This year, I can truly say that it’s year of faith. It’s a roller coaster of emotions for me and my loved-ones. During the start of the year 2013, my prayer was “Lord, grant me the grace to see with eyes of faith.” Well there’s a saying to be careful with what you pray for, because God grants it
During this World Youth Day 2013 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I understand deeper what seeing with the eyes of faith mean.
First, put on faith and believe in God’s promises. It is when Pope Francis said during the opening “Bota fe” which means put on faith. Have faith in God’s promises. One of those promises is that I was able to go to WYD 2013. I never thought I will be able to go this year due to high cost of plane fare and yet through God’s generosity and the generosity of the community members and friends that bought tickets to help us raise funds, I was so blessed to become a delegate in WYD.
Last WYD, I was able to go to Our Lady of Fatima at Portugal, and it was another blessing to see Trono de Fatima at Petropolis, Brazil this WYD. I felt it’s another God’s promise fulfilled. Mary is journeying with me once again.
Another God’s promise fulfilled is when I was able to read during the closing Mass of Semana Missionaria the Prayer of the Faithful. I was in the stage together with the Bishops and Archbishops. Not only that, I was able to witness the young believers pray as one Holy and Apostolic Church because of the view from the top of the stage.
God’s greatest promise to me during WYD is to see Him face to face. I had so many Jesus Christ experience. When I saw the Pope Francis twice before the vigil and before the closing Mass and when I went to Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado. Those encounters with the Lord were truly unforgettable.
Second, live out our faith and believe in God’s love. Catholic faith is truly universal. We have different languages yet we were able to understand each other because we are united by our faith. There is one universal language and that is love. We felt the love of God through one another.
I felt God’s embrace as He welcomed us in Brazil with open arms through the people that hosted us, helped us, and loved us. We were actually surprised that our host families both in Rio and Maua are so generous, hospitable, caring and loving. They treated us as their own children and siblings. They did not just fed us, they actually loved us.
There was a time during missionary week, wherein our community invited everyone to praise and worship our God. It was Pentecost. Holy Spirit was really in our midst. 3 different languages : Spanish, Portuguese, and English yet we worship one God. It was surreal. When we talked to the youth from Venezuela, Panama and Brazil, they were saying that they felt the love of God.
Pope Francis said during the vigil “Dear friends, never forget that you are the field of faith! You are Christ’s athletes! You are called to build a more beautiful Church and a better world”
Third, share our faith and be witnesses of God’s greatness. “Go, do not be afraid, and serve” those are the resounding words of Pope Francis during the closing Mass at Copacabana. He is challenging us to share our faith. He wants us to go and make disciples. He wants us to bear witness to His Gospel and evangelize.
What is more encouraging is when he said “Christ is counting on us, the Church is counting on us, and the Pope is counting on us.” As we evangelize, He will never leave us and He will accompany us.
Right there and then, I felt my calling as a missionary is being renewed. I was empowered to follow Jesus. I will share Christ and bear witness to everyone, without border or limits. As Pope said “Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history (cf. Rom10:9)”.
Seeing with the eyes of faith means we put on faith, live out our faith and share our faith because we believe in God’s promises, love and greatness.
All I can say to summarize my pilgrimage is “Muito Obrigada O Deus!” My heart is filled with so much joy because of the blessing to attend WYD 2013. I am so grateful to the Lord for bringing me to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a pilgrim. Cliché but true, it changed my life once again.
Shared by Ate Sweet Roque, Fulltime Pastoral Worker
Mindanao Regional Coordinator, Philippine Mission Head