Have you ever been electrified? Your senses jolted into awareness with all your nerves tingling? It’s like hitting your funny bone, a nerve inside your elbow, and a tingling sensation or dull pain shoots down your arm into your pinkie. But on a large scale. The experience at the recent CFC YFL Conference 2013 dubbed WILDFIRE in Lucban, Quezon on April 6 and 7, 2013 was something akin to that.
I had the chance to be with more than 2,000 young people from the Philippines and abroad, and be inspired. They really embodied this year’s slogan “With faith we will set the world on fire.” Vibrating with energy and enthusiasm, they prayed with their whole bodies: jumping, clapping, swaying, dancing, arms raised or clasped, with eyes closed, they allowed the Spirit to move them in praise and worship, in quiet and in tears.
This is an army of disciples, which no one can fully grasp, being taught by God in more ways than one. Young people full of idealism and fervor, exploring life and love, afraid of tomorrow but facing courageously the challenges of each day with faith and determination.
Listening to them during our personal talks for counseling and discernment, and seeing their devotion and joy as they received Jesus from my hand at communion, I was humbled by such a great gift. God is indeed here. In the midst of doubts and questions, of problems in the family and the tortuous search for one’s true self, of the struggle to make ends meet and to be faithful to God, I saw these young people hand in hand, reaching out to others in friendship, in faith, in service.
At the vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, I asked Jesus: Who among them will be God’s mountain, immobile, steadfast, a refuge of quiet and prayer? Who will be God’s voice? his guitar or keyboard? Who will be God’s gadget, ever-present to do his will at the flick of his fingers? Who will be God’s fiber optics through which sound, color, images, light and his very life will pass?
I pray that the hunger for the divine which throbs in them find nourishment in the myriad of ways God reveals himself: broken, wounded, ignorant, lost, poor, confused, bewildered, unloved, needy for someone to be with, to stay with, to work with, to love. And in this month of May, I kneel before the throne of Mary, the Queen of Apostles, offering her all the youth especially the members of CFC YFL as fragrant and colorful buds. May she tend and nourish them into full blooms to the glory and praise of her Son.
And to all the young people I had the fortune to be with in Lucban, I echo the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis to young Catholics:
Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be brave!
It’s been a while since my previous post. Hope you had been inspired by the quotes and images in the other blog, Rays of Life – Door of Faith. Thanks for all the likes and positive comments – and if you’d like to share your favorite quotes from the saints, I’d be very grateful and honored to feature them.
Thanks to Fr Francis Gustilo, SDB (CFC Spiritual Director) for the invitation, to Sr Nina, SJGS, to the three Salesian deacons Uly, Jun and Jols (congratulations on your priestly ordination on Monday, May 6!) and to Francis a YFC from the US.
Here are the photos of that unforgettable event.