"Why do our children suffer so much?"

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Now that Pope Francis is back in Rome, we are left to reflect and act on the meaning of his visit, for us and for God's people. For sure, those touched by the Pope have their favorite moments and messages to remember him by.

One of the most poignant moments involved a former street child, Glyzelle Iris Palomar. Unable to contain her tears, Glyzelle cried out and asked: "Bakit po pumapayag ang Diyos na mayroong ganitong nangyayari? Dahil walang kasalanan ang mga bata. At bakit kaunti lang ang mga taong tumutulong sa amin?"

After approaching and hugging a weeping Glyzelle, Pope Francis himself asked a related question: "Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? "

"Only when we too can cry about the things that you said are we able to come close to replying to the question."

Pope Francis continued, "When the heart is able to ask itself and cry, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion, which is useless. You spoke something of this. It is a compassion which moreover leads us to put our hand into the pocket and give something to someone, to the poor."

"If Christ had had that kind of compassion, he would have walked by three people, given them something and moved on. It is only when Christ cried and was capable to cry that he understood our lives, what is going in our lives."

"The world today has a "lack of capacity of knowing how to cry." Even Jesus in the Bible cried for his dear friend, Lazarus, and was moved to compassion when he saw the multitudes without a pastor."

Then one of Pope Francis' beautiful message: "Certain realities in life, we only see through eyes that are cleansed through our tears."

"When we pose this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life, our response must either be silence or a word that is born of our tears."

Why do children suffer so much?

Pope Francis talked about living in "a society which has grown comfortable in social exclusion, polarization, and scandalous inequality." As long as inequality, local and global inequality persists, children will always continue to suffer along with millions of poor parents and siblings not only in this country but throughout the world.

Often, explanation about working children and street children stop at pinpointing to poverty as the cause for their condition. Poverty, however, is not an initial condition.

Poverty is a result of many factors, societal and global. Poverty is never just a personal situation- poverty is a result of a world where policies are enacted by and for the sake of interest groups, where policies continue to sustain inequality, where policies persist in continuing a global market of profit and trade, rather than the creation of a truly global humane community and world of joyful exchange for direct use and welfare of all.

How can we reach out to those who are suffering? How can we reach out to children who suffer so much? How can we reach out to those like Glyzelle who correctly pointed out to all the child's genuine belief- "walang kasalanan ang mga bata."

Why is she and other children allowed to wallow in poverty, to be forced to live in the streets, to be prostituted, to be lured to drugs and other criminal acts? It certainly is not the fault of children nor do children deserve these dire, deplorable conditions. If only adults were more responsible, if only adults were less greedy, if only adults were more compassionate, if only adults had more genuine love in their hearts.

Millions of children are like Glyzelle and Chura, out in the streets, wallowing in poverty and all the unwanted results of poverty. What can we do for our children?

 Let us start where we are, here in our country, right within our neighborhood. Pope Francis has moved on to Rome. Shall we also move on and act with love and compassion as Christ would have done, as God would have us do.

Why did Jesus Christ not remove inequality and oppression when He walked on earth? Greedy, power-driven human beings caused and continue to create inequality up to now. God is still waiting for real conversion of hearts and for human beings with free will, to decide to align their will, with God and for His people.

Inequality is of this earth, created by mortals. When will mortals learn to create a heaven here on earth, one full of true love and compassion, concern, and equality for all?

[email protected].











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