MANILA, Philippines – Before thousands of Filipino families gathered at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City for an encounter with him, Pope Francis cracked jokes, laughed, made vigorous hand gestures and spoke spontaneously in Spanish, saying he can better express himself in his native language.
In this event, Francis proved to his audience that he is indeed the Pope of quotes, the Pope of surprises, and the Pope of images.
“I would like to reflect with you regarding the gifts of the family,” the Pope said after listening to speeches from 4 families during the “Encounter with Families” on Friday, January 17. “My English is so poor…so I will speak in Spanish,” he said, drawing applause.
Speaking through an interpreter, Pope Francis said: “I like this idea of dreaming in a family. Every mother and father dreams of their son or daughter in the womb during 9 months.” Then he asked the crowd: “Is it true or not?”
“To dream how will your daughter or son be, it is not possible to have a family without such dreams. When you lose this capacity to dream, then you lose the capacity to love, and this energy to love is lost. I recommend that at night, when you examine your consciences, ask yourselves, ‘Today, did I dream about my sons and daughters? Did I dream of the love of my husband, or my wife? Did I dream of my parents, my family? It is so important to dream, and to dream in the family, please don’t lose this ability to dream in this way. And how many solutions are found to family problems if we take time to reflect? If we think of a husband or wife and we dream about their good qualities that they have? Don’t ever lose the illusion of when you were boyfriend and girlfriend!”
In between, the Pope smiled, raised his hand, smiled and laughed. He was clearly at home.
About 20,000 pre-selected Filipinos attended the gathering at the MOA. It was Francis’ first intimate encounter with diverse groups of Filipinos – the elderly, the urban poor, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, middle class families, among others.
His speech was preceded by prayer and short speeches from representatives of 4 families. After each speech, the Pope went down from the stage to talk to the family members. He laughed and chatted with them.
Pope Francis shared anecdotes during his speech, matching his stories with body actions. He related something “very personal” to himself – about how he liked St Joseph “very much.”
St Joseph is a “strong man of silence,” the Pope said, adding that he keeps a statue of St Joseph – sleeping – on his desk. Even as St Joseph sleeps, he looks after the Church, Francis said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“When I have a problem or difficulty I [write] it on a piece of paper and put it under his statue so that he can dream about it,” Pope Francis said. – Rappler.com