Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Chilli! Chilli!"

I was leaving a local Catholic bookstore on my last visit there when I saw a Filipina approaching, with a happy group of three four-year-olds running before her. I would suspect that the little children were Filipinos too, and they were in their uniform, which led me to assume that they were dismissed not too long ago from their kindergarten at a church nearby.

While waiting at the bus-stop, which happens to be just outsie the Catholic bookstore, the group of children, who were also at the bus-stop waiting for their bus with the lady, they started peeking through the glass windows of the display shelves of the bookstore. They must have seen a statue of the Sacred Heart, and called out frantically, trying to get the lady's attention, "Papa Jesus! Papa Jesus!"

I smiled to myself, but I never expect what is to come. What happened next almost caused me to trip over and burst out laughing.

One of the children, getting excited by the many statues on the display shelves, saw the statue of the Immaculate Heart. Without hesitation, he lifted his finger and pointed at the statue of Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart, he screamed, "Chilli! Chilli!"

I managed to hide my surprise and chuckle by quickly turning away. Deep down, I was laughing, laughing out loud. Not for the boy's ignorance that the chilli-shaped thing he is referring to is actually the Heart of the Mother of God, but more of a certain joy, a certain unspeakable joy, that the child is still so innocent, so pure, so child-like.

The lady quickly corrected the child, saying that the statue is a depiction of 'Mama Mary'. She, too, is evidently controlling her laughter.

'Papa Jesus', 'Mama Mary'. How lovely, how sweet, how endearing do these little children address their Saviour and their Virgin Mother! Our Blessed Lord and Our Blessed Mother Mary in Heaven would have, I believe, showered the little boy with many graces and clapped their hands in joy at that very moment, as they gazed down lovingly at this little child from their thrones in Heaven, this little soul shining like a diamond amidst the dark, corrupted world around it, still innocent, undefiled by actual sins.

Prayers need not be long and elaborate. Sometimes, the mere addressing Our Lord and Our Lady as 'Papa' and 'Mama' is more than sufficient, if you truly love them as your Father and Mother.

And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
St Matthew 18:3

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