Sto. Niño Devotion

By: Cleb B. Calimutan

Devotion being popular simply means affection, love, inclination to God or a very strong feeling towards God or of anything that is of God.  For the ascetics it ascertain the ardour of affection in the things of God, and more over it brings delight and comfort to the soul. The long journey of the Magi’s implies the innermost desire of their hearts to see and express their love to the holy child:

“And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

The reason of the progressive popularity of the child Jesus devotion started from the deep mystical experience of the Saints who many times had seen Jesus is a baby, namely,  

St. Christopher, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima, St. Thérèse of Lisieux (whose religious name is “St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face”), St. Francis of Assisi with his crèche. For it is said that Jesus appeared to them many times as a young boy.

                    The earliest statute of the SantoNinodeCebu.jpg was, “a small 19 inch high statuette of the Baby Boy Jesus and you can see a bird in his right hand and presently can be  found at Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria de la Valbonna in Asturias, Spain, which was approximately originated in year 1340. May Statues of the Sto. Niño in Europe could have the same depiction with that bird which often times associated with the Holy Spirit.

            Another very popular Statue of Sto. Niño was of Prague was in a form of a wax-coated and made of wood statue of the Baby Boy  Jesus holding a globus cruciger, and is now in Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic. Some devotees  claimed that the statue was owned by  Saint Teresa of Avila and holds miraculous powers, especially to pregnant mothers.

            On 13th Century prior to the arrival of Magellan in the Philippines the devotion to Sto. Niño was already growing in Spain and Latin America known as the  Santo Nino de Atocha  and with the arrival of Santo Nino de Cebu in the Philippines in 1521, it seems that devotion is embarked among the hearts of the Filipinos, that such devotion was more advanced than the devotion of Mexico (Philippines belonged to the diocese of Mexico before) with their most known  a Holy Infant of Good Health(from Mexico, 1939), and followed by the Divino Niño 1940’s.

            Sinulog is a Cebuano term Sinaulog a celebration, festival or a commemoration; it is also a dance ritual now honored to Sto. Niño with two steps forward and one step backward. In the Bible David used to dance with the Ark of the Covenant to honor the Lord with joyfulness the term used in Hebrew is mekarker which means a dance which then had become a ritual for religiousity. (2Sam.6:1-16 )