What feels right

During Holy Week, we stayed in with the kids and had my parents’ home all to ourselves. I was supposed to be with mom & dad in Laguna for the annual Pasyón de Kuwaresma and prusisyon. I intended to be with them but as soon as I rested on the bed and felt the warm, soft, and inviting cushion; my senses shut down for craved hibernation. It was a sneaky exhaustion that gripped my entirety after a long week of work and commute.

To be honest, I wanted to visit Laguna not because of family Lenten traditions. I just missed seeing the people there – the cousins I used to play with and the kids that they have now, distant relatives that at some point I smiled at, the cute lolos & lolas, the ever-doting aunts with unsolicited advice at the tip of their tongues, and the uncles armed with potbellies and robust stories.

But anyway, we stayed home. Maundy Thursday became Visita Iglesia. Good Friday was for good old movies and laundries. And on Black Saturday, we shopped at St. Francis’ Square for harem pants, comfy leggings, phone cases, slip-ons, and a pair of large dreamcatcher earrings that maybe I’d only get to wear once or twice a year.

At some point of the Lenten holiday – like what I did last year and the one before, and so on – I thought about the arguable need to visit several churches to say the same prayers on loop. Will God listen better or feel more revered if we chant memorized lines at several churches in more counts than we usually do?

I don’t want to think of myself as irreverent; which I maybe am despite what I refute.
But I respect spirituality. I value talking to God. And I try to be compassionate & just in ways that I know of. Yet sometimes, I feel the need to detach myself from norms in order to preserve what I believe in.

At times, I’d feel guilty. But every so often, it’d feel right. I might be mistaken, lost, and confused; but I decided to be softer with myself. I don’t want to keep punishing myself with guilt for having reservations when I can choose to do more – like being trying to be kind, to be more empathetic, and to be more in tune with my sense of right & wrong.

Maybe this is the good thing to do – to simply continue trying to be a better person – because at the moment, my heart and my mind agree that this is what feels right.

I am not faultless. I swear a lot. I am easily provoked. But I do try to improve.

3 Comments

  1. God definitely does not feel better hearing the same prayers “on loop”. Nothing can make God feel better than he does all the time, since he’s perfect. But I love church visiting on Holy Thursday because of the sublime peace I feel. I’m always amazed at how the presence of our Lord feels the same at each church, even though each church is different and the presentation of the Blessed Sacrament is done in a different style in each place. And you see all kinds of different people who have one thing in common: They love to be in the presence of the Sacrament. I don’t know how church visiting originated or why, I just know that I love it, for my sake, not God’s.

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  2. Ah, this is why I’m an infidel. I honestly hate this Filipino culture — because at this point, it has become more of a culture than a belief — and I’d never understand it. Like you said, it’s not like God would listen to you more if you visited a thousand churches in a day and chanted the same lines over and over. I don’t think it works that way.

    But anyway, to each their own, I guess.

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  3. I have always disliked the traditions during Holy Week but this year was different. Our parish had a new parish priest who explained to us all the different activities at our church. He then invited us to participate in it and “break” the norms. It was honestly better than the usual traditions we had and a lot more meaningful, tbh. I think most people feel so distant with the Catholic religion because of our traditions. Having someone explain the real meaning of things made a difference for me.

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