What the Sto. Niño tells us
The image of Sto. Niño during the Traslacion from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu to the National Shrine of St. Joseph – Mandaue on Jan. 13, 2023. PHOTO BY SAMMY NAVAJA
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
January 13, 2023
On this Feast of the Sto. Niño, we are reminded that irrespective of whatever status we have in this life, it is always necessary that we be like children. Why?
Christ told his disciples clearly: “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” (Mt 18,3-5)
Christ reiterated this necessity of being childlike a number of times during his preaching. “Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mk 10,15) St. James, in his letter, made the same affirmation. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (4,6)
We can ask what it is in children that Christ would want us to be like them? I suppose what can come to mind are the qualities of simplicity, transparency, complete trust to elders, etc.
It’s quite clear that we all need to be childlike even as we grow in age and stature, and even as we accumulate already quite a significant amount of knowledge with our exposure to the world and to life in general.
Yes, children and heaven are almost synonymous to each other. No wonder we feel like we are in heaven every time we see children around. Every time a baby is born, we are very happy because we somehow know that he just did not come out of his mother’s womb, but rather from the very hands of God who created him before the parents procreated him.
In spite of the many limitations of children, what makes them always desirable is their pure, innocent heart, incapable of malice, ambition, pride and haughtiness. They are a source of many other good things.
Their heart is always trusting in the Lord, just like a little kid is always confident with his father. Faith and hope easily grow and acquire strength when nurtured in a child’s heart. It’s this attitude that leads them to go on and move on no matter what, for life to them could only be an adventure of discoveries.
This feast of the Sto. Niño also reminds us that we really need to take care of the children, teaching them the basic virtues that hopefully will branch out to more virtues until they can have a strong sense of religion. Let’s remember that as a poet once said, the child is the father of the man. How the child is trained and raised will determine how he will be when he grows up.
How important it is therefore to teach the children the basic virtues and values. The teaching has to be done patiently and in a most gradual but persistent way. For this purpose, parents may have to undertake some study to know how to go about this most delicate duty. But, for sure, all that effort and sacrifice involved would be all worth it.
Children definitely need to be constantly accompanied. Especially these days when the environment can be very confusing, it’s important that children are closely supervised so that their inherent innocence can be kept even as they get to know more and more things.
Let’s hope that we manage to train children to be always God-fearing and loving of everyone even as they unavoidably face all kinds of trials and challenges as they go along in life.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the chaplain at the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE) in Talamban, Cebu City.
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