I consider Holy Week as my favorite time of the year compared to Christmas or New Year. I prefer the simplicity and quietness of Holy Week than the pretentious excitement and public display of what you can afford (lights, food, decorations, parties) during Christmas and New Year. And I hate the subtle brutality of Christmas where you have to be cheery and happy, and have to participate, whether you like it or not, in those exchange gifts and parties just so you won’t appear like a social outcast or anti-social. Not to mention the “mandatory” way of serving “required” food on the table even if you have to purchase those food using your credit card because you don’t want to feel poor because after all it’s Christmas or become unlucky next year due to superstitious, Chinese beliefs that we, Filipinos, blindly follow. When you’re going through something, Christmas can make you even more sad (just ask the OFWs). And with all those hullaballoo going on during Christmas, don’t feel like it’s about Jesus’ birthday. I enjoy those rest days away from work, though, during Christmas.
One time (actually just last Christmas), when I blurted out to my younger brother how I wish people could just spend Christmas and New Year in silence (firecrackers sounding like gunshots and bombs bother me a lot), my brother looked at me as if I’m the strangest person he had ever seen then remarked that that’s just the way it is. Christmas and New Year are supposed to be celebrated with noise, with jubilee. If I want silence, I should wait for Holy Week.
That is why I love Holy Week.
Saying this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m religious or a very spiritual person. Actually, I’m a non-practicing Catholic, I don’t believe in praying the rosary because I get weak doing it, and I don’t attend mass every Sunday. I don’t believe in confessions. I would much rather talk straight to God, or Jesus, alone, yung one on one before I go to sleep or if I’m in the middle of something and scared (sometimes I even forget to pray due to tiredness). I do try to visit the Church whenever my spirit moves me but there were a few times where upon entering the Church I had to leave early, staying only for a few minutes or so, because I was getting dizzy, lethargic with the hot and humid temperature inside the Church, and people are jampacked during Sunday so whenever a miracle happens and I want to drop by to the Church, I do it on a Saturday or a weekday.
Though I was born Catholic, I can listen to preachings of other religions, like one time riding a taxi cab, the driver, who turned out be an Iglesia Ni Cristo was preaching to me all throughout the trip from Quezon City to Makati about the good news, the Iglesia Ni Cristo version, which, come to think, is not different at all with my religion, Roman Catholic, or other religions out there, except on certain practices (practices that I think are man-made). The driver thanked me before leaving his taxi for the respect I showed him, for listening patiently to his preachings even if he knew that I’m a Catholic. It was a rewarding experience on my part because I made the man very happy, fulfilled knowing he carried out his mission.
I mean, he was just sharing and listening to him was really interesting, and the same way, quite a learning experience. At the end of the day, all of these religions, including Iglesia Ni Cristo, believed on one thing anyway: that there is a higher being watching over us, regardless of whether He is known as Jesus, God, Jehovah, Allah, Mohammed, or Buddha. So I don’t understand all these debates about which is the better religion, about what’s wrong about Catholic practices or another religion’s practices. I believe every religion has its good and bad side, has its own drawbacks. At the end of the day, it’s still an individual effort, regardless of your religion. Faith is really a personal thing that nobody can dictate just because I was born Catholic. At the end of the day, it’s choosing good over evil. Each religion teaches this.
Today is Good Friday. I’m supposed to do general cleaning in our house but because of the hot weather, I feel like re-scheduling it on another day. Hot weather makes me lethargic, sickly. Did I mention that one thing I love about Holy Week is that all of us, every family member — me, my brother, and father — are in the house, like earlier we were watching this Seven Last Words while I was reading this book about Sun Tzu. I’m really bad in multitasking because I didn’t appreciate the program on the seven last words and didn’t get to listen to all of it and if I had, I got to even criticized one of the priests who mentioned homosexual acts in the same category as pedophilia, crimes etc. Ganda na sana ng preach nya.
In general, this Holy Week is something that has been consistent with my experience of Holy Week in the past. Peaceful, simple. Isolated cases yung moments where I was sad, disturbed. Because it’s the season where we remember the suffering and death of Jesus which makes me look at my own troubles and pain less threatening. Unlike in Christmas.
Yesterday, we watched, my family and I, on TV the Lenten presentation of Father Jerry Orbos entitled “Witnessing the light” and with him hosting the program was this blind girl named Fatima Soriano. The program was very nice, showed the places that Jesus went to and the events that happened there, narrated historically and meaningfully by Father Orbos with the help of Fatima (the part 2 will be shown tomorrow, at 1:30pm, channel 2) and unfortunately, didn’t see the whole episode because I was frying the spam (sent by Auntie Zeny) to be served for our late lunch that time (we woke up late, my brother and I). I made it a point to listen to what turned out to be the last sequence of the program, fortunately.
Kung alam lang ni Fatima, who is several years younger than I am, I took out my notebook and jot down the words that she said in the last part. Inspiring kasi, something that will put me in my place and remember my purpose in this world. Don’t care if it’s scripted. I mean, if it’s really scripted, it’s a good thing that Father Orbos gave her the floor to voice out those words, she, being a blind girl, cannot see anything but is very witty and bright, speaks better English than I am, and seems nicer and optimistic than I am. What she said was really something that I’d like to remember everyday.
“Journey is not about going far, or going fast, my brothers and sisters. The journey is about going to God.”
Written on April 2, 2010– The Best of “Living well is the best revenge” (theuntouchableone.multiply.com)