By Anne Cana
CFC SFL, District of Pasig
1. I am chosen. I am His beloved.
AYD6 is an affirmation that I am exactly where God wanted me to be. It is an affirmation that I did not choose God but rather He chose me (John 15:16). And for this I am deeply honored and blessed. I have received so much love and grace that there is nothing else to do but to share this wonderful blessing to others. It is an affirmation of my mission to live as how Christ lives (Gal 2:20), to share His life to others (Mt 28:19) and to bring more people back to His love (Lk 4:18).
2. Be open to God. Accept His invitation.
These words inspire me to strengthen my daily prayer time to allow myself to hear God’s daily message to me (Rom 10:17) so I can face each day with a hopeful heart, a pure soul and a strong will to accomplish whatever He wants me to do. In the same way, this inspires me to share to others the fruit of having a personal relationship with God, how to hear His message to us and how joyful it is to answer YES to Him. I will encourage everyone I would encounter to be open to God and to be brave to say YES to Him (Heb 3:15). I will share to them my personal joyful experience after I said my own YES in the hope to inspire them (Mt 5:16). I will exhaust every way and commit to never get tired of encouraging people to say YES to God.
3. Be a joyful protagonist of the Gospel.
These homilies open up my mind that it is not enough to be a witness of the Gospel but rather be a JOYFUL PROTAGONIST OF THE GOSPEL (Acts 22:15). To be joyful is to be always vibrant in proclaiming the Gospel – to never get tired, to be always inspired and to always aspire for new learning and experiences. In my years of service, it is but common to experience spiritual dryness from time to time, but because of this AYD6 experience, I would always have something to look back to get me back on track, to regain strength and to always to move forward.
4. Be a martyr. Be a saint.
The story of the Korean martyrs reminds me to strive for holiness, to aspire to be a saint and to aim for heaven. AYD6 consistently reminds me to “wake up” to whatever is hindering me to proclaim the Gospel, to have a concrete plan to overcome my struggles and daily persecutions, to constantly pray for the Holy Spirit to sustain me and to be always firm in my faith. It awakens me in today’s reality of the world that I did not need to die to be a martyr or a saint because heaven is here and now. Heaven is in my heart. Heaven is by loving one another and bringing people back to the love of God. I know that this is not easy but it is possible because God will sustain me (Is 41:10).
5. God will give the desires of your heart.
When I received the good news that I will represent our organization in AYD6, the first thing that comes to my mind is, “I hope to see Pope Francis in the same distance as Pope Benedict XVI”. And so it happened, on August 15, on the audience of Pope Francis with AYD and KYD delegates, I was able to see Pope Francis in the same distance as I’ve seen Pope Benedict XVI in JMJ 2011.
The thing is I’m not happy. I’m not completely happy to have seen the Pope in such distance. Why? It is because I let go of an opportunity to see him nearer and possibly the opportunity to have hold his hand. I can’t figure out why me, the one leading the line of YC-9 bus and leading the rest of Philippine delegates to secure their places near the aisle, decided to let go of that position and eventually transfer to the other side of the venue. I cried feeling so disappointed of the opportunity that I let go. Then I remembered my prayer, “Lord, I hope to see Pope Francis in the same distance as Pope Benedict XVI”. Then it sinks in that God just grant what I’ve asked from Him. He just gave what I have been asking for. This experience made me realize one important thing, God grants the deepest desires of your heart. He puts that desires in your heart and all He need is to hear it from you. You need to ask it from Him because asking Him is a sign of your faith to Him (Mt 21:21).
I am deeply honored and blessed to have attended the Sixth Asian Youth Day. I am grateful for this opportunity to see and hear God in the people and events. My prayer is that all of us who have attended this momentous event be able to sustain the love of God that is burning in our hearts. May the Holy Spirit sustain us, guide us and strengthen us. May we always remember that God chose us, that we belong to Him and our mission is to love Him and share His love to everyone we meet. We must remember to be always firm in our faith and be ready to defend it in all circumstances. And in times that we may feel dry and weak, always remember these words:
“Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines on you.”