Keep the Santo Niño devotion strong
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - January 18, 2020 - 12:00am

We should consider ourselves lucky and blessed that we still have a vibrant spirit of popular piety as evidenced by the tremendous outpouring of devotees during the feasts of the Black Nazarene and Santo Niño. I don’t know if there are still other countries with the same show of popular piety we have. We should thank God for this blessing and strive to keep it strong and growing always.

I would say that this devotion to Santo Niño is crucial in our Christian life because it helps us to establish a strong sentimental fondness to Christ who shows himself as a little child. And yet he already reminds us that he isn’t just any ordinary child, but a very important one, a king to whom we have to submit our whole being.

I’m always moved to see great crowds of devotees pouring out their affection and fondness for the Santo Niño. They carry his image, sing and dance with it, clearly showing how fond they are of the little child Jesus. Human as we are, it’s important we have a basic fondness for Christ as a child so that no matter what happens in life, Christ will always be in our mind and heart.

And we know that whether we like it or not, we will always have all sorts of trials, challenges, difficulties and predicaments in life. But as long as we have a strong fondness and affection for the Santo Niño, we won’t be afraid to face Christ when he appears to us as the Black Nazarene who invites us to suffer with him whatever suffering we have in life.

It’s important that whatever situation we may find ourselves in, we always relate ourselves and our concerns to Christ. Indeed, it helps that for as long as our fondness for Christ fueled by our devotion to the Santo Niño remains strong, we can do that.

I know of certain persons who get a good spiritual lift and boost whenever they would just picture in their mind the image of the Santo Niño. Whenever they have problems and difficulties, what helps keep them going is their devotion to the Santo Niño.

We should promote this devotion more insistently because there are now many elements and factors that tend to weaken the faith and piety of people, especially the young.

The new things of the world today, while not necessarily bad and in fact are in themselves good, can undermine the spiritual and moral lives of people if they aren’t referred to God. Our times are in great need of being offered to God. There is so much indifference to God now, so much confusion and ignorance about faith and religion.

We have to find ways of how this devotion can be made more relevant to the lives and concerns of the young, especially those in urban areas and exposed to many worldly elements. We cannot deny that most of the devotees are the elderly ones and those coming from the provinces whose lives, concerns, and challenges are simpler.

This effort will indeed require a lot of creativity. And we shouldn’t be afraid to face that challenge. To be sure, there are many possibilities through which we can infuse attractive and innovative ways in the evangelization of people, especially the young.

Let’s remember that the very source of what is new, of what is true, good, and beautiful is God himself. If we would just persevere in our relation with God, we can always come up with these attractive and innovative ways.

roycimagala@gmail.com

SANTO NIñO
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