Sunday, January 17, 2016

Celebrating the Feast of Sto. Niño 2016

On this day we celebrate the feast of the Child Jesus all over the Philippines. It has been part of our culture and tradition that we venerate on the holy image since it was brought over by Spaniards in our country. Since then, Filipinos would embrace Christianity and become our way of life.

The feast of Santo Niño is one of the most celebrated event in the Philippines and millions of devotees all over the archipelago would join activities in honor of Him. From the oldest city of Cebu and the busy streets of Manila, the festivity is alive; it is vibrant, colorful and full of energy.

Today I was able to witness how we celebrate this famous religious event. Thousands of people participated on the parade as they march to the beat of the drums. The long procession was full of energy as they carry the holy image while waving it on the air. Some holy images are uniquely dressed to portray different occupations like policeman, nurse, doctor and others. This concept has been a tradition among the faithful who believes that it will bring blessings to them and guide their living.

The feast of Santo Niño de Tondo 2013 was memorable to me as I personally experienced a crowd of devotees as they celebrate the mass and have their holy image blessed with a holy water. I made a sacrifice of falling in line to reach the top of the church in Tondo, Manila where the holy image of Santo Niño is placed. To touch the holy image and say a prayer is  a symbol of faith and devotion -- faith that is unique among us and would forever be observed with our grateful heart. 

The Holy Child Jesus in his image we call as Santo Niño reminds us of innocence and vigor. When we were young, we have full of wonders and we have  genuine happiness; we are robust and truly present. We don't mind about negativity and we feel that we are being guided. Just like Santo Niño, it reflects the child within us. Our humility, graciousness and innocence leads us to live a positive life despite the struggles and challenges we are going through.

It is with our faith that we learn to be strong and keep on moving forward. The strong Divine force -- our God is there to watch over and guide us. When we are fearful, we turn to become fearless. When we are weak, we develop strength; and when we are about to quit, we suddenly hold on and keep the faith. 

© 2016 Del Cusay

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nazareno 2016: Celebrating The Feast of The Black Nazarene

The feast of the Black Nazarene, or in Filipino called "Pista ng Poong Nazareno," has been a significant religious event in the Philippines. It is more than a culture, but a symbol of courage and faith in God Almighty. Through the years and for several centuries, Filipino devotees venerated and showed piety through the holy image of the Black Nazarene at the Quiapo Church in Manila.

It was 3 years back when I first celebrated the grand feast of the Black Nazarene. It was a solemn event near the church where devotees flocked to celebrate the mass and have their religious items blessed with holy water. Although the weather is quite rainy, people still consider it a blessing. I have even experienced showering in the drizzle and don't mind getting wet. It is a sacrifice and a show of perseverance despite a little obstacle.

As I remember Nazareno 2013, the crowd around Quiapo church is more peaceful and orderly than the "traslacion" or the transfer of the image from its original place in Luneta (now Rizal Park) going to its current home in Quiapo church. During the traslacion, millions of devotees brave the massive crowd along the streets where the procession passes. Others would have the endurance and courage to hold the piece of long rope attached to the image, which they believe brings miracles to their lives. Some would have their hankies wiped over the image, believing it can bring healing power.

Numerous stories have already been shared by devotees who could testify to the miraculous power of the divine image of the Black Nazarene. Even famous Filipino celebrities would also share the blessings they received from their devotion. However, the event is for everyone regardless of societal status; rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old could show their faith and devotion.

On this day, the 9th of January 2016, I again experienced the religiosity of the Filipino devotees to the Black Nazarene. The vicinity of the Quiapo church is crowded with the faithful who celebrated the mass and novena. For about 2 hours, I didn't mind standing as I heard the holy sacrament while praying for my personal intentions. Individuals and families are praying together. Some parents would even bring their little child despite the crowd. While some people who are physically sick would endure as an act of sacrifice for their intentions.

Those who did not go to the traslacion or procession have just visited Quiapo church to celebrate the mass. A crowd of volunteers and devotees go barefoot, which symbolizes humility. They have been serving the Black Nazarene for several years to show their faith and more profound personal devotion.

I am not an active devotee of the Black Nazarene, but I believe that God hears our prayers and intentions if we come with all our hearts and humility. I am one with millions who experienced Divine blessings and interventions. It is truly a spiritual journey; along the way are hardships and struggles that are fulfilling in the end.

The feast of the Black Nazarene is not about religiosity. It is also a test of faith as we endure and sacrifice in this event. When we are weak and giving up, God is there to save us and make us strong and complete. Moreover, it would take courage and humility to be with the massive gathering of the faithful to give thanks, ask forgiveness, and pray for personal intentions. It is a spiritual journey not just today but a lifetime and eternal life.

 © 2016 Del Cusay

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year 2016: A New Beginning

What an incredible year 2015. This might be the most straightforward statement of what I've been through for the previous year. There were ups and downs, but still able to conquer challenges and reach another milestone in life. 2015 brought me to another chapter of extraordinary living where I stretched myself beyond my limits.

It was a fascinating journey when I've been to places where my thoughts brought me. It was indeed a law of attraction that works whenever I need it. Years ago, when I started to believe that we become what we think, I learned to practice and incorporate it regularly to achieve whatever goals I desire. 

If I have done it before, I could attract things that will work for me. This year I have accomplished several goals while others are in the process and turning them into a reality. Life has never become as magical as it may seem, but with creativity and passion, there has been an unimaginable turning point. 

Some tough decisions would have changed circumstances, yet it was something fulfilling. For a long time in service, now is the time for a new adventure with awesome people full of energy and confidence in reaching a certain level of success. 

The previous chapter has always been challenging, hence full of challenges that made me a better person. I've been polished like a gem -- a precious one that illuminates and sparkles. It is a product of enlightenment to a certain level and my deepest gratitude to the master of life that I once knew. 

Everything learned will always be carried over to the next chapter, and then it goes on. Everything has significance and will be of merit when done with honor and dignity. Being grateful for past success will help create more abundance and blessings, which is what I know for sure. 

However, it's only sometimes about the peak of happiness and success. There may have been untoward circumstances beyond our control, and that teaches us a lesson to be resilient and move forward. Life may throw a hard rock, but it can become a polished and refined stone after that, depending on how we deal with things and accept the challenges. 

It's genuinely fantastic to face obstacles toward success. It takes passion, courage, and desire to make it. Along the way are rough roads and intersections that will eventually lead in the right direction. It may seem like a very challenging year take, but with perseverance, I surpass the trials that will launch a newer, more extraordinary version. 

© 2015 Del Cusay