Lifting to you, Señor Santo Niño
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - January 18, 2020 - 12:00am

Like previous Sinulog celebrations, many, including us, will lift to you prayers ranging from personal to concerns about our family and others.

We join those whose prayers were heard and will come with grateful hearts and most likely, with another round of petitions and supplications. Thank you for hearing our prayers.

We also join and lift the prayers of those who are here for the first time and the returnees among the devotees. We also thank you for responding to the cries, pleas, petitions, and supplications, especially of the needy devotees.

During this celebration this year for you, our dear Señor Santo Niño, we come not only with our own prayers. We come and fervently lift to you, all those affected by disasters, most especially, by the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

Each day, till now, they wake up to a very grim reality. They are away from their own homes. They don’t know if they can still return to their homes, to their communities. They are uncertain about what each day will bring.

Will there be another or more eruptions, more violent, as deadly, as destructive like the Taal eruption of 1911 that killed 1,300 people and lasted three days? Or will the next eruption be even as explosive as the 1754 eruption which lasted for seven months, from May to December, and buried four towns in Batangas?

What will happen next? How long this present emergency will last, no one has the precise answer, our dear Señor Santo Niño. Only you know.

We lift our prayers with all those affected by Taal uncertain about their today and tomorrows. Come, Lord, come.

You love us all, the needy in Taal included. Please come, rescue, and protect them from further harm and agony, our dear Señor Santo Niño.

To the affected, what is clear is that today, all around them, is ash and the color of ash. Unlike Ash Wednesday where ash is on their foreheads, these days, ash is all over where they are.

We have ourselves visited provinces affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption decades back. All around, lahar and ash covered houses, other structures, and roads. All around was the color gray, a very grim, real reminder of death --not just physical death but death of dreams and hopes of the affected residents.

We join in their prayers for the sun to shine on them soon, for hope amidst their present despair, for recovery and restoration of lives, communities, of life and faith beyond today’s hopelessness.

Come and hear their prayers and ours for them, our dear Señor Santo Niño.

We also lift prayers for and with those displaced by the earthquakes and typhoons of the past, in Mindanao and elsewhere in our country, Lord.

We remember and lift as well the victims of the Marawi conflict, who until now, have not been attended to by those in government tasked to serve the needy. Lord, please hurry and let your divine justice strike the godless, abusive, and insincere leaders all around us.

Our dear Señor Santo Niño, we lift to you our continuing plea for you to heal our land, to heal our country. Let us walk, united, in your path of truth, justice and love.

There is the whole world as well to pray for, dear Lord. Fires need to be extinguished, trees and forests to be saved, floods and climate to be tamed and wars to end or not allowed to start.

Dear Señor Santo Niño, we do not know what tomorrow will be but you do.

Thank you for being with us today, now, and always.

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