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FEAST OF THE STO. NINO 2013
Ati-Atihan Celebration - Kalibo, Aklan
2nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
We hear a lot of miracle stories attributed to the Sto. Niño. Let me share one which I’ve read from Inquirer (By Fe Marie D. Dumaboc, Marian Z. Codilla, Cebu Daily News, 01/15/2010):
In 1975, Crisanta Largo Dayanan prayed for healing of her son, then 10 years old, who was having a hard time breathing. He also suffered from a massive headache. With few options left to her, Crisanta knelt in front of an image of the Sto. Niño praying for her son’s life, “Right after my prayer, the pain in his head disappeared. Then blood flowed from his ear,” she recalled. After that, her son went about as if nothing had happened to him. After that incident, which she believes was a miracle, Dayanan has since sworn that wherever her feet may take her in life, each year, she would come to Cebu City to celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño in January. She moved to Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur in 1988 and kept her promise of coming to Cebu City for the fiesta especially since the Sto. Niño has addressed many of her concerns since then.
Similar to Dayanan’s experience, we hear stories of miraculous healing from cancer and other serious illnesses, having a child when it seems impossible, etc. Whatever these claims are, the Sto. Niño remains to be a powerful symbol of faith even to present-day converts. However, these miracles wouldn’t have any meaning at all unless we have that close connection with the Sto. Niño.
Last year, I spoke about two major qualities of a child: 1. INNOCENCE – or guiltlessness, as the child is free from any sense of guilt and sin; and, 2. DEPENDENCE – a child could not claim anything of his own possession and is entirely dependent on his/her parent’s care and guidance. This year, let me point out two more qualities that are worthy of our reflection as we celebrate this feast and more importantly, the Year of Faith:
1. FAITHFULNESS. This is somewhat related to dependence but could be understood in a deeper sense. Yes, a child is dependent of the parent’s care and guidance but once the child is properly nurtured by the parent’s love and catechetical guidance, the child could turn into a child of faith. Growing up as a child, my mother would take us not only to daily Masses but also to Charismatic gatherings. It is where I first learned to sing, “This is the day. This is the day that the Lord has made…” with matching action and choreography. Subconsciously, I come to understand the Holy Spirit’s power at work in my life even at the very early stage of my childhood. Understanding and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in my life helped me eventually to understand the Trinity in a more concrete way as He is present in my life as “gifts.” My own giftedness has drawn me closer to God in faith.
The year of faith should remind us of our “baby steps” toward faithfulness by clearly defining our own connection and relationship with God. Who is God for me? Recall your childhood encounter with God and hold on to it. In like manner, especially to new and older parents, provide a more concrete venue or environment where your child could encounter Christ in their own way. Make them understand Christ at the early stage of their childhood so much so that when they grow up, they will be able to see a more concrete connection with Christ.
2. SILENCE WITHIN. Don’t we like to see children especially babies in their serene or silent state as they sleep? It reminds us of those times when things seem to be so peaceful and free of worries. Why is that? It is because they don’t have work to attend to. They don’t have bills to pay. They don’t have mouths to feed but are in fact the ones being fed. But such peace and serenity among children remind us that nothing in this world could satisfy every human need except the peace that we can derive from within. The spiritual nourishment we get from the sacraments, the Eucharist most especially, gives us that grace that could give us peace within ourselves.
Jason Castro, a Season 7 American Idol finalist, was once interviewed about his decision to shift music genre from Pop to Christian music. He was quite popular as a pop singer so he was able to experience the fame and glory, which a lot of people aspire. Eventually, he got married and had a daughter. Basing on world standards, he was truly successful. When asked what made him decide to embark on singing Christian songs, he said that he felt something was missing in his life. It was when he found his faith that he felt complete. Singing Christian songs, though not as lucrative, has become his passion as a form of thanksgiving to God. A thanksgiving that gives him inner peace, which no money and fame can buy.
A child is dependent as we’ve noted, but in each child’s eyes is a picture of inner peace that God constantly reminds us of searching. Let each child remind us that nothing in this world could fully satisfy us than the peace that we can achieve from within through the grace we derive from the sacraments especially the Eucharist.
Miracle stories of faith continue to be told far and wide, especially to those who feel deprived of miracles in their lives. They serve as a testimony to the power of faith. Many derive comfort from them and miracles are retold to all who believe with childlike faith in He who made His dwelling among men. But the question is, do we have enough faith to believe in the Christ-Child? Is our faith to the miracles attributed to the Sto. Niño as great as our own faith? Ika nga sabi ni Nora Aunor, “Walang himala … tayo ang may gawa himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao” [Miracles can only be found in the heart of man] True miracles happen when people learn to love recognizing that true love coming from the Christ-child Himself.
VIVA SR. STO. NINO!
VIVA SR. STO. NINO!