Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Reflection



image by catholic communications

The Lord is risen. He is truly risen!

This is one Easter greeting from the Eastern Church that they do still practice today. But for us 21st century Christians, we simply greet Happy Easter, and so there goes the egg hunt and the dancing bunnies in the malls to our hearts' delight.

One great thing that this day not only reminds us believers but also brings us is the clear message of hope for everyone...for all those who believe and for all those who have faith to a Being greater than ourselves. The Paschal Mystery of Christ's resurrection which is His suffering, death and resurrection is also a reflection of our way of life that gives us the guiding light to trod not because of a blind type of following, but because be deeply believe. Despite of all the trials, disappointments, heartaches, unlucky circumstances and our individual subjective experiences of dying, there is this perfect reassurance that there is joy, truimph, grace, abundance and happiness so long we hold on to Him who never gave up each and everyone of us.

There are three virtues that I wish to share out of my own personal reflection (and may I not sound too preachy about this post) on our celebration of our own personal stories of sufferings, death and resurrection. I wish that these three virtues could guide us in living a good life, as much as I try myself to live up these things and reflect these things on my daily dealings; difficult but not impossible.


Faith

When I was young, I used to be so amazed with people on flowing white robes with smoking golden jars and stuffs, and old women praying incoherent Latin prayers and songs. Maybe this is one reason why once in my life I dreamt of becoming a priest; I got so engrosed with rituals, religiousity and ceremonies. I believed then that being religious is being faithful. But is now a precious experience of the past.

Faith for me is something that one holds so dear. It is something that is so precious to you that you can even offer your life for it; you can exchange your life for this truth or this thing or this experience more than anything else when circumstances ask it of you.

The early Christians, many of which became saints of the Church through martyrdom are classic examples of my simple understanding of faith. They did not hesitate to get decapitated, crucified on the cross upside-down, burned to death, fed to wild beasts or tortured up to their last breath, all for their faith; faith for the resurrected Christ of Nazareth. They hold their faith so dear that dying for them is nothing but a way to be with the One whom they believed and loved so much more than the world's riches or promises.

Faith is something that guides our lives; it is something the helps us on the way see things, judge experiences and our response on them.

Let me give a classic example. A husband who truly loves his dying wife or child, he will be confronted of the question of what is the most important for you in your life? And most often than not, a father or a mother would say, if I could only give myself in the place of my dying chid.

But there are also people who hold in their lives money, power and prestige as the most important things more than others. These are the things that they hold so dear more than relationships, service, family or sometimes even self. They can steal, cheat, kill, silence dissent or even manipulate the truth to protect these things. Sad to say, there are so many of these kinds of people today.

I realized that faith is not about golden robes or towering candles, incoherent prayers and public display of a belief system. though celebrating your faith with the community is also important. But faith is your own authentic personal relationship and constant encounter with your God; the God who probes the mind and heart, who knows your silent screams and your loud protestations. Faith is the murmuring of your soul and the joy of heart in front of your Creator.

Service

One of the most misunderstood and misjudge song during its time is that of the band Yano, with their song "Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo". They were unfortunately at the receiving end of the outrage of the Church. But for me the song is only but reflective of the sad truth of many of us Christians as simply occasional Christians (maybe during Sundays or even only during Lent and Simbang Gabi) doing only a lip service out of what we believe in.

Our faith is nothing, is dead according to St. James when only confined to ourselves. The greatest symbol of Christianity is the cross and on it are two lines. One is vertical, while the other one is horizontal. Our live of faith should lead us to two relationships, one that is between us and our Creator and the other one is between us and all the people around us.

I got strucked when I saw this big crucified Christ hanging on a wooden cross on one little chapel. The man hanging in there has no hands! And below is short scrip writeen, "You are now my hands".

Our beliefs to simply put it should be transformed into actions of service, not only to those people we love but more importantly to total strangers, the voiceless and faceless, for what merit will it have if we only serve those people who are already dear to us?

And for me, this is one of the most difficult part of living. To be an authentic believer.

Communion

Our belief to something profound and our works for others out of the generosity of our hearts is an affirmation of our communion and solidarity with our community; a deeper consciousness that we are parts of whole and what is happening to the whole body would certainly affect us and what we individually do also affects the bigger family.

This is why when Jesus went to temple, he got so angry with all the peddlers not really because of the solely putting up businesses in the temple area but because fo the unjust and corrupt ways that the peddlers are doing that hurts most of the poor Jews to goes to the temple. Jesus was angry because he felt the pain of unjust being a member of a community of believers.

My pesonal moments of silence are also my special moments to reflect on what I am doing with my life; where I was, where I am and where I want to go, not not necessarily inside the church, usually inside the toilet, ehehe! Living a life of authenticity is a struggl for me personally, but I am willing to pay the price. At least when I die, I could say the one Creator when I faces him that at tried.

Happy Easter everyone! May we all find our inner peace amidst a noisy and troubled world. Hope I did not sound preachy here LOL :D


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16 comments:

Jan said...

I'm all about service and communion. But faith I have little of. I don't know what that makes of me - but I have murmurs of the soul, too, as you put it exquisitely. Although, if I may be candid, my soul murmurs for something else.

Forthrightness is not my cup of tea. So it's scary for me to say this. It's just the way I am. I hope this doesn't figure in how you regard our friendship.

I see you're a child of God. This is the 21st century already so I hope you'd not rain fire and brimstone on my parade, so to speak. And I dread pitchfork and burning at the stake, too. If you must know.

Elmot, I'm not so secure about my doubts with regard to the Church. That is perhaps what will save me in the end.

Or the scary point where you transition to the next life or oblivion. Then I may renounce this heresy.

The only thing I can promise is I'd keep an open mind.

I so love your take on these things though. It made me examine my core beliefs or lack thereof. Please forgive me if my soul murmurs for something else, my friend.

jhay said...

Faith, Service, Communion.

Where have I heard of this before? ;)

I find discussions or debates about faith pointless, because faith itself is something as subjective as the choice of clothes one decides to put on.

Dee said...

Hi! Hopped in from Jan's blog. Happy Easter! Wish for an inner peace myself. :D

bingkee said...

I have to say something to Jan---faith is something that you don't need to work on if you set your heart on it. If you're struggling with faith because of lack of proofs and evidences, then that's not faith at all.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for and things unseen, evidence of things unseen."
Because if you do not hope and believe it and if you do not see it, then that's not faith at all.

Wise people can be foolish if they do not have faith , if all they need is always a proof or evidence of things before they see it or believe it.

When you believe and have a little faith, everything can turn around....not necessarily of the external things around you, but what if makes you .

God does not force you to believe in Him. It is always your choice. But choices come with consequences and whatever choice we make in this world, whether relating to faith or not, there is always a consequence. Which way do you want to go?


Elmot---thanks for this nice post.
I'm with you. I believe that you don't need to perform certain rituals and repetitive prayers to earn righteousness. Righteousness comes from the grace that God gives us when we believe in Jesus Christ dying for the redemption of our sins and restored to life, so we can , too have new life.

God is great...not only for what He has done for us, but for who He truly is.

Hope you enjoyed your Easter Sunday.

jojigirl said...

Elmot, may the likes of you thrive and continue to share good thoughts. You are a beautiful soul.

mariancalago said...

hi.. Link Exchange?

mariancalago said...

Hi. I am going to link ur blog now in my link exchange portion. hope u'll link mine too.

Snow said...

Faith moves mountains and I still believe in that up until now.

cheeetots said...

faith, service, communion... Animo!:)

alam mo kuya, up to now, nde ko pa din maramdaman ung essence ng Holy Week. Quite disappointing kase sila mama&papa parang damang-dama nila ung reason kung ba't my HW, gusto ko din ganun. Soon...

^^,

elmot said...

@jan: it is all part of the process of discovering what is your heart's desire, the deepest longing which i something bigger that yourself.

i must admit too bro, that i have been through that valley, and still experiencing moments like that when i now there is something inside me murmuring for something more profound, lasting, deeper and perpetual.

i have doubts also with the church bro, but what is important is that you and your creator are at tune with each other...


you have nothing to worry bro, i totally understand you and our friendship will never change... coz as i said, i have been through that tough stage.

elmot said...

@dee: thanks for dropping by here. it is i think the wish of everyone, innner peace despite the noisy world.

elmot said...

@jhay: surely you have heard of these three so many times.

indeed, you are right, faith is something that i myself believe is subjective, and putting it on debating tables to prove that the other one is right and the other one is pure heresy is nonsense. that is why i shared my understanding of faith as totally what is something that you hold so dear in your heart, and not what a group of people or a system tells you to put and cherish in your heart. :D

elmot said...

@bingskee: thanks ate. i belive that searching really for your faith is a process that God allows to happen, so that yu will truly know what is gold from stone.

faith for is to trust and entrust.

indeed, rituals are nothing but mere display of acts that does not necessarily entail the genuineness of heart. God probes the soul and the heart in the end.

elmot said...

@jojigirl: thanks for dropping by here ate :D

the great challenge in sharing one's thoughts though, especially on matters of personal spirituality is consistency and faithfulness...hay...:D

elmot said...

@snow: it is totally true, always...

elmot said...

@cheetots: ganyan talga...but as they say, and as far as my own practice ans experience is concern, when you want to feel the depth of HW and experience something special, you have to prepare yourself to it...you have to invest yourself into it.

let us not get blinded or clouded that that feeling is something msytical or transcendental that the clouds would open up and angels would sing and blow their trumpets and god would speak to you.

just listen...cherish the moment of silence...listen to the murmuring of your heart...from there you will know what to cherish...and from there you will feel what is important in your life.

ayos ba ate? ehhehe!

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