I always admire how my fellow Filipinos show their strong belief in Jesus Christ, and the people’s choice in following the church has been written on history…and still making a mark. Not that I don’t believe in Jesus, I guess religion is just so vast for me and I am always curious on how far other people’s beliefs on Higher Beings will get them.
Today, it’s the time of the year for those who vow to serve the Black Nazarene. It’s the feast of Black Nazarene, wherein a sculpture of Jesus carrying a cross will have a parade along the streets and roads of Manila area. I have few memories of the Black Nazarene’s sculpture, and I clearly remember the day when I asked my mama why Jesus is black, she just said “it’s just the wood I guess; but the color doesn’t really matter…it’s the miracles He brings us…” Since I was just a kid then, I am more trained to accept and not questions words like “miracle”, “pray” and “Jesus”. Let me just say it’s that kind of mind-set which makes me respect other person’s religion up to this moment.
With the ongoing grand procession, there are estimated 6 to 11 million advocates, who waited to have a glimpse or at least touch the statue, that survived from a galleon ship from burning, before its arrival in the Philippines from Mexico; thus its color that made it prominent among Catholic believers. It was said and believed, that if a devotees’ towels or handkerchiefs touched the Black Nazarene’s face, their utmost prayer will come true and a miracle shall be delivered. Living in a third world country that have a strong belief in church, most people do anything that will give them hope and have a better life. People push their way through to touch the statue, some faint, sometimes, lost their life in hope for getting a little miracle done. It’s a bitter-sweet taste of reality in the annual procession.
I always look forward to a peaceful and solemn procession of the Black Nazarene. I guess it’s a miracle I would pray to happen. Though no death was reported yet, and I hope that not a single soul will be spared, I learned on the news that there were people left their trash on the road like, plastic bottles, plastic food containers and worst, people peed everywhere making the streets of Manila a junkyard and a huge toilet bowl! I also hope people will learn to follow the organizers of the parade; this is better than showing angst in television if what they want and expect to be did not happen. Isn’t better to leave with hopes in each hearts without much mess in the area? Instead of yelling anger, isn’t this the time people should give love and for once, follow something without feeling really bad?
I don’t often go to church now than what I used to when I was younger. At my age right now, I am still reprimanded every time my lola or grandma learns that I don’t go to church. I just listen to them when they say that not serving the church will make me more “devilish”, “blessings will not be given to me” and worst, that my “soul will burn in hell”. I can only suspect that these are common believes if one is a close Catholic devotee. I just give them my respect. No arguments. Just pure acceptance and forgiveness. Questions are something I need, to fully understand one’s love for religion, not to question their religion. I know that’ the only way to live peacefully: understanding and respect. I hope that people would get to ask themselves, “other than prayers, what have done so far?” and with right understanding in ones religion, great miracles do happens.
Let the celebration bring peace, love and make every one be safe. Prayers and hard work goes hand in hand to achieve the miracle all was hoping to achieve, as every day of the year unfolds. With that, every believers proves that they are worth every path Jesus took while carrying the cross, and let Him admire all Filipino devotees from above.