Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Black Nazarene 1

Dear Mouse,

Mark has a new site entitled Kristong Itim that reminded me of the Black Nazerene of Quiapo.

My father was as they say "pinaglihi" sa Black Nazarene. He was dark with soulful eyes, high-bridged nose and tall for a Filipino male.

He was a devotee of the Mother of Perpertual Help.

My mom was a devotee of the Black Nazarene.

Like Noli de Castro, she did not miss the annual procession when she was still in the Philippines.

Oww, before you even think that our family was very religious to the point of being fanatic, please don't.

I would like to believe that the reason for such devotions were the extrarodinary events that they experienced in their lives to which they be attributed to these places of worship. Not that they were luckier to have received divine interventions more than any ordinary praying people but may be because their eyes and hearts were open to see the little miracles they had asked for.

My mom's first miracle was when I was still young. Fresh-off-boat from the probins and trying to build a new life in the city, our family suffered a setback on that month of December when my father got laid off from his job. With a resolve not to ask any help from relatives, my parents tried to make ends meet as to how, I did not know. Kids are really blessed to be innocent of the harsh realities of life.

Before my mom succumbed to cancer, a few years back, we spent hours of talking over the phone; talking almost anything so she can forget her pain.

It was in this moment when she intimated to me that at that point of our life, she nearly lost her faith to God.

On that Christmas eve, all she had was enough to buy pan de sal for our noche buena.

For a woman who was spoiled by the family, she said that she thought life was mean and God did not exist.

But then she was sorry to have entertained such thoughts. As a penance, she promised to walk from our place in Paco to Quaipo to attend the midnight mass.

Us kids welcomed the great idea. We could see the Christmas displays and beautiful lights along the way.

My elder brother went to Paco Church . I did not know where my father was. I was more concerned of wearing an old dress on a Christmas. My first time.

After the mass, the walk back home seemed longer. We felt tired and could hardly lift our feet to but the thought of media noche enlivened our spirit. As kids, we did not know that the family cannot afford to have the usual media noche that we enjoyed every Christmas.

For my mom, 10 pieces of pan de sal would be a rare treat for a cash-strapped household as ours.

There was no one in the living room but the food aroma from the kitchen gave my mom a surprised look.

She wondered who did the cooking and where did the food come from.

She must be thinking that a team of Sta. Claus' elves worked while we were away for two full hours to come up with sumptuous meal for a whole family.

I did not care where they came from.

All I knew was I had a beautiful dress for the New Year.

My mom told me that a miracle happened on that Christmas day.

My brother who went to Paco found an envelop under a car that just left and speeded away. He thought of running after the car to give back the envelop but it was gone. He looked for a name and address but all he found was a Christmas card addressed to a man whose name was similar to his and the giver of the card was a lady whose name was similar to my sister. No other information. Ow and crispy peso bills. Our neighbors came too and brought some goodies.

And my father found a job.

Next more of the Black Nazerene...

The Ca t



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