God leads you to find Him in the place that you least expect. A friend of mine was a very active Christian youth leader and had the chance to be a part of the renowned World Youth Day celebration in Paris, France back in 1997. She looked forward to it! Like in most festivities that involved Pope John Paul II, it was publicly hailed as very successful. However, my friend who came from the Philippines said that it was not as well-planned and she had a difficult time leading her delegation because of the unexpected disorganization of the facilitators they were assigned to. They had a lot of trouble with food because they were told that lunches were going to be provided but instead, they were only handed potato chip packs and candies. They were given instructions as to which venues held mass and activities in English but they could not understand what they saw and heard. It became a very tiring experience for her and she found herself too exhausted to even understand what she went through.
Before going back to Manila, she and a friend decided to backpack to Italy and tried to regain her spirituality by visiting the historical sites. She was shocked to find that St. Catherine of Sienna’s body was well intact at Minerva Church in Rome but her head was preserved in St. Dominic’s Church in Sienna. This mutilation was done to please the people who wanted their saint to remain amidst themselves… selfishness for sainthood! Touring Rome made her feel even worse because of the many churches that contained tourists with cameras instead of people praying. She wanted to go back to Manila at once until a nun recommended that she make one last stop at Lanciano for the Eucharistic Miracle. There she saw no crowds lined up to see the bread which miraculously became human flesh and wine which became droplets of blood (type AB and found to have come from a living heart). She finally felt the comfort of God’s love in the tiny church with only 3 other pilgrims praying to the Lord. It was then that she realized that participation to many celebrated activities meant nothing unless you find the Lord in yourself through prayer.