Today is Good Friday.
In a predominantly Catholic country such as the Philippines, it’s today that feels like a legitimate vacation throughout the entire year. Holy Week is supposed to be solemn, and a time to invite everyone to rediscover their faith. Growing up as a Filipino Catholic, I also had my shares of strict rules during Good Friday: this could mean from not playing music and being quiet, to not being able to laugh the whole day. It can be easy to say that it doesn’t make sense, but now that I’m older I’m thankful that the silence is part of the necessity of observing the solemnity of holy week. It’s also become a reminder of the small pleasures in life which are overlooked.
Holy Week usually meant going out of town and visiting our home province. It also usually meant catching everyone also doing the same thing and being stuck in traffic for hours. Now that my parents, siblings and I have grown older, Holy Week has become a time of the year when we can enjoy Manila at its quietest, and most traffic-jam-free.
It’s also a great time to catch up with spiritual activities. Like yesterday, we went to Makati to go to the church for confession and for prayers. Majority of the mall being closed, and following the Stations of the Cross, we eventually found the church which was not completely lit up. A couple of times, the lights would go out and the only light left would be the one on the altar, since the church was just running on generator power. Nonetheless, It was heartwarming to see the many other people who were there to pray and also refresh their spiritual life. It felt like a real community, and something which I had not always been sensitive to in the past.
The best part was confession. The priest who heard my confession, despite the tiredness in his voice because of the many confessions he had heard all day, really knew what to advice me. I wouldn’t call it inspiration or passion, because the kind of hope that he gave me was a steady and calm kind of hope. Not the kind that burned bright and run out quickly. Maybe it was something I needed to hear again: that the path towards God was not in bursts of energy and passion, but in a steady, committed daily walk to become a better self. It was consistent, humble, and constantly reminded of how life on earth is a blessing– yes, despite all the evil in it and all the pain in it.