welcomed by the Filipinos led by Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in Villamor Air Base. There were dancing teenagers and excited men and women to see the pope and feel his vibrant spirit.
The People’s Pope, primarily opening the church for mercy and compassion, was welcomed with a speech of the president which was aggravating and ungallant for the reason that he had somehow spoke of nothing more than to blame the past administrations and to give credit to his family. The pope simply responded to this by declaring the fight against corruption and to give its proper service.
The pontiff also went to the Manila Cathedral for a mass with religious men and women, to Mall Of Asia for a meeting with families, Tacloban, which was devastated by the past typhoons, to the University of Santo Tomas wherein he had brief meetings with the youth and clergies, and held a public mass at the Quirino Grand Stand in Rizal Park of Manila.
But for sure, a lot of people did not only want to see the pope or take a selfie with him, but also to ask for his blessing for the highest leader of faith is of course as well believed to be directly in contact with God, the Father. Faith has been among all of us. However, faith has not been enough for us to direct our eyes to God and ask for his guidance. The pope has shown his love for the poor and ill, and has proven to be one who truly cares for the people.
A young or a non-Catholic may ask, why did he even come here and show himself to all of the people? In fact, the pope tells the people that he is not the focus, but God is. This was lately rudely and directly questioned by a blogger telling that the pope is wrong for saying such things adding for a reason that the pontiff brought problems to people like him for the phone signals were cut-off, the papal visit was declared as a holiday meaning no salaries for some jobs and road-traffic adjustments because of the travel of the pope.
Taking it to the side of a Roman Catholic, one may say that the visitations of the pontiffs to countries are ways on how to open the eyes of the people through their simple words which may be believed whispered by God. But, of course, it still depends on how the listeners interpret the words and enlighten themselves. The coming of the pope has made the people of the Philippines know what God wants (in a way). Pope Francis showed the care for families, the youth and care for the poor and inferior; indirectly less-minding the powerful and rich.
Perhaps for some, one of the best things about the papal visit would be to see the face of the pontiff and let his smile shine upon the eyes of the people for the smile of the first Jesuit pope was widely known for it rarely disappears. But what is to see the pope for not more than a second or two? A sinner and a devotee might, and probably have the same realization in the coming of the pope. They may realize the importance of faith to the application of the love of God to real life. The words of the pope about families and reproduction issues, tragedies, youth misguideness, corruption and unjust clerical ways had a great impact on the faith of the people. The sight of the pope was enough to make thousands of people stay in one place and await his presence. Even the few seconds of the sight of the pope was enough to feel the blessing. That probably may be the beginning of the re-establishment of faith in the heart of a devotee, a non-believer and even a sinner. The pope is the chosen one to lead the people back to the love of God, that is why he first asked the people way back in St. Peter’s Basilica to bless him.
The Christian faith is something interesting to reflect upon that is why at every mass you would hear the priest say and declare, the mystery of faith.