(by Christina Saccharine S. Mamaril)
The World Youth Day in Rio, and the events that come along with it, is something I find myself really looking forward to this year. I can still recall the lessons and experience of the one in Madrid, and yet I know in my heart that this one will provide a totally different experience and one totally apt for me, and my current state of life. I want to go to World Youth Day for several reasons, which can be limited to the following.
Firstly, I’ve come to realize that the world that I currently live in is as secularized as it can get. Gone are the days when people would devote time to going beyond themselves, and come to the realization of a higher power. With the advancement of technology and science, it is so easy for people to lose awe and wonder at the world, and its design, one that some even take credit for. Keeping the faith and sharing the faith has become a difficult feat especially with the rise of skepticism. But the Lord decided to give us a wake up call with this year of faith. It has made me reflect and assess myself on whether I have become complacent in my work of the Lord. Perhaps I had forgotten the urgency of letting others know of the gospel of salvation prepared for all of us who let God in. This year, despite the challenges the coming years will provide as we take on the re-evangelization of the Philippines and the world, I know what I will witness and experience during the World Youth Day will give me a lot. It will provide for me the strength I need as a Catholic. Seeing millions of people celebrate the faith together will remind me how long the Catholic Church has survived despite the many persecutions it has faced. It will remind me that the Church has been built on something solid and something true, because only the truth survives tests of time and oppression. I will be reminded that Christ had already claimed victory before, and the challenge to evangelize now more than ever is a chance for us to share in that claim.
Secondly, I want to thank God for his faithfulness in the past years. I believe I had taken for granted the work of God in my life. Perhaps it is because for most of my life I have had my needs and wants served to me on a silver platter. Not because I deserved it, but simply because God is good to me, and my family. I recall the many times I have doubted him, and his work in me, and yet He rewards me with nothing but unconditional love. The World Youth Day will provide for me another venue to say thank you to God for His faithfulness. He has certainly been my promise keeper, and I cannot wait to see what else He will reveal to me. Last World Youth Day, I did not really care for preparing. I though I was just taking my parents’ offer and “freebie”, but now that I will be working to get to go, I keep positive because I know that it will be another opportunity to see God reveal and fulfill the deepest desires of my heart.
Lastly, I ‘ve only recently had a fascination with the leadership and role of the Pope in my life as a Catholic. I still vividly remember the day, I saw Pope Benedict XVI, small but definitely live before me. I cannot even to put into words the overwhelming feeling I possessed. I could not hold back my tears because I knew that I was standing on Holy ground, and witnessing first hand the face of God on earth. While many outside the Church would disapprove of the Catholics awe at the wisdom of another “man”, I strongly believe that the Pope represents a lot. He stands for God wanting to always be near His people, and that day the Pope provided for me a sense of security; that God would never abandon his people; especially those who love and remain faithful to Him. Hearing directly from the Pope and witnessing God’s affirmation of His leadership through nature is another thing I look forward to because I know a lot of great things can happen through the eyes of faith.
The opportunity to go to Rio and be part of the World Youth Day with friends is definitely exciting. I know I can have a bunch of reasons to want to go but to put into a nutshell my main one: I know that God will meet me there with arms wide open, and I simply ask Him to set a fire in my heart; one that will prepare to see Him again in World Youth Day.
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