WYD is one of my last great spiritual adventures as a single person and it all started when I chose to believe. Last year, I was so hesitant to join and to say yes to lead the CFCSFL sub- group since I was already planning to get engaged and married the following year. For me it was too risky to say yes. I can still remember the first orientation of those who were interested to join the WYD from our community. I was telling everyone that if you really want to attend WYD, you must first believe. As I declared that to them, I was also convincing myself to believe. I still had some doubts because there were some personal expectations that were not yet met, financial, and other practical reasons in mind.
I was already engaged with my fiancée that time and we are already preparing for our wedding. I still can’t help but ask, “Is WYD worth the risk?” As the registration deadline was fast approaching and as the sub-group leader, I thought, there must be no backing out and so I decided to bow, beg, and believe: “Jesus I trust in you.” Then I realized that the Great Adventure as a WYD Pilgrim has just began when I chose to take risk and believe.
I was holding to a teaching I learned early this year from Bishop Robert Baron. That I must not be limited by the narrow space of ego drama. Like Mama Mary, I must be free and believe that I am in a Spiritual Adventure. I attended WYD bringing with me my main intention and that is for God to prepare me for married life. God answered it by granting me purity, teaching me patience, and reminding me of perseverance.
It was the best time to attend WYD because it is the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. During WYD in Poland and our post WYD in Rome, I had the great opportunity to enter so many Doors of Mercy, had the chance to receive the Holy Eucharist every day, had several chances to receive the Sacrament of reconciliation, do some works of mercy and had a renewal of my baptismal vows during the Vigil with the Pope. It was God purifying me, granting me Holy Purity as He longs for me to be ready for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Leading 21 SFL with different personalities wherein majority are women, is not a joke. I also had to make sure that the 16 YFL delegates are okay given all the security risks in Europe. We were all pushed to the limits with more than 220KM walk and the unpredictable weather. With all the navigating, decision making, and everything I had to do, my patience was tested. I was reminded of a quote from a movie “If you ask for patience, God will give you opportunity to be patient.” And I honor God for teaching me to be patient as this is what I will truly need for my next great adventure: marriage and family life.
I am very sure that in this WYD I had the longest walk in my entire life. We were chanting, chatting, building relationships, praying, enjoying, grumbling, questioning, weakening, and getting burned under the sun. But every time we reach our destinations (Campus Misericordia for the Vigil with the Pope, JPII Sanctuary, Divine Mercy Sanctuary, Blonia Park for major activities, etc), I was always saying to myself “It is all worth it.” The whole WYD pilgrimage is all worth it. This was a reminder to persevere and not to give up in this adventure and on people. That my call is to lead my future spouse and family to heaven and so through His grace, I will persevere.
Lord I thank You for this great spiritual adventure and for preparing me for my next adventure. Lord, I BELIEVE. Let me end with my favorite WYD quote: “If you won’t risk you won’t win.” – Pope Francis
Eubert Joseph T. Aguila, CFCSFL Full time worker