NEW YORK City, Jan. 17, 2016–Despite the kingly robes that usually adorn the iconic Santo Niño, the nakedness and poverty of the Child Jesus prove that humility and simplicity are the trademarks of majesty, a ranking Vatican official reminds the devotees of the Holy Child around the globe.
In a Mass he celebrated in Washington D.C., Archbishop Bernardito Auza, told devotees from the Czech Republic, Argentina, Costa Rica, Belize, and Haiti that the Child Jesus is humility personified.
“We are here to praise (Jesus) for having made himself so accessible to us by becoming a child: born naked, so that we would know to divest ourselves of what is not essential; born poor, so that we would consider him as our only treasure; born weak, so that we would never be afraid of him; born simple, so that we would stop being complicated; born persecuted, so that we would accept every difficulty in life; born like us, so that we would never be ashamed of ourselves; born in this world, with the mission to bring us back to the house of the Father,” he said.
Antidote to pride
The Filipino prelate who sits as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, also said Jesus’ birth in a manger is God’s way of humbling himself in order to save mankind.
“For love, the Eternal God humbled himself by becoming a child. St. Irenaeus said, ‘on account of His great love, He became what we are, that He might make us what He is.’ Jesus made Himself humble to make us great,” he said in his homily at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception last Jan. 10.
The prelate said Christ’s humility is the antidote to one’s pride.
“If we are proud, we easily forget God; we think we obtain everything solely through our efforts; we hardly repent for the wrong we do; we see only the faults of others and not our own; we are quick to judge and slow to forgive,” he said.
While the Bible stipulated that God wants the faithful to be childlike, Auza clarified that “the Lord doesn’t want us to remain a child forever.”
“He wants us to mature physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He likes us to grow in virtues. Yet, in all these, the Lord wishes us to remain childlike, humble in spite of success, simple in the midst of abundance, trustful even in sorrows and loses,” Auza pointed out.
The prelate also stressed out man’s need to be as confiding and trusting as children.
“Our Lord wants to be confiding and trustful in him. So, in spite of our weaknesses, failings and shortcomings of every kind, with total trust and confidence we turn to the Santo Niño to ask him to shine his light on the dark spots in our lives, to enlighten us in our doubts and perplexities, to strengthen us in times of illnesses and temptations, to accompany us in hours of loneliness and sorrows,” he added.
Aside from the Philippines’ Santo Niño de Cebu, there are also similar religious icons of the Holy Child Jesus in Prague, in Spain, and in Belgium. (Kris Bayos / CBCP News)