Thursday, April 5, 2007

Semana Santa

Tomorrow is Good Friday. It’s odd because it doesn’t feel like it’s Holy Week. In the Philippines, Holy Week is the time when you hear the daily racket of the elders and children singing the story of Christ’s passion. It has become an unconscious contest for each singer to bring the story to life through the different hymns and different paces of singing. There are the good voices and then there are the bad ones as well.

In our provincial home in Bulacan, we live just beside the chapel. So every night we go to the chapel to mingle with the crowd, to hear people sing and/or get invited for the free food/drinks. You’d be surprised with the number of people who go to these readings. Everyone wants to sing and boy, when people get their chance to sing, do they sing! They sometimes almost take forever. And when the singer has a bad voice, an hour can be an eternity.

This weekend is supposed to be a week of fasting. Not just for food but also for things that is difficult for you to give up. It could be that one order of tall frappucino at Starbucks. A scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice scream. A slice of that delicious looking Tiramisu cake.

For some, fasting has become synonymous to dieting. The meaning of it is lost because they have an ulterior motive to the act and that is to lose weight. I am not being judgmental because I know I was guilty of that at least once or twice. But it is sad if that is the only reason that you would submit yourself to fasting.

I remember frequenting Jollibee during the holy week. I would be eating their Tuna sandwich almost everyday because I don’t want to eat meat. I was quite thin back then so the main reason why I was doing that is because I was trying to avoid meat. Of course, losing weight in the process was always a welcome result.

Nowadays, I no longer go to church regularly. I don’t pray everyday. As staunch Catholics would say, I have lost my way.

When I was in Europe, everyday was a celebration of my faith. Seeing a beautiful painting or a beautiful place that I never thought I’d be able to see was always something to be thankful for.

Here in Singapore, I seem to have lost that. I am not blaming the place because it should be a conscious effort on my side to keep my faith strong. Somehow, I just stopped. I just found myself one day not caring if I go to church weekly or if I pray to St. Therese or St. Anthony or Mama Mary for their help on a problem. I have become a non-practicing Catholic.

I still call St. Anthony, St. Therese or Mama Mary in times of despair and trouble. I know it’s wrong to only seek their guidance when I am in trouble. I still believe in God but I have stopped being rigid in observing the dictates of our religion.

I am not promoting this kind of life, as people should always have something to believe in. I believe in God and I know that there is a higher being out there who always watch over my family and me. I just stopped having regular conversations with him and his family.

Good Friday is to commemorate Christ’s death in the cross. And Easter Sunday is a celebration of the fulfillment of our salvation.

May lost souls find their way back.

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