#PopeFrancisPH: 5 Life Lessons from the Papal Visit 2015

To some, it was the most amazing unexpected holiday, but to millions of Roman Catholics like me, this holiday is the most life-enriching one. Despite of the threat from the number of people along the streets where Pope will pass-by; despite of the tons of barricades and policemen controlling every corner of the metropolis; and despite of the nonstop rain last Sunday, seeing a Pope in person (for the first time) was truly a blessed holiday weekend that I would love to do again and again. I mean, come on, how many times in your life that you get a chance to see a Pope in person, huh? 

The memorable and heartwarming visit of Pope Francis just ended, and albeit the heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to him, I'm pretty sure that we learned a lot from his 5-day Papal visit here in the Philippines. I listed down 5 of the life lessons that I learned over the weekend, and I hope you could share some of yours too. Feel free to post them on the comment box below.

1. Simplicity is a virtue

Despite of being tagged as the Church's rockstar, Pope Francis never fail to amaze me with his simplicity - an act that reminds me of giving value to the things/persons that matter the most. 

From his arrival at the Villamor Airbase, where he carries his own black bag to his departure where he STILL carries his own black bag, Pope Francis showed me how life can still be fruitful and joyful by simply being simple and true to your heart. 

2. There's a prayer in listening

In three times that he held a mass in this Papal visit, Pope Francis keeps on reminding us not just to keep quiet but to listen - listen with our ears, with our hearts and with our minds. He reminded us that through listening, we get to tell to the Lord our heart's desire and what could really help us to be a better person - to be a better Christian.

During his visit here in the Philippines, Pope Francis made clear about this both in serious tone, which took place on a mass at the Manila Cathedral and another one at the Palo Cathedral, but the latter one had a joker tone, which shows how human he is.

3. Sweet, beautiful smile is contagious

Since the day that he got here in Manila, I've been chasing the Pope. At first, I just wanted to have a picture of him, but the moment I saw him, I lose the ability to take a good photo, hence I keep coming back to the place where I can surely spot him to take a good shot. It took me three times to finally take a “clearer” one, and with that I’m so happy. But did you know what’s distracting me since then? Well, his smile. His sweet and beautiful smile is so contagious that when you see it, it will make you smile too and forget about your worries. Yes, that kind of smile is so heavenly that it can ease all the hardship and negativity in life, and to me, even the ability to be aware of what I have to do – to take a picture of him.

But nonetheless, it was a great feeling to see him again and again and finally have a picture of him while he is in his awesome Pope mobile. He may not know that I was there, but I feel glad and somehow blessed to see him and his contagious smile. I will share my smile to many people from now on. ^_^

4. Giving is not losing

The highlight of his visit here in the Philippines was when he held a mass in Tacloban Airport. It was one of the sincerest mass that I’ve seen, and to tell you honestly, it was a tear-jerking too. While speaking in his native language on his homily, I can’t help but to remember all the pain that the nation and the world have felt and gone through when Typhoon Yolanda hit Central Philippines. The dead father, mother and child, the ravaged houses and buildings, and the hopelessness of everyone and everything, it seemed like a nightmare that we wish we didn't see, but sadly it happened. 

But His Holiness reminded us that nothing is impossible with God. Jesus has been there – He gave up his life for all of us, not to lose everyone but gather us all in one church, in one love. And despite of Pope being speechless in front of thousands of families who lose their loved ones, he is one with us in praying for the bereaved and for their families who were left with us here on earth – a mercy and compassion that he wanted us to have every day.

5. Rain or shine, the show must go on

As a media practitioner, the phrase “the show must go on” is a common one. You will often hear this when there’s a coming rain or typhoon or if there will people who will watch the show or not. But this weekend, Pope Francis gave a new deeper meaning to it.

Despite of the impending typhoon that is scheduled to hit Tacloban last Sunday, the Vatican crew, with Pope Francis onboard the Philippine Airlines, pushed to their schedule trip to Tacloban and Palo, Leyte. A lot of us are so worried because with Signal Number 2 raised on the said areas, we all know how terrifying to travel via airplane on that condition. Who would dare to do such thing? Only those who are close to God, right?

With God’s grace and love to our dearest Pope, he made the trip possible – the show did go on. Though shortened, the Pope was able to do the things he has to do on the said areas and as a bonus, a family got a surprise visit from him too. A testify to the statement “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

I still have some things that I want to add on this list, but I guess I’ll just settle on these five things for now.

The 5-day visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines was kinda “bitin”, right? But let’s pray that we’ll get another chance to see him, to meet him again soon. The ray of goodness that radiates from him is something we could treasure adding the life lessons and wisdom he shared to us during his stay.

May we all be in your prayers as you will be in ours! God bless you, Pope Francis!

Thank you and we love you!

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