My dear Señor Sto. Niño. These days in January we are again celebrating your feast. How fitting to celebrate your feast in this first month of the year, since as a child, you invite us to grow and mature with you through the year!
You seem to highlight the importance of your 30 years of hidden life here on earth before you embarked on your public life of preaching, performing miracles and ultimately dying on the cross.
We know from our Catechism that this hidden life of yours is seamlessly united to your public life. It is as significant and as redemptive as your public life. You have given the little, ordinary and hidden things in our life their eternal value.
This is because you are God, able to convert your whole life, in spite of its many parts, into one flawless unity. There will always be perfect consistency in your life. There are no disruptions, no fragmentation, since your whole earthly life, while human, was thoroughly divine also.
With your hidden life, you show us the eternal and supernatural potentials the ordinary things you had to grapple with, possess. May we also know how to discern the rich spiritual and supernatural value in our daily work, household chores, social relations, etc.
Teach us to deepen our belief in this continuity between the material and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal, the human and the divine. Teach us the ways and skills to attain that seamless integration of these two dimensions of our life.
May we learn to see you in the little things of the day. May we realize more deeply that our love for you is shown more in our attention and care we give to the little things than in waiting for big, extraordinary events to prove it.
Putting love in the performance of our ordinary daily duties is actually the way you are giving us to love you constantly. May we never forget this truth of faith. We can actually love you always, since with the little ordinary things of our life, you give us all the chances to love you.
You ask us to take care only of the sand and gravel, and you will take care of the finished castle. You only ask us to provide a few loaves and fish, and you will multiply them in abundance.
Here in Cebu, popular piety toward you approaches both deep solemnity and fever pitch as everyone from all walks of life is lavish in showing his faith and love for you. You'd understand if our prayers sometimes break into songs and dances. We can't help it. But we promise not to abuse it.
It's a blessed sight to behold, this devotional tradition of calling you Pit Señor which is our affectionate way of communicating with you. We simply believe you and love you, O Señor Sto. Niño. Thank you for it. It is completely your gift, of your own making, before it is ours.
You've been with us all these years, guiding us and comforting us. Thank you so much. We may have failed you sometimes in our behavior, but somehow, we manage to go back to you. We always ask for your mercy.
See the images we carry on your feast, waving them at you in an electric dance of mysterious communion. See your images we lovingly place in our homes, offices, and even in our jeepneys. We always want to be close to you!
The gospels have no reference of you as a child dressed as king. It's our faith and love for you, developed and tested over the centuries, that lead us to doll you up. You will forgive us for this, right?
On our part, we promise to take good care of you. This actually means that we follow you closely, not only sentimentally nor culturally, but especially morally, vitally. We know our love for you should be translated into deeds, not just sweet words nor nice feelings and desires.
Help us as we try to learn the ways of living in your presence, of loving you by following your will with complete freedom. Help us to understand more practically that our life is supposed not only to be just human, but also supernatural, since it should only be lived with and in you. Amen.
(Fr. Cimagala is the Chaplain of Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)