This can be quite difficult… Abstinence is probably the most significant change in a Christian’s lifestyle during Lent. I have my share of struggle in giving up a favorite food and doing sacrifice during this period.
Traditions are barely recognizable in such a modern fast-paced routine that we have, but there are still some that I find significant and extensively-practiced.
Ash on Foreheads
Fulltime work makes it difficult to come to church for Ash Wednesday, but I’m just thankful that there some companies invite priests to celebrate Mass at their offices and are a bit lenient in allowing their employees to attend the services.
I find it serenely pleasant to see people flock to churches waving their weaved palm leaves as the Holy Week starts. Seeing people recognize this important event in the Bible makes me feel that Jesus is working through their lives.
Stations of the Cross
As far as I know, almost every Catholic Church has the fourteen Stations of the Cross symbols. There are just many churches with large figures, especially in the Philippines. I’ve been at the Lourdes Church in Bulacan and Kamay ni Hesus in Quezon. Praying the Stations of the Cross there makes me feel like I share in Jesus’ pain in climbing Mount Calvary. Of course, what I went through is not even a fraction of His sacrifice.
People from all walks of life join this tradition, and as expected, there are those who do not share in the solemnity of the activity. I admire those who walk in prayer and reflection, and also those who keep their noise down in respect of others who pray.
In general, I know what to expect during the “Salubong”, which marks the beginning of Easter. But it is still hard to explain my elation every time I see the black veil taken off the image of Mother Mary as she sees the Reincarnated Christ. I guess, that’s the feeling that Easter is supposed to teach us – the joy because our Savior has risen.
Traditions may seem repetitive, and in fact, they are. And I guess, that’s how these should be so that we will remember something.