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Phenomenal Black Nazarene devotion.

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Why does the feast of the Black Nazarene continue to attract millions of devotees every year?

Most devotees I talked to claimed they have a "panata" (vow) to join the procession annually. To break the vow is believed to bring misfortune or miss God's blessings for the votaries and their families.

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Others believe that by touching the highly revered image or a part of it, devotees are either blessed, obtain healing, or desperate prayers answered. Numerous testimonies of miracles have been reported. Those who cannot touch the image of the SeAaAaAeA~or Nazareno throw towelletes those manning the ambas wiped to the image, then thrown back.

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This practice is called pahawak (touching or wiping of the statues or the garments of the Black Nazarene or just even the rope). The practice is similar to the woman in the gospel who was sick with hemorrhage.

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The woman believed that if she could only touch Jesus' helm of His garment, she would be healed; true enough, her faith healed her.

Another reason for the strong appeal of the feast stems from the Filipinos' special devotion to the suffering Christ.

The devotees, who come mostly from the masses and the poor, identify their sufferings with the pathetic-looking Christ struggling to carry His heavy cross, thus experience hope and inspiration.

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Gap between piety & conduct. The phenomenal devotion to the Black Nazarene shows a faith that makes them cling to the Church even if they are lukewarm and lacking in knowledge of Christ's teachings.

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What bears examining, however, is that such pious acts should have a deeper internal effect on daily life, meaning, they should be translated in the devotees' deeds and moral conduct.

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Concretely, if afterwards devotees go home and continue to be unkind, harsh, and unforgiving or are engaged in corrupt practices and vices, their pious acts are defective, inconsistent, and plainly ritualistic.

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The Vatican II teaching in the chapter "The Church Today" states: "Nor...are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone...

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"This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age."

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The lighter side. There's an official working in a lucrative government agency whose virtue is definitely not honesty.

The official said kneeling before the Black Nazarene: "Lord, I thank you for all the many blessings you've showered on me.

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"I've just closed a multi-million peso deal. I've acquired a second house in Tagaytay and two Mercedes Benz. (Obviously all ill-gotten). Lord, you've lavished me with so many blessings."

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The Black Nazarene carrying the cross, suddenly looked down and spoke: "Yes, you ought to give thanks." Startled, the official blurted out: "Lord, what do you mean?"

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The Lord replied, "Give thanks because I'm holding this cross. Otherwise, I would have slapped you long ago!"

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Note: It would greatly help if the Lord would detach his hands occasionally and, in wrath slap corrupt officials and stiff-necked wrondoers like he did to the "thieves" at the temple in Jerusalem.

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St. Jude. Got a serious problem with money, studies, sickness, or family relationship?

Today join our novena to St. Jude, Saint of the Impossible, at the Divine Word Shrine, Christ the King Seminary , on E. Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City, after the 6 p.m. mass.

A healing prayer and anointing of the sick will follow.

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Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jan 10, 2018
Words:580
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