(Joy Aguila, CFC Youth for Family and Life)
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has ever conceived, what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
How do you start to share an experience that is too beautiful for words? Everything was nothing less than beautiful. Each moment was a grand manifestation of His love. Unforgettable two weeks of God telling me that it is His joy to make me happy, that it is His joy to make me feel loved, that it is His joy to grant me the deepest desires of my heart. My heart is filled with inspiration, joy and gratitude and so may I share my World Youth Day experience by thanking the Lord. With all my heart, Thank you Lord.
THANK YOU LORD.
For loving me this much and bringing me to Spain to experience the World Youth Day 2011.
For the many generous hearts who supported us financially and made our prayers come true.
For making this dream possible, it started as a quiet whisper from my heart and you did hear it well. You really know us inside out Lord. You really know the desires of our heart and You know the perfect time to answer them all. Your wisdom is beautiful Lord.
For the amazingly beautiful new places you’ve brought me to
For the five countries you have brought us in a short time of two weeks
For Madrid, Portugal and Valdefuentes – such beautiful sights to behold
For the natural sights that always made me praise You
For the beautiful structures I saw, they always made me in awe of You
You really are the Master of everything beautiful around us.
For the countless new people I met in Madrid
For the new cultures I saw, new races I was able to encounter
For the million new faces of faith and passion that brought so much inspiration to my heart
For Joaquin and Padre Antonio and all the people from Valdefuentes who treated us as family and made our Days in the Diocese experience all the more meaningful and worth keeping
For Kuya Loreto, our ECY cluster head, who stayed with our delegation and whose presence has also brought inspiration to our whole group. You were real in every person we encountered throughout our journey.
For the endless eating of bocadillo, for the experience of that tomato soup called gespacho, for every sumptuous meal that filled our stomachs well; we really experienced Your providence.
For allowing us to communicate with the locals with the limited Spanish words we know but possibly making us grow in relationship with them. Language is no hindrance when there is shared faith perfectly connecting and binding us all; making us one family in Christ.
For the unforgettable Fatima experience at Portugal, the whole experience brought me to tears; it made my heart closer to Mama Mary; it made me want to know more about Your Mother. Thank you for sharing Your Mother to us throughout our whole pilgrimage and for all the promises you whispered to me throughout our whole stay in that beautiful shrine with Your Mother. Now more than ever, I pray to become more and more like her – fearless, trusting and pure – each and every day. Thank you for speaking to me these words: “Joy, now that I have brought you in this journey, you must be filled with hope, and you must have faith that I am with you. Give so you may receive more. Do what I tell you to do. May you be inspired, through my Mother, to evangelize with passion and to serve those who do not know me yet.”
For all the masses we have attended, whether in Spanish, English, Filipino or Italian, the gift of the Holy Eucharist constantly made me fall in love with the Catholic faith all the more. For the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (which was available the whole time), Your endless mercy is beautiful. Thank you for reminding me to completely consecrate my whole self to You.
For all the catechesis we have attended given by Bishops from different places, attended by pilgrims from different races, every single moment in Catechesis was an intimate moment with You. Thank you for reminding us in one session, that as youth, we are rich with the gifts of life, strength, creativity, idealism and spirituality; and that You have made us rich for the purpose of making this world a better place. You spoke to us well, taught us, resounded Your message to us, reminded us, empowered us, inspired us through these morning dates with You.
For the long walks under the scorching heat of the sun, it made our whole journey experience more memorable. It made us share in your suffering, made us appreciate your cross, affirmed us that at the end of the long and tiring walk is your promise sure of something beautiful, made us learn that all we have to do was to just keep on moving and walking, no matter what, no matter how hard, no matter how far, no matter how endless it may seem, for at the end is the gift of Your promised land, of Your resurrection, the gift of the fullness of an experience of You in our hearts. All we have to do is to be faithful, to endure and to trust in You and in the beautiful plans You have set forth in our lives.
For the many bus rides and train rides, for it made us more persevering and enduring, working our way towards our every day goal of being able to reach our destination. It taught us that a life of following You is all about endurance and faith in living out this race You have called us to pursue. The journey may be uncertain, we might get lost along the way, but through it all, You are with us and You will bring us to where You want us to be. We just have to allow You to take control and be the sole navigator of our lives.
For the endless shouting of ES TA ES LA JUVENTUD EL PAPA with so much fervor and conviction, for it constantly reminded me that truly we are the youth of the pope, we are Your youth, and it is You who initiated the faith burning in our hearts that we may be used to bring Your Good News to the ends of the earth. And for the beautiful theme song Firmes En La Fe, it constantly reminded me of the WYD message, for me to Stand Firm in my Faith, no matter what it takes.
For bringing us Filipinos to Spain to share with the Spanish people (living in a country wherein that faith is slowly fading) the faith they first shared to us hundreds of years ago; amazing how You have planned this out well and how You have given us the privilege to be part of such beautiful history.
For providing us with sponsored delegation shirts for they made us wear our conviction of being planted and built up in Christ as CFCFFL. Every day we wore them proudly in front of the world. Every day we were reminded of this beautiful WYD message.
For the beautiful opportunity to meet with the other CFC FFLs during the international gathering, it made us love our community more, made us witness how God’s hand has been working in CFCFFL all around the globe. Different races. Different people. Different languages. One family. One CFCFFL community. One God who brought our lives together. Truly, we have found a pearl of great price in our community. For the gift of our CFCFFL World Youth Day delegation, beautiful people, full of passion, dedication and love for You, I am definitely proud to be CFC FFL. Thank you Lord for bringing me and my family to CFCFFL.
And of course, for the experience of seeing and hearing the pope, an experience I will never forget, it was like seeing You in person, His presence was Your presence and Your presence really brought renewal, peace and unspeakable joy in my heart. It was simply Your saving and loving grace, through the Holy Father’s presence, that was embracing me the whole time. Thank you Lord for reminding me of Your constant love and for Your promise of a future full of hope for me and all my loved ones. Thank you Lord for that unexplainable experience of renewal and peace you have gifted me with during that moment. It was such a privilege to be there.
For the many life lessons you have taught me all throughout this pilgrimage – patience, faithfulness, purity of intention, and a whole lot more, these are lessons that you have carved in my heart during our stay in Spain, lessons that I may never ever forget, lessons You wanted me to learn most at this moment of my life, to help me become the best woman you want me to be. Thank you Lord for this whole pilgrimage of prayer, joy, peace, love and faith, a pilgrimage I will never forget, an experience I will definitely share and live out as a missionary as I continue on my faith journey.
For making me see what I have never seen before, hear what I have never heard before and experience what my mind has never conceived before. Truly, nothing is impossible for You. Thank you for clearly speaking these words to me, “I love you this much Joy. I am in control of your life. Just continue to love me by doing whatever I tell You to do. I will continue to change you and make you the person I want you to be. I will make you experience greater things than these. I will make the impossible happen in Your life.” What experiences can be greater than this World Youth Day pilgrimage? I am in joyful anticipation for the greater things that the Lord is yet to unfold in my life. Thank you Lord.
For the many more unmentioned WYD reasons to thank You for, You know my heart Lord. It beats for You and You alone. My heart will forever thank You, wonderful Jesus.
With just one yes, You have given me this much. Thank you for this blessing and privilege. Thank you Lord for this overwhelming manifestation of Your love and greatness in my life. Thank you Lord for the whole World Youth Day experience. Everything was a Jesus experience. You have given me overwhelming joy that is unspeakable and indescribable. You have reaffirmed me once more that I am where You want me to be at this moment of my life. What I have now is a renewed and empowered heart that is ready and willing to serve You and love You and do anything and everything for You.
The pope ended the whole World Youth Day pilgrimage by telling us: “May you grow in holiness through your faith. Jesus is your hope and we can do this for Him. Do it for the Lord and do not let Him down.” No matter what it takes, may I never let You down Lord.
My prayer is that I may never forget all that you have shown me and taught me during the World Youth Day 2011. This whole faith experience definitely gave me the renewed spirit and passion to do more for You Lord. You have brought me to Madrid for a purpose and Lord I pray that you grant me the grace and strength to fearlessly live out that purpose well. You have planted me into where I am, I desire that you build me up Lord, use me and make me stand firm in my faith. Grant me the grace to keep this heart burning for You. I will love and serve You for the rest of my life. Thank you Lord.