MANILA, Jan. 20, 2015—Pope Francis’ visit to the country was an awakening of sorts, with Filipinos learning a multitude of lessons from the words of the Holy Father.

But it wasn’t only the lay faithful who learned from this momentous occasion. The pontiff also admitted learning great lessons from the simple yet genuine faithfulness exuded by Filipinos.

Pope Francis answers questions from members of the media during his flight back to Rome from the Philippines. (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

Gestures of the heart

Responding to the question raised by journalists onboard the papal flight back to Rome, Pope Francis said the he learned from the honest gestures exhibited by Filipinos during his five-day apostolic visit to the Philippines.

“The gestures moved me. They are not protocol gestures. They are good gestures, felt gestures, gestures of the heart. Some almost make one weep,” the Holy Father said, answering the question raised by GMA-7 reporter Kara David on what he learned from his visit to the Philippines.

“There’s everything there: faith, love, the family, delusion, the future…A gesture that is original but born from the heart,” he added.

Rising up

Pope Francis noted that he learned greatly from Filipinos who strive to rise up following a great suffering, as manifested by the father of Kristel Mae Padasas, the 27-year-old volunteer worker who tragically died in Tacloban.

“There’s a word that’s difficult for us to understand because it has been vulgarized too much, used too badly, too badly understood. But it’s a word that has substance—resignation. A people who knows how to suffer, and is capable of rising up,” he said.

“I was edified at the talk I had with the father of Kristel…He said she died in service, he was seeking words to confirm himself to this situation, to accept it. A people that knows how to suffer, that’s what I saw and how I interpreted the gestures,” he added.

The Holy Father also recognized the “enthusiasm that is not feigned, a joy, a happiness (allegria), a capacity to celebrate” that was shown by Filipinos amid all the pain and sufferings they are going through.

“It wasn’t a painted (false) smile. No, no! It was a smile that just came, and behind that smile there is a normal life, there are pains, problems.” (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)