Breaking free the chain of a doubtful heart: A Sto. Niño experience

If you happened to be in the Basilica del Sto. Niño de Cebu this past week, you'll be amazed at how overcrowded with people the place has become. A lot more would be expected to swarm the Philippines' oldest church today until the 15th which is the third Sunday of January, the feast day of the Holy Child Jesus. Roads have been closed for vehicles and served as the church's extension where people from all walks of life patiently waited in standing position to hear mass rain or shine.

I happened to be in the area yesterday at dusk and the pouring down of heavy rain cannot even convince me a bit to not go there. I had an umbrella with me as most of the people attending the mass also have. Yet,  my shoes got soaked in water and it has to be dried (which I did anyway) thanks for the beautiful weather this morning the shoes dried real quick under the scorching fury of the sun.

But what's really in there that people have to keep coming fanatically? Yes, it is a place of worship we might say  but should we have to be dealing it with great interest and of this magnitude? Should we have to make it this grand and lavish? What's in Sto. Niño, by the way?

I have never seen a people so much devoted and so very deep in their faith as the Filipinos. I have been a devout catholic myself but there was a time in my life when I chose to become a "non-practicing" one. It's only been three years of my stay here in Cebu and Sto. Niño has touched and slowly broke the chain of my doubtful heart completely. For me, Sto. Niño is the tangible metaphor of a Supreme Being worthy of all our praise and worship.

It's been 490 years ago when Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who served for the king of Spain, has first landed on this island and spread Christianity. The original image of Sto. Niño he has brought with him from Spain would also be almost 500 years old now. It's God's will, no doubt. Viva Señor Sto. Niño!


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