#WYDKrakow by Paul Tropicales

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I can say that my experience in World Youth Day 2016 is all about “Grace and Mercy”.

It’s all about Gods Grace and Mercy that I am one of the participants in World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. Knowing all the documents to submit and the financial requirements to save up is quiet bothering. I know for myself that I cannot push for it. Truly if God wills it, it will truly happen. After so many months of preparation, a dream came to reality. I received an undeserving grace and mercy from God

We experienced a lot of things in WYD; there are funny moments, happy moments, struggling moments, difficult moments and a lot of things that I will cherish for the rest of my life. There, we experienced the generosity of God through the people in Poland; they welcomed us with open arms and open doors of their houses. They served the best food that they can offer to us. They waited for us until we got home even if they are not used to stay late at night. They tried to talk to us even though they don’t speak well in English. But at the end of the WYD we are filled with love because of their generous hearts. I also experienced a lot of walks from short distance to long distance, even if you’re feet is sore because of blisters you don’t have a choice but to walk even more. I’m just saying to myself “Lord if this walking is your way of getting me closer to you, be with me”. I encounter Jesus in every person that we met, every persons smile is the smile of Jesus, for me it was Jesus telling me “I’m so glad that you are here” Seeing those smiles pushes me to cherish every seconds that I’m in WYD, no matter what the situation is. I experienced faith manifested in different ways; I saw a lot youth from different countries, though we have different ways of expressing our faith or saying our prayers, but because we are one with the body Christ we are one family celebrating the gift of having Christ in our life. I also experienced what Catholic faith is all about in Poland; I am so amazed on how they practice their faith. During mass and even up to their day to day life as a Catholic. Because of that I challenge myself to practice what I witnessed there in Poland, when it comes to my Catholic faith. I thank God for all the experiences in World Youth Day in Poland.

WYD comes to an end but not the lessons that I learned from WYD, it must be share to the people around me. I learned about 3 things…

Great things comes from small things, for me this WYD is the very tiring and more challenging WYD for me because of the long walks, the rainy-sunny weather etc. In the end I realized that God is teaching me to appreciate the small things those routinely things that seems ordinary yet there is something that God wants you to learn. There I appreciate more of prayer while walking like there is no ending. God reminded me that Jesus comes in small things in a humble crib, and yet He himself is the greatest thing that happened in my life, when I commit my life to Him.

Good things comes to those who wait, last WYD challenged my patience as a human being and as a pilgrim. Because of the many uncomfortable situations during WYD I caught myself losing patience, easily become hot headed and doing things out of obedience. Because of these things I learned how to value patience because I’m in a place where God unfolds his wonderful plan in my life. God taught me to see beyond the long lines, to see beyond the long walks, to see beyond the uncomfortable situations, it is Jesus telling me to look for me (Jesus) in every uncomfortable situation. I thank God for removing the blindfold so that I will see the bigger picture of what He is painting in my life.

His love, the only thing remains, The Lord stripped me of everything that is not from Him and revealed to me that the only thing that is important is His love, to offer and to receive. God taught me how to focus on things that are essential. During the WYD, I have a lot of questions in my mind; I cherish those Jesus encounter while walking, waiting, and singing and while in silence. The answer to every question that I have is God’s love. Love, even more. Love, extraordinarily. Love, till it hurts. Love, till the end, because God’s love is the only thing that remains. Amen.

Paul Ian F. Tropicales, Mindanao Young Ministries Full time worker