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         The Simbang Gabi tradition is deeply intertwined with the Filipino culture. The practice of attending the Holy Eucharist in the wee hours of the morning has both religious and secular dimensions. For most Filipinos, Simbang Gabi is one tradition which cultivates faith in the Lord. The Simbang Gabi masses serve as thanksgiving for the coming of Jesus Christ into this world. Moreover, they attend the nine masses as a devotion to Mary, the mother of God. This spirit of thanksgiving also served as the ground for some Filipino Simbang Gabi practices to spring up. There is of course, the serving of traditional foods such as the bibingka, puto bumbong and salabat. The meal is partaken with the whole community as a form of fellowship and camaraderie. Somehow, this meal serves as a tie that binds the whole community into one body, fostering friendship and companionship amongst Filipinos.

           

            Nevertheless, Simbang Gabi masses, in all its symbolisms and festivities, only have one object and meaning: the coming into the world of our Lord Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of Man, has its significance rooted in the Creedal Doctrine on the mission and identity of the divine person who became human. He, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and born through the Virgin Mary, serves as the fulfillment of the God the Father’s plan of Salvation. Without his birth into this world, His humanity would not have been possible. In becoming 100% human, while still remaining 100% divine, he made it feasible for God to be made known to His people. It is, therefore, intrinsic that we celebrate his coming into this world. Through the celebration of the Simbang Gabi, Catholic Filipinos are able to show their reverence and faith in the Son of Man who introduced the Father. In this regard then, the birth of Jesus, the commencement of the fulfillment of God's salvific plan, plays an integral role in the Catholic Doctrine.

           

            Along hand understanding the Catholic doctrine, that “God the Father sent his son Jesus Christ to redeem us and draw us to a life of everlasting” (cfc246), we must also be able to recognize its moral and worship dimensions.  Catholic doctrine was able to bring us the truth of who Jesus Christ is, “it is in this truth where we ground our moral behavior and prayer/worship”. Simbang Gabi as preparation for the birth of the Lord Jesus exemplifies this truth. Again, “the Creedal truths provide the basic ground for the Christian moral criteria needed for judging what is morally right and justified and what is not”. (CFC 229)

           

            The truth, “This is my beloved Son,” is followed immediately by the moral command, “Listen to Him!” (Mk 9:7). Christ as prophet and Savior not only left us with moral teachings especially in his great Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). More importantly, he inspired a unique moral vision of loving service, and offered the interior power of his Holy Spirit to pursue that vision. “The way that we can be sure of our knowledge of Jesus is to keep his commandments. The man who claims, ‘I have known him’ with out keeping his commandments is a liar (1Jn 2:3-4) (CFC 538). Simbang Gabi, as mentioned previously is about the coming of Jesus Christ. It will then be pointless and utterly useless to keep up with this tradition if we are not able to follow and recognize His moral commands. By obeying Him, we are able to live up to the moral aspect of Simbang Gabi.

           

            The basic worship dimension of Simbang Gabi is the act itself of attending the Holy Eucharist. It is in this service, where we are able to show Jesus Christ the highest reverence we could. It is in the Eucharist and in prayer, where we become united with Him in His glory. Furthermore, Simbang Gabi, as stated above is a devotion to Mary. Many of Catholic Filipinos find the commitment to Mary, Mother of Christ and our Mother in grace, a natural way to Christ (CFC 529).