An invitation for an interview with News to Go in Channel 11 with regards to a special segment about Simbang Gabi brought me face to face with my present thoughts about it. What started as a wish has now become a prayer. When before I wished for an easy life, now I prayed for the strength to face life, whether it be easy or difficult.
A Fulfilled Wish
Many people associate the completion of the Simbang Gabi or Midnight Mass to the granting of a wish. Just like my sister-in-law Levy who incorporated her and her husband’s desire to have a child with their attending and completing the Nine-Day Novena Masses, one cannot help but associate their son’s birth soon after as the fulfillment of that wish. Although the Catholic Church is quick to point out that there is no magic involved in the practice, this hasn’t prevented the faithful from lifting their innermost desires, dreams, and hopes to God.
An Answered Prayer
During my younger days, I did the same. I wished for material things and many others which I thought were the key to my happiness. For several years, I tried to complete the novena but never did until two years ago. During a very difficult time in my life, I found myself asking for a lifeline in what I saw then was the end of the line for me. My family and I attended the novena with nothing but a prayer to see us through. We did pull through, not without more challenges but this time countered by the growing strength of faith.
Wish or Prayer
This year, I expect to again complete the Nine-Day Novena. I have human wishes inside my heart which only God will ever know. I say my prayers, trying to do it in action as well. Faced with the question from the reporter of the above interview of whether I got my wish after completing the Simbang Gabi, it took me only an instant to answer that I did. I only had to look back to realize that the miracle or magic happened inside me.
Our Simbang Gabi wishes and prayers including the practices attached to it are the things that still hold Christmas and spirituality together. Nothing assures us more of the presence of God than a sincere wish and prayer that has been granted. For the Catholic faithful however, answers will come in the way God deems best for us.