(Yen Ocampo)

MANILA, January 10, 2015–Celebrating the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Friday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the Catholic faithful to live by the virtue of humility by bowing down before the Lord and regarding Him as the source of all their blessings.

“Look up to the Lord, look back, and bow down to Him. Let us make this as the pattern of a life of spirituality,” Tagle said in his homily, addressing the devotees who flocked the Quirino Grandstand for the annual procession of the Black Nazarene, also known as the Traslacion, held every January 9.

“We look back to the Him who is the source of all our blessings. That is the reason why many devotees are here every year—regardless if it rains or shines, barefoot, some are even in wheelchairs. They never forget to look back to God who gave them blessings and great experiences,” he added.

The Traslacion marks the annual tradition of parading the ebony-hued life-sized statue of Jesus Christ from Quirino Grandstand in Luneta back to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

Millions of people who join the procession strive to make their way through the crowd just to be able to climb the carriage and touch the image of the Black Nazarene believed to be miraculous by its devotees.

Shunning selfishness, pride

Tagle warned the faithful of falling into selfishness and pride, noting that those who place themselves highly will never be able to bow their heads down before the Lord.

“A person cannot be caring and loving to his neighbors if he regards himself highly. A person cannot be merciful and compassionate if he could not lower himself in humility,” he said.

The cardinal said that a true follower of Christ is someone who recognizes his own weaknesses and frailties, and depends on the Lord for everything.

“A true devotee is someone who looks up to God, looks back, and bows down before Him, knowing and understanding that he is nothing without Him,” Tagle said.

“That is the promise of the Gospel—that those who will look up to the Lord will have an everlasting life. The most beautiful way to look up is to look at God,” he added.

Admission of sins

The Cardinal further noted that living one’s life in humility is a form of acknowledging the sins one has committed and sincerely repenting from them.

“We are all sinners and to bow down before the Lord is a form of admitting our sins. It is like saying that we cannot brag or boast about anything, except the fact that it is the Lord whom we need above all else,” he said.

Tagle said that being humble and bowing down before the Lord is like “imitating Jesus Christ, who, despite being the son of God, humbled himself and became human just to be with us.”

“He carried the cross we are supposed to carry. He was crucified and He died. That was His way of humbling himself to show that He loves us and He wanted to save us,” he said.

He challenged the faithful to lead humble lives seeking the Lord as the sole source of their salvation.

“This is a challenge to all of us–look up, look back, and bow down to God. I hope that will be able to do this in honor of our beloved Jesus of Nazarene, and to help those who have less or nothing in life, especially those who are mostly in need of our mercy and compassion,” Tagle said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCPNews)