Do you understand your faith?

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Why do people practice tradition for the sake of showing others about their dedication to sustain it, without fully understanding its essence?

In a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines, Church traditions were preserved by most of the Catholic population of the Filipinos. Also, the future of the Philippine Church is somehow in good hands because of the efforts of the younger generation.

One of the Catholic traditions practiced yearly by Filipinos is the “Simbang Gabi” or the nine-day novena of Masses for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. On the evening of December 15 or dawn of December 16, Churches are filled with parishioners.

Most Filipinos also believe that if they complete the nine days of going to Mass before Christmas, their wishes will be granted. It is also a way of gratitude to Almighty God for giving His son to mankind.

But do Filipinos practice “Simbang Gabi” to anticipate the coming of their redeemer or just for their wishes to be answered?

In his homily on the start of the nine-day novena Mass, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle emphasized the essence of practicing this tradition.

“[I]yon po ang diwa ng Simbang Gabi: pananampalataya. Nananalig tayo at naniniwala na mayroong darating na Jesus, ang Diyos na magliligtas,” Tagle said.
Tagle even hit materialism among Filipinos.

“[S]i Hesus ba ang pinananabikan ng iba? Mukhang hindi naman e. Ang pinananabikan, bonus. ‘Pag may bonus, Pasko, kahit walang Hesus,” Tagle said.

Churchgoers should also be reminded that the tradition of Simbang Gabi symbolizes the nine months of Mary carrying Jesus in her womb. So, it is not just Jesus that should be remembered during this tradition but also Mary.

There is nothing wrong with posting on social media how you completed the Simbang Gabi Masses.

There is nothing wrong with wishing for things once you complete the nine-day novena Masses.

But there is something wrong if you are practicing this tradition without fully understanding the essence of it.

There is something wrong if you post your Simbang Gabi photos on social media if you just wanted to showcase your faith to your friends online.

There is something wrong if you will be hating this tradition when your wish is not granted.
Everyone must remember that God will not give what you do not deserve at a certain moment. Everything happens for a reason and every blessing has a corresponding meaning in life.

Simbang Gabi shows how the Catholic faith in the country is being preserved. It also symbolizes that rich Church tradition among Filipinos.

Aside from giving gifts and spreading goodness during Christmas season, it should not be forgotten that this celebration is a way of giving thanks for all the blessings given to mankind.

Traditions need to be practiced in order to be sustained but they should be practiced properly.

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