“Mommy why are you crying? It’s just an airplane,” R asks bewildered. I had been watching the coverage of the Pope’s arrival in Villamor airbase and found myself overwhelmed with emotions. “Pope Francis is here!” Minutes later she asks, “Who is Pope Francis? ” As I searched for the proper words, her older brother tries to help , “The Pope is the head of the church — Mom, she’s too young to understand. ” Another thirty minutes passes and R says “Mom, stop watching the Pope. Please change to Hi-5. ” “No, sweetie. We all have to see this. The Pope travelled very far to tell us about God’s love. ”
The next day we were scheduled to go to MOA but due to some unfortunate circumstance, we were unable to. I decided to be productive and immediately went the children’s closets. They have grown so much in the past year that half of what they own no longer fit. With the helpers, I also put out their toys. “Please choose which ones you want to keep. The rest we will donate to the sick and the poor. ” R asks again “Why should we give away the toys? ” “Because, my dear, you have more than enough. Pope Francis said we should all do our part to help others in need. ” She is now wide-eyed as she reaches for a toy and then another. “Mom will let you play and then tomorrow, I will pack everything. ”
M is inspecting his clothes which I had piled on his bed. “Mom, you took out 80 percent of my stuff! Can I please look them over? Baka there are things I still want to keep?” “Of course. Go ahead” I thought to myself what a good process this was for the kids and I. “Who will you give my stuff to? The cousins? And Mom except for my Transformers and Ironman collection, you can give away the rest. ” I smile at my eleven year old. “I’ve already promised some to a charity. Dad wants to give to the Church and I set aside bags for family.” The husband is looking at our clean-up brigade with a smile. To our son M, he says “You know, faith requires action. Your things can still be very useful to a lot of people.”
Later that night as I chanced upon the feature on the Pope in 60 Minutes, I couldn’t hep myself be teary-eyed again. R quips “Mom is the Pope God’s bestfriend?” I look at her “Yes, you can say that. ” “If I give away my toys, can he be my friend? I’m finished playing. ” “Of course, sweetie. ” “Ok, no more Hi-5. Let’s watch my friend, Pope Francis. ” Someday, I will let her read this so she can look back and remember the Pope.
Thank you for coming the Philippines, POPE FRANCIS! You truly are the Servant of the Servant of the People. May you always be an inspiration to the Filipinos to be merciful and compassionate. And may all of us be models of goodness and kindness to our children. VIVA IL PAPA!