Why Not Simplify the Belief?
By Apolinario Villalobos
(Caution: read this with an open mind.)
A basic knowledge about God is that He has no image, no face and all-knowing. The Islamic faith ardently maintains this which firmly supports its monotheistic belief. Other religions have so many gods, in contrast to Christianity that also maintains this fealty. The only problem with Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic Church is the many “titles” or names of the venerated Mother and Jesus. There is no problem with God, because what are attributed to Him are one word definitions such as Benevolent, Omnipotent, Merciful, etc.
With Jesus, even his misrepresented image as a child is venerated – the Sto. Niῆo. This prompted my niece one time to ask me if Jesus has not grown old. What will I answer to that?
As a grown- up, Jesus is also tagged with so many aliases or a.k.a’s…Black Nazarene, Holy Face, etc. The same is true with the Virgin Mother who is also tagged with so many titles…Our Lady of Guadalupe, Immaculate Conception, etc…with each title assuming a different image. When I asked a friend about this, he told me that the title depends on where the Mother manifested herself. I asked him what title will the church give the Mother if she appeared on the door of a toilet. I asked this, because people claim appearances on leaves, walls, tree trunks, etc. I was honest in my question. There is the Our Lady of Guadalupe because she appeared in that place, somewhere in Mexico, there is the Our Lady of Lourdes because, she appeared in a cave somewhere in France. I was just honestly curious. He just ignored my question and left me…he never talked to me afterwards. I lost a friend because of one question.
For the prayers, there is a long prayer for the dead which even mentions a “tower”. The Holy Rosary is alright, because it is supposed to be a sacrificial prayer. The Mass is most appropriate because it is supposed to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus, His last act of salvation for mankind. What is wrong is its commercialization and use as a venue for political utterings of some revolutionary priests. Why can’t the holy ritual be confined to its real purpose, and for the revolutionary priests to go out of the church after the Mass, so that they can shout out to their hearts’ content, their political slogans and slurs against the government?
The laymen are confused as to the real mission of the Christian Church. While there are people around who are waiting for their share of spiritual grace, those with responsibilities are out in the streets joining hands with rallyists shouting invectives against the government. Some Christian groups condoned by the Catholic church, preach about blessings that will rain on the faithful so they must invert their open umbrellas, the better way to catch them….that when they get home, they should open wide their windows and doors to welcome hordes of blessings!
Why not just simplify the faith, the belief, and the way it is taught?…that there is an All-Knowing, Merciful, Benevolent God…period! Since the good acts of Jesus can enhance the evangelism, He should be included in the effort, and the faithful should be reminded that it is best to emulate Him. The simple choice, then, would just be between the good and the bad.
As for the shrines, those who raise funds for them, love to build most of these structures on top of a hill or a mountain. In the Bible, these are called “high places” where pagan rituals are held. They say that the taking of the hundreds of steps to reach them is a good “sacrifice”. People today have more than enough sacrifice, what with the soaring prices of prime commodities, deaf government leaders, and natural calamities. Why spend money for fares in going to shrines when such financial commodity is scarce nowadays? Living on a day to day basis is a sacrifice that can be offered to the Lord. In promoting shrines, the people behind them should be honest enough to admit that they are actually “religious tourism”, an endeavor that actually promotes the town or province where they are built, an industry…and, with that, no more questions will be asked. Why not trek to the nearest Church during worship days, if one would really want to sacrifice?
Anything concentrated is better in texture, stronger. If the faith can have this characteristics, it can withstand the onslaught of distraction…and that is what God wants to happen – undiluted Faith in Him, nothing else!