In this three-part series of posts, the Emmanuel Community in the Philippines share some testimonies from their pilgrimage to the World Youth Day in Poland this summer.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings of Peace!
My name is Elizabeth, Indonesian, but I live in the Philippines since 2013, joining ESM Manila as one of the Team Members. I’m a consecrated sister in the EC.Thank you for your prayers and supports (both material and service), that made us possible to go to the Youth Forum Częstochowa and World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, last July.
It was my first experience to join WYD, and actually I didn’t expect that this year I could join WYD. It was through prayers that finally, I had this desire to live this Jubilee Year of Mercy in a different attitude, and to dare myself to join the WYD, as one way to answer the call of God to experience His mercy personally for me in a deeper way.
We are so blessed, with many things during this pilgrimage in Poland.
Both in YF and WYD, we were able to stay in a good and kindhearted foster family. Their hospitality and generosity, and their joy in welcoming us, are something very strong for us. I could understand later on about their culture which shows the way they live their faith, they said, when you welcome people in your house, you welcome God himself.
Even we arrived late every night after the programme (mostly around 11pm everyday), my foster family, they were waiting for us, and they always prepare for us hot drinks and snack. Though we were having difficulty to communicate in English, but through our gesture and exchange of our language, we finally could understand each other and able to share in a simple way but full of gratitude, love and laughter!!
Youth Forum with the Emmanuel Community in Częstochowa were something “new” for me. Because it was my first experience too, to attend the youth forum in European setting. I attended several times YF in my country Indonesia, but YF in Poland, opened the horizon of my mind and my heart to experience the encounter with thousands of youth from different countries, European, Asian, America Latin, USA.
The theme of YF this year was: “God is Love, All you need is God”. I feel renewed by the teachings, prayers, mass, adoration, workshops and sharing. It’s allowed me to hear many testimonies from different persons about their lives, their struggles, their desires and it became an opportunity to pray together for their intentions.
I was touched by one of the workshop in YF, it’s about Divine Mercy, and it was given by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. I understood that Divine Mercy first of all is about a relationship with God. Relationship with Divine Person and Human Person, which summarize in one word “Trust”. Without trust, there is no devotion. Because it’s about a “connection of heart”. And what involved in trusting someone is that it is need an openness of heart, it is need a free decision /free response from us. God needs our response to His mercy.
This WYD was my first experience of WYD with the Emmanuel Community, and I was happy that I could participate in a little mission with EC during WYD, that is to promote ESM, especially in the Vocation Center. Alternating between the catechesis in the morning, and the common WYD activities in the afternoon, to be in mission with the EC, gave me a chance to go deeper in one of the charisms of EC, Evangelization. The joy of in mission together with other brothers and sisters.
The second day of WYD was the strongest experience for me. I was able to do a pilgrimage of mercy by visiting the John Paul II shrine and Divine Mercy shrine which helped me to welcome the mercy of God with the help of 2 great saints, JP II and Sr. Faustina. And the testimony of life from these saints helped me to ask God to give me the grace to experience and to entrust myself to His mercy. I recognize that I’m a sinner, but God loves me and always look at the best in me, and He is faithful to his love and mercy for me. The opportunity to visit these shrines was also an opportunity to entrust all the intentions of prayers that my brothers/sisters gave to me before we left the Philippines to Poland. I felt that God renewed my life again, God molded my heart again to be gentle and to be humble to recognize that I truly need His mercy and to live in His mercy first, before I can share it with others.
With millions of youth, we gather in Campus Misericordiae, to have a vigil with the Pope. Again, the Lord speaks to me through the speech of Pope Francis. We, young people, are invited not to sit on a comfort “Sofa” or “Sofa Happiness”, a sofa that makes us to stay in our comfort zone. We are invited to leave a mark through our lives. Pope Francis said:
Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in a sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths.
Another word of encouragement from Pope Francis was this:
When the Lord calls us, he doesn’t worry about what we are, what we have been, or what we have done or not done. Quite the opposite, when he calls us, he is thinking about everything we have to give, all the love we are capable of spreading. His bets are on the future, on tomorrow. Jesus is pointing you to the future.
Paray Le Monial
I have been to PLM several times, but it seems to me, every time I went there, there is always something new that the Lord would like to give me. First of all, I feel that I can have “truly” rest in the Heart of Jesus. I like the most the night adoration, being with the Lord in the silence. I think what many people said about PLM is true, PLM is a place of many graces.
The meeting with brothers and sisters in the community, the praise, the teaching and the evening programme and the testimonies were really speaking to my heart. Especially the teaching and testimonies about forgiveness.
I feel that this year, the Lord invites me to experience His mercy for me, to believe in His forgiveness, so that I can be his witness for my family. And never tired to entrust myself and my family to His mercy.
Thank you again brother and sister, for your kindness. You helped us to experience the mercy of God for each one of us in this year Jubilee of Mercy. We can’t not repay what you have done for us, only by saying a prayer to our God that He will grant you abundant blessings.
God bless you!