THE PASSERBY | Let’s play with the Sto. Niňo

THAT’S right! Let’s play with the Child Jesus. In fact, we can dance with and for him, just like what we do when we are with a little child. We can make faces and do many other cutesy things so that he and us will smile and have a good time. This usually just comes out naturally and spontaneously.

This is important because, like in any relation we have with a child, we seal a very basic attachment to Christ who is our redeemer, the re-maker of our damaged humanity. A natural bonding, complete with its emotional and sentimental aspects, is established.

In that way too, as the child grows we can continue to be with him at all times, both good and bad. If we have this strong bonding with Christ, we would be more ready to accept the more demanding aspects of Christian life. We cannot leave him just because of the sacrifices that will be involved. And sacrifices there will always be!

We have to remember that Christian life, which is eminently spiritual and supernatural, does not suppress the natural and human level of our life. Not only that. Christian life cannot prosper, it cannot go far, when the natural and human level of our life is denied or is not respected.

In fact, Christian life needs a healthy natural and human level of our life, even as it enriches that level. The natural and the human serve as the foundation of the spiritual and the supernatural in our life.

And so we are quite lucky in our country, because our piety in general usually starts with this natural and human level. It is not purely intellectual and spiritual, unsupported by a natural and human foundation. If the natural and human foundation is weak, we cannot go far, especially when we get to grapple with the mysterious aspects of
Christian life that are marked by suffering and sacrifices.

Our brand of popular piety is something that we can show and teach the whole world. At the moment, we can observe something like a spiritual drought in many parts of the world, especially the so-called developed
countries where churches are empty if not closed down, and hardly any expression of popular piety can be observed. We cannot deny that there is a serious problem of secularization around the world, where God is
systematically ignored, if not opposed.

We can do something about this worldwide predicament. We, Filipinos, can show the way of how to ‘jump-start,’ so to speak, the Christian life in the other parts of the world. The Popes have been talking and pushing what is called the New Evangelization. This aspect of the Christian evangelization, via our popular piety, can be our
distinctive contribution.

Since there are already a good number of Filipinos working abroad, let’s encourage them to enliven even more their expressions of popular piety, so they can attract or invite the others in their localities to join them.

We, Filipinos, can show the whole world how we love the Child Jesus not only in the intellectual and spiritual way, but also in a natural and human way. Let us show them how important it is that we develop a natural and human affection so that our spiritual and supernatural life can rest on a basic and realistic foundation, given our human

This has to be expressed in many ways. Aside from the devotion to the Child Jesus, we can promote the practices of novenas, pilgrimages, family rosary, putting some religious symbols at homes and even in
public places.

Let us involve them in church or parochial activities and concerns. More importantly, let us show them how they can consistently live their Christian life in their family, in their professional work and in the fields of business, politics, sports and entertainment, etc.


Fr. Cimagala is the chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City. E-mail him at roycimagala@gmail. com.