Reflections on tatlong araw walang Diyos

How long has it been? I forgot when the last time I went to church to hear mass or do my Catholic duties. I used to be very diligent in attending Sunday services until I realized that I could be as religious in my own way. The Lord won’t judge me for my practices.

Maundy Thursday. Have you noticed that it rains on this day every year?

Have you noticed that it rains every Maundy Thursday?

I never leave the city during the Holy Week. I have always spent it at home where I truly find the peace and quiet, and meditate (if ever I do that at all. Call it a “just in case” case).

At this time of the year, the busy metropolis turns into a ghost town devoid of men and vehicles (the other times are during Manny Pacquiao’s matches), at least during the day. Much of the population is out of town in a chosen place of “meditation” while the devoted Catholics are staying in and sticking to the “ways the elders.”

San Pedro Cathedral’s Adoration Chapel

Speaking of the “way of the elders,” I will never know how many “rules” our brothers and sister in faith have to abide to in the past, perhaps until today. Aside from the customary/obligatory Visita Iglesia (after a long time, I rejoined my clique this year in visiting 13 churches and was surprised how a few Churches are transforming into beautiful places of worship), fasting, no meat on Lent, no music or noise, etc., the observance of the Holy Week brings forth more of the “bawals” that I have heard before and a few new ones that got me asking “why?” (in total disbelief).

How much of these so-called “rules” do today’s generation follow?

Sta. Ana’s Adoration Chapel used to be in a separate room behind the Church.

Amazed by Sta. Ana Church transformation. The interior murals are fabulous.

Good Friday. Relive Christ’s suffering via the Way of the Cross. The day Christ died on the cross to save the world for the forgiveness of our sins is also the day when we have the list of “bawals” have to be complied with lest suffer the wrath of the strict Catholic elders (and not by the man who saved the world). You must have heard about the “bawal maligo”? I guess not, you’re at the beach, possibly with elders who never got the chance to do so during their younger years.

I am still in love with Carmelite Church’s acrchitecture.

In the “talong araw walang Diyos,” “bawal magsuklay”, “bawal maglinis ng bahay” because we are in mourning ergo preening yourself is “uncalled for”. “Bawal magbiyahe” “bawal masugatan” because “wala ang Diyos” to look after you and heal you.

First time I noticed this statue in front of Fatima Church.

The absence of the healer may have also brought about the “bawal mag-sugba” with wood or acquire dark spots on skin (or freckles?), and “bawal magluto ng malunggay” or suffer at no end beliefs. How and why these came about, I don’t know but there must be logical explanation to it.

When was this structure at Redemptorist Church erected?

Black Saturday. The Good Friday rules applied. If so, I have sinned for playing music to bring forth the writer in me to beat a deadline and not stopping the household help from cleaning my room. I prayed for forgiveness.

Today is Easter Sunday, the Savior has just been unveiled by a flying cherub at the break of dawn. Christ has risen and once more we are saved from our sins and given the chance to start on a clean slate (the physical body included because bathing is allowed again).

The St. Paul’s bell tower tells me how long I haven’t visited my parish.

Meanwhile all over the city…. while the kids are still too young to truly comprehend the meaning of this day, parents take them to Easter Egg hunting where eggs equate to prizes…..the yayas, in warrior mode, will make sure their alagas take home some. Now, please tell me how many of them take time to explain to their precious ones what the Easter Bunny really stands for?

Happy Easter!

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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 20, 2014.