I welcome silence with a grateful heart.
It’s almost 12 midnight with only the whirring sound of the electric fan keeping me company. Even my pup is surprisingly quiet while she is sleeping the night away. Its been a dreadfully hot day today and after finishing up the last pieces of work I had to do, I can’t help but heave a big sigh of relief. Deep down, I have been looking forward for these four days of rest but it has been so uncomfortably hot! Weather like this has been going on the past week and while others welcome this as better than the constant rain, I can’t help but wish life shouldn’t be so extreme. Extremely hot, extremely cold, extremely tired, extremely stressed, extremely happy (which seems to last for only a few hours) and extremely sad. I guess, I should not be surprise since this is LIFE after all.
Other than the Philippines, there are other countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Spain commemorating “Semana Santa” or Holy Week. Although most Western cultures would give more emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Easter Sunday), Holy Week is a time of reflections, repentance and prayer that starts from Palm Sunday on-going toward Easter Sunday. Philippines is a Catholic country with almost 85% Christian population. Thus, it is not surprising that the week sees most people going home to their hometown and taking advantage of the 4 day weekend starting on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
In some parts of the country, Semana Santa is looked upon as some sort of “street opera” for tourists. You will see multiple crucifixion with people really getting themselves nailed to the cross; marathon chants that starts from Monday climaxing towards Friday with people taking turns praying, singing and chanting the passion of Jesus 24 hours. There are also myriad of flagellation especially on the Northern part of Luzon. Other people are kept busy preparing for their religious floats for the procession. These are mostly owned by the affluent members of the community wherein mostly were handed down from generations to generations. The figures in the carriage is being kept in impeccable condition with their carriage designed beautifully as the family believe that these figures guided them to a comfortable and bountiful life. Most processions happens starting Wednesday but the most awaited would be the one during good Friday with almost everyone in the city or town looking on. During this time,one can feel a seemingly sullen mood with priests continually praying and the crowd joining in. Most Catholics are forbidden to drink and be merry at this time. Those who are fasting and abstaining gain full force as a part of their sacrifice.
Easter morning ushers in a wondrous celebration of joy and merriment! Other than the early morning welcome church services with participants dressed in Roman costumes and children in angel attire, it is a sight to behold as people watches a little girl plays the part of an angel bearing good news that Jesus has risen again. Indeed, this whole week spectacle draws thousands of participants and spectators.
However with all the bustle and hustle of religious affairs going on, many would take advantage of this religious holiday to relax from work and go on a vacation. Mostly, families would go outing to beaches and resorts while others would visit other places out-of-town. Still some people like me who has been bogged down with work welcomes this time to stay home. I may not be a religious fanatic like most Filipinos but deep in my heart I see this time as a time for deep reflections on how much Jesus love and willingly suffered for me. It is also a reminder to forgive the people who have pained me in the past and have been stopping me from moving on. I thrive on this quiet time as I have been struggling in my heart, not because I doubt but because I seem unable to let go of the pain that has been blinding my heart to forgive others.
Can you share how I can forgive?
It is my desire before I can join in the joyful celebration of Easter, I can finally laid to rest the pain in my heart.