(Anna Arcaya, CFC Singles for Family and Life)

It is by God’s grace that I was able to go to World Youth Day in Madrid through the generosity of community, friends and family.  It’s only by God’s grace that WYD is a life changing experience for me.

  • Long walks in scorching heat.  It would be easy to give up walking under tremendous heat of the sun.  It weakened me and made me so impatient. I realized, it’s like our journey in our spiritual life.  We can be under tremendous heat, with temptations, with difficulties, with persecutions, with dryness, etc. It weakens us, it make us want to just give up.  What kept me going is keeping in mind where we’re going. Cause where we’re going I will experience Jesus.  Along the way, people helped to ease the heat by pouring/spraying us water.  The group encouraged each other, we kept on drinking water and taking rests to be able to make it.   And just like the difficult journey in our spiritual life, focusing on the destination will keep us going and doing everything we can to ensure we will get there.
  • Running to catch the train. It’s very stressful to run to catch the train.  Not only run but ensure that our buddies are in there as well and able to get in in jampacked train. My realization: we always have to be alert and ready to go to THE destination.  Be always ready, prepare, be early, know what the time the train leaves etc.  And also keeping in mind that we don’t live for ourselves alone. To keep in mind to help others prepare as well so they won’t miss the train.
  • Don’t lose sight of the flag.  It would be easy to lose each other in a big crowd. So whenever there’s a big crowd, it became automatic for us to walk single pile and holding on to each other and the one leading the way holds the flag up high so we would know where to go in case we get disconnected in the line by the crowd.  The “crowd” could make us lose our grip and sidetrack us in our spiritual journey.  But keeping our eye on the flag would help us inch our way in again and take a grip.

It was very difficult to be intimate with God in the celebration of the Eucharist in an open venue with over a million people doing their own things – chatting, smoking, fooling around and even kissing.  I reminded myself, that it’s my time with God and I need to be in communion with Him and I cannot be distracted, I kept my eyes on the “flag”.   We ought to exercise our faith, even when others are not.

  • Hauling my 18.80 kg luggage. Boy!  It’s definitely not easy to haul that heavy luggage in the street, uphill, inside the train and stairs to get to the airport.  It made me catch my breath as if it would be my last!  But I made it to the last train, praise God!  Despite myself, my limitations, my weakness I will keep on pushing, do what God would ask me to do because I know He will be my breath.


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