Lent is my least favorite time of the year. Although this Catholic celebration reminds us of Jesus dying on the cross to save mankind from going straight into hell and though this is the time where massive sacrifice, penitence, repentance and forgiveness is witnessed, the air of sadness it brings just doesn’t delight me. Everybody gives an uber negative light into the occasion, and this kind of impression has made me dread the season ever since I was little. I have nothing against the fasting and every kind of traditional ritual that come with Lent --- I appreciate and have lived with them, it’s just that the people around make it sound awfully sad. Awfully sad.
The family and two close family friends spent Good Friday at Hermitage. During the Last 7 Words, I tried so hard to focus and listen but my human frailties overpowered me. Glued to a not-so-comfortable seat, the horrid weather and humidity had me several times lured into sleep. Honestly, as I am writing this, I keep hearing the call of my bed urging me to retire from the day’s work --- okay, forget the bed. But regardless the constant temptation that kept me so distracted the whole afternoon, my brain was able to absorb a few lessons. And just when I thought my childlike ability to recognize daily miracles has taken a vacation, it sprouts out like some startled wild mushroom amidst my woozy state.
From his sermon, the priest said that everyone is good since we are made from the goodness of God. People sin neither because we are born with sin nor we are, by nature, evil. It is because in everything we do or attempt to do, the devil is always there ready to befuddle us. Temptation presents itself in the grandest and most attractive ways possible that it appeals palatable to mere mortals, making us even more vulnerable to choose the present wrapped in the shiny gift wrapper rather than the simple, unappealing option. There are cases when people known to be good are able to commit shameless acts, this proves that even they who try hard to live up the Christian life are very much prone to fall prey and cross over the dark side. If people as such are susceptible to, how much more others like my self. Actually, there are many debatable sides to this particular teaching like the gift of free will for instance; however, what’s taken into consideration is only one side --- this side of the cube and not the entirety of the Rubik’s puzzle. Going back to the sermon; with everything said, I’d like to quote first an old saying, “The devil is in the detail.” Second, paraphrasing from Harry Potter’s Sirius Black, “The world is not divided into good and evil … it is the matter of what part one chooses to act upon.” And lastly, from the song Affirmation by Savage Garden, “I believe that junk food tastes so good because it’s bad for you…”
This season is also as good an excuse for quality family time, this is by far the second best part of Lent. The bonus time the family gets is converted into good family discussion. No one is in a rush to attend to their jobs; no one has an excuse to study for an upcoming exam. Just the handful of time and warm talks.
For this year, my parents gave us important notes on finding better halves and getting married. What brought this on is a very recent experience on a particular couple who have been the sore thumb of everyone concerning the close circle of family friends. The story is quite long but to make things short and straight: couple against the world, early pregnancy, immediate wedding; irresponsible, slothful, egotistical, unemployed husband, covering wife … ungrateful daughter and son-in-law. Extensive list, but that is the general picture. So anyway, this is what the sad, sad situation made me vow: there is NO way I am allowing myself to be tied up in marriage to someone who cannot provide me with the same love, comfort and security my parents have given me. Also, prospects should be like my father who possess the three P's: provider, pastor and protector. And I am constantly praying to God that when my times comes, I will not be able to eat these words of promise.
Though some are boringly rehatched from previous posts, I'd like to share some of my Lenten contemplations:
1) I am blessed to have my forever-loving parents; my family and our friends.
2) The reason why God placed the brain on top of every body part is for us to 1) think before we act, and 2) think before we allow our hearts to control us.
3) There is a reason for everything.
4) We paint our own misery.
5) Destiny is a lame excuse for letting things happen rather than making them happen.
I cannot recall precisely everything that has happened over Lent and the dozens of wonderful things I've realized in this blog. But though I still think it is a sad Catholic season, it does not cease to touch my heart and open my mind to more of the good things I am always blessed with. The most important thing that Lent reminds me of is the truth that I am special in the eyes of God; that even though I am an unworthy Christian, an imperfect, sinful mortal, still He loves me and wants me to be in heaven and share paradise with Him and the good people He has blessed me with: family and friends :)