There are reasons why we experience certain events in our lives. At this stage, I can safely say that my life dots have been made long before I even tread on them. While it’s still a choice which way to go in our life journey, we can be assured we are pursuing the right path provided we are humble, prayerful and discerning. There may be instances that we feel we took the wrong trail but in the end, we’ll realize those were learning experiences that made us better, stronger, and tougher.
So far, there are three major instances that the Lord has called me to Cebu: first when I studied college; second, when I moved to my current employer, and third, when I was again posted there to manage a part of our operations. In each of these stages, my love affair with the Christ Child resembled something romantic that reflected God’s love for His children. On the first stage, I met and made great brothers and sisters in the faith who “introduced” me to the devotion to Santo Niño, which also affirmed in me my Mom’s ardent love for the Baby Jesus. She always reminded me back then to find time to visit the Basilica where the miraculous icon holds court and venerated by millions of devotees. When I came back on successive assignments, there were always some details to know about the Child. There was always a learning and an insight every time; the more we humble ourselves like Him, the more the Spirit gives us the understanding and discernment needed to decode and see the dots before us.
Being a child speaks of innocence, simplicity and unconditional love. We can relate with that so to speak as we have been small children way back. Relating with a child is to recognize our nothingness, our smallness and our shortcomings in front of our Almighty Father.
Our human weaknesses reveal our need for God, thus, our love for the Santo Niño shows our recognition of His mercy, gentleness and compassion. In a country that is still beset with problems, the presence of the Santo Niño provides a sense of assurance and a refuge of families who are in search of better futures: an OFW parent longing to be back home, a child praying to hurdle the board examinations and others praying for better jobs, among others. Thus, we can safely say, the reason of the big number of devotees. But that’s just half of the story: the other part also tells of the great multitude of those who are being grateful for receiving favors and answered prayers from Baby Jesus. I know because I am one of them!
On this feast of the Santo Niño, let us again discover the child in us and imitate Jesus’ child-like qualities of innocence, simplicity and total dependence on God. As Jesus said in the Gospel, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18: 4), we can grow deeper in faith. In a world continually in a state of confusion, we need to be children, trekking on this earthly journey with the Lord Jesus Christ and totally dependent on God.
Señior Santo Niño, have mercy on us!
Lord, listen to the prayers of your children! (cf. the Prayers of the Faithful)