Friday, April 06, 2012

Lenten Reflections (Oh My God)

When we were younger, we observed the Lenten season quite differently. This was the time when there were just the malls, TV, radio and nothing else. We felt the solemnity of the season because of the quietness of the surroundings -- malls were closed, TV stations showed religious movies, and radio stations played nothing.

Today, it's different. I feel that somehow, the significance of the season is a bit diluted owing to the fact that there are a lot of distractions. Twitter, Path, Pinterest, Draw Something... and the tons of torrents I downloaded.  More people see it as vacation season than a time for reflection, and I'm not judging them although our family's the type who would stay instead of be somewhere else because we're all brought up that way.  Now, to me, the holy days sometimes feel like any other holiday. No work and that's it.

I admit that I've been jaded about Lent for quite a while. When we do the Stations of the Cross, it feels like The Rosary. A bunch of repetitive prayers that sometimes lose its meaning in the middle of the act, when your mind begins to zone out, wishing to get it over and done with.  What's more meaningful to me are the personal prayers - praying on my own in my room, while driving in the car or kneeling before the altar at the church because the way we profess our faith now is kind of disenchanting. Some people go to mass for the heck of it, like a requirement that you have to do but would jump at any chance to have a super valid reason to skip it. 

I was bored out of my wits on Holy Wednesday and Holy Thursday.  Staved off the boredom on Holy Wednesday by driving up north to see friends and have a couple of beers.  What made a difference, though, was the decision to do the Way of the Cross at Highstreet on the night of Holy Thursday. I decided to do it for two things: 1) I felt slightly guilty of not doing anything for Lent. No mass on Ash Wednesday, no fasting and not even observing the no-meat Fridays; and 2) I was bored and wanted to go out.

The Way of the Cross at Highstreet made a difference because it personalized the otherwise routinary Stations of the Cross. It doesn't really describe the stations through scriptures entirely, instead, it encourages the participant to reflect, through certain Acts, on the real meaning of Lent. Aside from being reminded of how God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that Way of the Cross also made me think about my own life - the blessings I have and the people around me who make my life worth living. I came out eternally grateful, again, to the Lord, and to all my loved ones.  At one point, as part of the activity, I confessed my sins to the air, and felt comfort knowing that I've been absolved.

I liked it because it was personal. It was an entirely different way of reflecting and experiencing Lent, of recognizing and seeking absolution for my misgivings, of appreciating the blessings and the challenges thrown my way, of praying and seeking strength and guidance, and of reinforcing the fact that I have not lost my faith and that I just needed a more sincere way of practicing it.

Writing a prayer for the people who make our lives worth living. #WayOfTheCross #BHS

I remember one particular moment this afternoon (Holy Thursday), while I was lost in my own world tinkering with my iPod and BlackBerry alternately, my Mom reminded me about how good God has been to our family.  Four incidents of cardiac arrest and a heart attack, but still, here we are, talking to each other on Maundy Thursday.

I have always known this, so I wouldn't say it's a realization, but somehow the thought still struck me: God really is here. He has always listened to and answered my prayers even if I question Him ALL THE TIME.  I do not always understand Him, but I've always believed Him.  And I don't only call on to Him in times of deep trouble or dire need.  God is the first one I call when the roller coaster takes that sudden dip or when Ryan Gosling takes off his shirt or when I finally get that first swig of beer after a long day at work.

OH. MY. GOD. Thank you for everything.

I love you.