Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

The working boy God

KIDSTUFF - Nathan Cabello - The Freeman

The Santo Nino de Cebu, whose feast day it is today, is one of several depictions of Christ as a little boy. There’s Santo Nino de Praga in Prague, Czech Republic. There’s also Santo Nino de Atocha in Spain.

Story has it that in 1523, Charles V of Spain paid for an enormous temple and placed a sacred statue under the care of the Dominicans. It was the image of the Divine Child, which was detachable, and devout families would borrow the image when a woman was about to give birth to her child.

In Atocha, a suburb of Madrid, many men were imprisoned because of their faith. The prisoners were not fed by their jailors, so food was taken to them by their families. At one time the caliph issued an order that no one except children 12 years old and younger would be permitted to bring food to the prisoners.

Those with young children would manage to keep their relatives alive, but what of the others? The women of the town prayed to Mother Mary, begging her to help them find a way to feed their husbands, sons, and brothers. Soon the children came home from the prison with a strange story. Those prisoners who had no young children to feed them were being visited and fed by a young boy.

None of the children knew who the boy was, but the little water gourd he carried was never empty, and there was always plenty of bread in his basket to feed all the hapless prisoners without children of their own to bring them their food. He came at night, slipping past the sleeping guards or smiling politely at those who were awake.

Those who had asked Mother Mary for a miracle began to suspect the identity of the little boy. As if in confirmation, the shoes on the statue of the child Jesus at the town church were worn down. When the parishioners replaced the shoes with new ones, these too were soon worn out. After Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Moors from Spain in 1492, the people continued to invoke the aid of Mother Mary and her Holy Child.

Portrayed as a small Spanish pilgrim boy, the Santo Niño de Atocha is dressed in a long gown with a cape that has a wide lace collar and frilled cuffs. The traditional symbol of a pilgrim, a cockleshell, is on his cape, and he holds a little basket in his left hand and a water gourd suspended from a staff in his right hand. The little holy boy wears buckled sandals of silver, and a large, floppy hat with a feather. Although he is known as a wanderer, he is usually shown seated in a little chair. (Reference: www.ninoatocha.com)

10 things children should learn about faith

1. Faith is what saves. Among the many verses that attest to this, Ephesians 2:8 clearly states, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Children first and foremost need to learn that faith in Jesus is the only thing that results in salvation of our souls.

2. Faith can grow. Since the Bible clearly establishes faith as the requirement for salvation, it is natural to think of it as something we either have or don’t have. While that is true for saving faith, many verses make it clear that the faith of (saved) Christians can and should continue to grow (example: Romans 4:20, 2 Corinthians 10:15, Philippians 1:25, 1 Thessalonians 3:10, Romans 14:1). Children need to understand that growing faith is a life-time process that starts with saving faith.

3. Faith can fail. In Luke 22:31-34, Jesus foretells Peter’s denial. In verse 32 Jesus says, “…but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Our faith can fail due to our circumstances. When facing such circumstances, Children need to know they can pray for their faith to remain firm.

4. Faith is a gift. Romans 12:3 and 1 Corinthians 12:9 tell us that faith is a spiritual gift from God. It may be construed that faith varies from person to person. Children should understand that faith does vary among believers and that comparisons are fruitless. What matters is one’s personal faith growth.

5. Faith can move mountains.  Jesus says in Matthew 17:20 and 21:22 that if you do not doubt, your faith can move mountains. But note that He didn’t say that “medium” faith will move hills! Children need to understand that the power of prayer lies in full conviction.

6. Faith means to trust. The book of Matthew quotes Jesus saying “O you of little faith” on five occasions. On all but one of those occasions, Jesus was addressing the disciples regarding their fear or worry (6:30, 8:26, 14:31, and 16:8). If little faith results in worry, it implies that great faith results in trust. When children are worried or scared, grownups should help them pray specifically for God to grow their faith; faith that results in trust is the remedy for fear.

7. Faith is protective. There are two New Testament verses that use faith as a metaphor for spiritually protective armor (the “shield of faith” in Ephesians 6:16 and the “breastplate of faith” in 1 Thessalonians 5:8). Children need to be aware of the need for spiritual protection in their daily lives, and that faith is the basis for that protection.

8. Faith results in action. Hebrews Chapter 11 recalls many of the most faithful people of the Old Testament. Each verse starts with the pattern, “By faith (person) (did something).”  It wasn’t enough for the author to point out that each of these people had faith; the focus was on what that faith produced. Children need to understand that authentic faith results in action.

9. (Great) Faith is believing before experiencing.  In almost every instance where Jesus acknowledged someone for having great faith, it was in the context of believing in Him prior to experiencing healing (example: see Matthew 8 for the “greatest” faith of the Centurion). Children need to know that faith doesn’t require waiting for signs or experiences that lead to the “conviction of things not seen”; Jesus acknowledged great faith as first believing in him.

10. Faith is a decision one makes. Even if a person does not have faith in God, he or she must have faith in another “unproven” alternative about the afterlife (even if it’s that nothing exists). Children need to realize that faith is a decision each one makes, not just Christians.(www.christianmomthoughts.com)



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