Growing up as a non-Catholic I looked at Catholic devotions as idolatry. I never imagined that I would one day come to understand and appreciate what Catholic Devotions truly are.
Now, I look at it as an expression of deep faith because it is NEVER really about the image, contrary to what I was taught growing up, but what the image represents, and the power that emanates from the true source which is Jesus. Just like the lady suffering from 12 yrs of hemorrhage in Matthew 9:20-22 who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, it was not the touching of the garment which healed her, but Jesus specifically told her that it was HER FAITH which healed her. And that faith was MANIFESTED through the touching of the garment ?
I have been privileged to actually experience the miraculous image of the Our Lady of Penafrancia from Naga in Bicol up close and personal without having to go all the way to Bicol. There are so many accounts of miracles from devotees and non – devotees which continue to visit the image in Bicol for intercession and thanksgiving and I look forward to experiencing my miracle and also visit Our Lady of Penafrancia in Bicol for my thanksgiving pilgrimage ???
After a careful study of the Catholic Theology on saints, the different Catholic devotions and the beautiful works of art found in Catholic Churches, I came to realize that this may also be a way of measuring ones faith. Like the bleeding woman in the bible, is my faith strong enough that even if I am not holding Jesus himself, but just his hem, or a hem of an image of His Mother or just an image of one of his faithful saints, that small action will manifest the faith in my heart and in my spirit and receive an answered prayer? Let us pray that our faith will continue to grow and be manifested even in the smallest actions and let us trust that God knows what is best for His beloved children specifically because He first loved us ?
We may have different interpretations and expressions of faith but what is important is that we can agree that faith in what is true, good and genuinely beautiful can make a whole lot of difference in the way we live and how we look at life ???