Thus reads and stands the over-all spirit of the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, i.e. the thematic focus of his coming to personally meet the Filipinos in this and that chosen place, for this and that scheduled activity. But then, it is well-known that first and foremost in his heart and mind is his desire and eagerness to visit and be with those who suffered much and are in fact still suffering from the ruin and mortal havoc brought about by the markedly destructive typhoon “Yolanda”.
Thousands of lives were lost. So many houses and other structures were destroyed. Most resources were ruined. And to this day, more than a year has passed since those fatal days, may emotional wounds are still fresh, much temporal ruins are still seen. And so it is that the Pope himself wants to and insists on going to the center of devastation to be with the devastated people, i.e. to meet them, to mingle with then, to eat even with them. Yes. He is going to other places. He is meeting other people. But just the same, the focal point of his visit is to be with the “Yolanda” victims.
So it is that the center reference point and focal element of his forthcoming visit to the Philippines – where a big number of people are poor, where peace remains elusive, where human dignity is at stake - is precisely “Mercy and Compassion”. Mercy means “Pagkaawa”. Compassion mean “Pakikipagdusa”. While the former remains with oneself, the latter makes a transit to others. While the former basically remains a feeling, the latter goes to action. And needless to say, multi-million Filipinos need the “Mercy and Compassion” of their better-off brothers and sisters.
So it is that Pope Francis recently made the following pronouncements:
“Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving voice to the cry of the poor so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.” (14 June 2013)
The poor speak but they are not listened to. The poor act but they are silenced. The poor suffer but they are not seen.
“Peace is a gift of God, but requires our efforts. let u be people of prayer and deed.” (6 June 2014)
There can be no peace without justice whereas it is precisely injustice that ultimately causes mal-development and misery.
“How I wish everyone had decent work! It is essential for human dignity.” (24 June 2014)
Seeking work but there is none. Finding work but salaries are meagre. To be workless and helpless are not the premises of human dignity.
POPE FRANCIS – PLEASE COME!