Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What the Pope Has Shown Me

Back in October 2014, during the Rizal Library's 6th International Conference, Fr. Ben Nebres SJ in his closing keynote challenged the participants of the conference with questions on what libraries can show the world and how librarians are capable of showing it to readers and clients. As I remember it, he talked about technology and our use of a language that is foreign to our context and culture that the purpose and the message for which we create and communicate information becomes unclear. And because he is a Jesuit, he connected this premise to the Papal visit and the current relief operations in Tacloban. It makes a lot of sense but it is difficult to understand everything in one sitting. Just like your typical Jesuit, he left and bestowed points for reflection.

My take away from his closing keynote was, as a librarian, I hold a responsibility to show my community the real and the ideal; that it is my role to help them think through, with care and creativity, which information is worth keeping and worth thrashing away. Isn't this the crux of Information Literacy?

When the Pope spoke about information overload, I connected the dots. Two Jesuits have shown me the way towards my mission as a librarian.

On a personal level, the Pope's visit gave me so much to be grateful for. Once again, I am reminded how important one's personal relationship is with God; that the God we meet in prayer and in the routines of every day is a god who knows how it is to be human. Despite the anit-Pope articles that circulated in social media right after he boarded the plane for Rome, I keep my reverence and respect for Pope Francis because, as I have experienced God in my life, I saw how the Pope would meet his parishioners where they are at. Dissing the prepared speech; being silent and offering one's mere presence; reassuring that Jesus is constant companion in life; embracing the mystery of suffering; falling into vulnerability on questions we could not answer.

So human, yet divine. This is the God I know. This is the God who surprises me.

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