Thank you, ‘Lolo Kiko’
If a young student like me were given a chance to speak to Pope Francis, these would be my words:
Maraming salamat. I will be forever thankful to you and how you have greatly changed my life and that of everyone around me. I am but a bystander on Earth and I know nothing about life and all its perplexities. I am only a teenager, and trying to become significant is merely a shout into the void. I am not a daughter of crucial insufficiency, but I am not as well a child born into the cradle of wealth. I have experienced life’s ups and downs–moments that made me happy, moments that knocked me down to my knees. I have learned when to laugh and when to cry. I have known what love is, for it is taught in many of our subjects in school. I have learned to give and to love, but you have taught me lessons far greater than what I have learned.
When I was growing up, I always believed that I was nothing significant compared to other people who have iPhones, high class marks, or even wonderful clothes. Sometimes we come to a point where we let ourselves be defined by how society sees us, but you have reminded us that it is not between us and society, that it is always between God and us. You have reminded us that God has a plan for all our lives, and that where we are now is already a fraction of His Divine plan.
Maraming salamat, Lolo Kiko, for reminding us that there is no need for us to worry, that there is no need for us to be anxious, for God has laid out plans, perfect plans, for our lives.
Maraming salamat, for you have taught me that I, myself, am poor. Mahirap po ako. We are helpless. We are feeble. We are vulnerable. We can exist, but we cannot live if we are to live by ourselves.
You have taught us that we truly are our brother’s keeper. Now and then we have the urge to help people on the street, or to lend a hand to little children, but we can’t, we couldn’t, because we couldn’t even help ourselves for we are also drowning from our own hardships. But you have taught us that being our brother’s keeper isn’t always in giving but in showing care, giving a penny, or even a smile. You have showed us to not just give but to also receive with utmost humility. Just like a beggar who humbly opens his hands to receive alms, you have taught us to not be self-sufficient. We are created for others. You have reminded us that it is okay to give money to the poor and it is beyond all right to receive what they can offer us–a light smile, a warm hug.
Maraming salamat, Lolo Kiko, for reminding me that I am never alone. Nobody is alone. Thank you for reminding us that there is no cross in life that the Lord doesn’t share with us. Even before we had that difficulty, God already has His solution.
Thank you for teaching us to weep–not just for ourselves but for others. You have taught us that compassion isn’t shown in merely giving what the deprived needs, but that compassion is in shedding a tear with the one who weeps, sharing the sadness with the one who mourns.
Maraming salamat for you have answered the question that I had always asked myself: ìWhy is it that we still feel unloved even when we have given all the love that we have to someone?î We weren’t open, that is why. We remained closed to the love that might come to us. We refused to accept the love of which we are most deserving. Thank you, Lolo Kiko, for you have taught us love beyond what science could teach. Thank you for assuring us that Godís love is unfailing and that no matter how unloved we feel, God will always remain with His everlasting love–no conditions, no boundaries.
I wonder how wonderful it would be to spend a day listening to your inspiring words. I wonder what the families and the children you talked to were feeling. I am in awe of how you laid emphasis on families, the youth, and marriage. God has sent an angel as wonderful as you to unite people, to bring peace, and to remember that God is our Father.
Lumina pandit. Spread the light and tell the world of God’s love. Perhaps this is the best lesson I have learned from you, Lolo Kiko. This is my mission. This is our mission. We must get up, go forth and act. We feel what we think, feel what we do. We do what we think and what we feel. We ought to be for others, just like a candle that loses nothing by lighting another candle. Lumina pandit.
Lolo Kiko, I have always wished to see you and give you my warmest hug, but I wasn’t able to do so. I have always wished to share with you my life story over a cup of tea. I have always wished to engage in a conversation with you even for just a while. I have always wanted to share a laugh, a joke or two with you, but your words are enough.
God has called me to witness Him in you.
I thank you, Lolo Kiko, for opening our eyes to what our real mission is–and it is not to try to be significant in this world but to be important for others. From a young student who had difficulty fitting in, you have turned me into a youth of purpose–all because of God and His abiding love.
Don’t worry, Lolo Kiko. As you have constantly asked us to do, I will always pray for you. Maraming salamat!
Carlisle Naudyn Caroro, 16, a student at Siquijor Provincial Science High School, says she “believes most in God’s unfailing love.”
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