Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nazareno 2016: Celebrating The Feast of The Black Nazarene

The Minor Basilica 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 to God Almighty. Through the years and for several centuries, Filipino devotees venerate and show 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 in the vicinity of the church where devotees flock to celebrate the mass and have their religious items blessed with holy water. Although the weather is quite rainy, still people consider it as a blessing. I have even experienced to shower in the drizzle and doesn't mind to get wet. It is a sacrifice and a show of perseverance despite of a little obstacle.

As I remember Nazareno 2013, the crowd around Quiapo church is more peaceful and orderly as compared to 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 the streets where the procession passes by. Others would have the endurance and courage to hold the piece of long rope attached to the image which they believe brings miracle to their lives. Some would have their hankies wiped over the image and believe that it can bring healing power.

Numerous stories have been shared already by devotees who could testify with the miraculous power of the holy 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, 9th of January 2016, I've experienced once again 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 bout 2 hours, I didn't mind to stand as I hear the holy sacrament and at the same time praying for my personal intentions. There are individuals and families praying together. Some parents would even bring their little child despite of 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 traslacion or procession have just visited Quiapo church to celebrate the mass. There are a crowd of volunteers and devotees who go barefoot which symbolizes humility. For several years they have been serving the Black Nazarene to show their faith and deeper sense of 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 with humility. I am one with the millions of people who experienced the Divine blessings and interventions. It is truly a spiritual journey and 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 on 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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year 2016: A New Beginning

What a wonderful year 2015. This might be the simplest 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. The year 2015 brought me to another chapter of extraordinary living where I stretch myself beyond the limits.

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

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

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

The previous chapter has never been easy, hence full of challenges that made me a better person. I've been polished like a gem -- a precious one that illuminates and sparkle. It is a product of enlightenment to a certain level and my deepest gratitude to the master of life that once I've known. 

Everything that was learned will always be carried over to the next chapter and then it goes on. Everything has its own significance and it will be a merit when it's done with honor and dignity. Being grateful to past success will help create more abundance and blessings and this is what I know for sure. 

However, it's not always about the peak of happiness and success. There may have been untoward circumstances that are beyond our control and that teaches us a lesson to be resilient and by learning to move forward. Life may throw a hard rock but it can become a polished and more refined stone thereafter depending on how we deal with things and accepting the challenges. 

It's truly wonderful to face obstacles towards success. It takes passion, courage and desire to be able to make it. Along the way are rough roads and intersections that will eventually lead to the right direction. It may seem a very challenging year take, but with perseverance I surpass the trials that will launch a newer version; a better and extraordinary one. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas in Our Hearts 2015: A Blissful Journey

Christmas is the most awaited season and it is truly the most wonderful time of the year. This is a good time to spend joyful memories with our friends and love ones; to share smiles and laughter to others or perhaps grief and sorrow to some.

The past Christmas celebrations were joyous and unforgettable. I may have missed Christmas in my home country, yet I always felt connected and being loved. Nothing beats the celebration like the way we Filipinos do. It may be a simple celebration, but the spirit of Christmas is truly felt and remains in our hearts forever.

It was exactly four years ago when I've shared thoughts about the holiday season. I have witnessed a different culture and how they celebrate Christmas is wonderful. Christmas in Our Hearts 2011 brought good memories with those people I've been with. It was like having fun in a wonderland and feels like there's no tomorrow.

Christmas 2012 was meaningful since I celebrated it with my family. Since I missed the 2011 celebration, I cherished the moment that we're together. I may not be home for Christmas for 2013, so this is something  worth reminiscing. Christmas in Our Hearts 2012 was full of fun and excitement. Spending time together with my family is a bliss.

Christmas celebration in Tagaytay City

Christmas 2013 was a simple celebration and again I was away from home. It doesn't matter how far is the distance, as long as I never felt alone and I still carry the smile and happiness it brings. It was a nice feeling to have shared Christmas traditions and stories and it will be cherished.

Christmas 2014 was celebrated in my hometown together with my family. It was one of the happiest moments since we don't get the chance to celebrate together every year. It was not as extravagant as compared to previous years' celebration, but the simplicity and essence of Christmas is remarkable.

On this year 2015, I am with my family for Christmas. There's nothing much excitement like the past years' celebration, yet it is wonderful. What matters is the presence of love ones and to share moments with them.

I hope that before the year ends, we'll all be healed from old wounds and unpleasant memories. We hope to deserve the good things in life and we'll work together towards a common goal; to achieve success, fulfillment and experience everlasting bliss.