Faith and belief

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


IT HAS been a week since reports that the Sto. Nino icon found by three children in a secluded area in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City “talked” spread like wildfire.

Yet, despite the finding that the children may have lied and even if the Catholic Church discouraged people from immediately believing the claim, believers still flock to the place to pay tribute to the image of the Holy Child.

I am a Catholic but I sometimes question the faith of other people. Why would they believe in “miracles” without verifying first the veracity of the claim? Only the church can declare an event a miracle after a long and thorough process of documentation and investigation.

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Anyway, belief and faith are subjective. They are in the person.

Belief is the product of the mind. Faith is the product of the spirit. The mind interferes in the process of faith more than it contributes to it.

Faith is what happens when our beliefs run aground. Since faith is conceptual until it is put into play, it is best achieved through commitment. To commit to faith is not the same as committing to a set of beliefs.

For me, the Roman Catholic Church is liberal and gives its flock much leeway. Other religions impose sanctions on their members if they fail to attend the mass and pay their tithe.

Admittedly, I seldom attend mass but I go to church often to pray alone. I want a solemn environment so I can focus.

While facing the altar and the religious images inside the church, I submit myself to the Lord, ask for forgiveness of my sins and pray that He will give me good health and protect me and the members of my family.

I think those are the basic things you ask from the Lord when you pray. Aw, puwede pud usahay mosingit ta nga padag-on ta og lotto. Basin paminawon diay ta.

One of the reasons why I seldom attend masses is I don't want to hear the homily of the officiating priest, who sometimes inject politics into the homily.

Second, I don't want to commit sin inside the church by watching beautiful ladies there. Inay nga mag-ampo ta, makasala na man hinuon ta labi pa kun makakita tag sexy ug mamords sulod sa simbahan. Mosuliraw gud usahay ning atong mga mata.

I visit the Camelites and Redemptorist churches where there are human-size religious icons. God does not distinguish where you pray as long as you believe in Him. Matthew 18:20: “…for where two or three are gathered in my name, them I am among them.”

And in 2 Chronicles 7:14; “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins.” For me, I am willing to face my creator anytime.

Back to that Sto. Niño image in Mactan. I would suggest that the church hierarchy take possession of it. I want church officials to place the image in a more decent place, like inside the church.

I have not gone to Mactan but I was told that the image was placed in a makeshift chapel in an area that is occupied by squatters.

We will not criticize people who believe that what happened was a miracle because we respect their faith. But we will accommodate them in a better place so they can continue praying.

I suggest that the image be put at the Mactan church or at the Birhen sa Regla church in the city proper or at the Sto. Niño Pilgrims Center so devotees and the curious can line up there. And to avoid the perception that it is cashing in on the image, the church should discourage the giving of donations.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2014.

Opinion

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