Pope Francis: Those who give must also learn to receive

Pope Francis Philippines Youth address CNA Pope Francis addresses a youth rally in Manila Jan. 18.

Everyone who helps the poor should consider whether they know how to ask for help in areas where they themselves are poor, Pope Francis suggested to a young engineer who helped Typhoon Haiyan victims.

"Do you feel self-sufficient, and only offer something and think you have no need of anything? Do you know that you, too, are poor? Do you know the need to receive? Do you let yourselves be evangelized by the ones you serve?" Pope Francis asked at a Jan. 18 youth rally on the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila.

Rikki Macolor, a recent engineering graduate of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, recounted to Pope Francis his experience when Typhoon Haiyan struck over a year ago.

Although not in the path of the storm, Macolor and his colleagues boarded a plane to be part of the relief efforts shortly after the storm was over.

Macolor was one of several Filipino youths who presented brief testimonies to the Pope at the youth rally. The young people also posed questions to Pope Francis, which the Holy Father answered in a closing address.

"Our project was simple: To provide lighting and, somehow, to also shed some light of hope to the calamity stricken communities," Macolor explained.

Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda, struck the Philippines in December 2013 and killed over 6,000 people while leaving tens of thousands of others homeless. Macolor and his colleagues worked to develop a low-tech innovation that would be useful in the lives of the storm survivors.

They came up with a Solar Night Light and taught survivors of the storm how to assemble the device on their own.

"It was difficult, time consuming, out of our comfort zone and even, to a certain extent, putting our lives on the line," he said. "Regardless, it was not for us. It was for these people who already lost so much. It is also not every day that you have the opportunity to help people in a great deal."

The question posed to Pope Francis following Macolor's story was: How can young people be successful without being blinded by earthly temptations? And how can the young people of today become true agents of mercy and compassion?

Pope Francis thanked Malacor for his work in the relief efforts. He answered the engineer's question with a question.

"I'll ask you this," Pope Francis said. "Do you allow others who give from their riches to you?"

"How many people are like this? You know how to give, but have not learned how to receive. This is what you lack: to learn how to beg. This isn't easy to understand."

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