It was Emanuele’s turn to ask Pope Francis a question. When he got to the microphone, he froze and cried. “I can’t do it,” he said. Even a papal assistant couldn’t get him to loosen his tongue.
“Come, come to me, Emanuele,” the pope said. “Come and whisper your question in my ear.”
The aide helped the boy up to the platform where the pope was. Emanuele was sobbing, and Pope Francis enveloped him in a big embrace.
With their heads touching, the pope and the boy spoke privately to each other before Emanuele returned to his seat.
“If only we could all cry like Emanuele when we have an ache in our hearts like he has,” the pope told the children. “He was crying for his father and had the courage to do it in front of us because in his heart there is love for his father.”
With Emanuele’s permission, Pope Francis went on to share the boy’s question: “A little while ago my father died. He was a non-believer, but he had me and my brothers baptized. He was a good man. Is my dad in heaven?’’
“How beautiful to hear a son say of his father, ‘He was good,’” the pope told the children. “And what a beautiful witness of a son who inherited the strength of his father, who had the courage to cry in front of all of us. If that man was able to make his children like that, then it’s true, he was a good man. He was a good man.”
“God is the one who says who goes to heaven,” the Pope explained.
“What do you think? God has a dad’s heart. And with a dad who was not a believer, but who baptized his children and gave them that bravura, do you think God would be able to leave him far from himself?”
“Does God abandon his children?” the pope asked.
The children and all present shouted, “No.”
“There, Emanuele, that is the answer,” the pope told the boy. “God surely is proud of your father.”
Then Pope Francis encouraged Emanuele saying, “talk to your dad; pray to your dad.”
Source: Based on Cindy Wooden’s report
in Catholic News Service
What is heaven for you? How would you describe or define it?
Consider this short verse from Rumi:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.
Rumi as rendered by Coleman Barks in “The Essential Rumi”