A Holy Week Message: A Single Heart

We temporarily interrupt our Bohol 2006 series and give way to some important messages. Holy Week is upon us. For your reflection, I share here with you a piece which I wrote for Philippine Fiesta last year.

A lot of things can change in a year. Star Struck, the show, is not as immensely popular. I no longer write for Philippine Fiesta. In this world of change, however, only one thing remains constant and that is Jesus Christ's love for me and for you. We will have a few days of peace and quiet later this week. Please take time to be alone, pray, and hear what the Lord's plans are for you. Give thanks for all the good that you have in your life. We all have a lot to be thankful for -- sometimes, we just do not realize it.

So, at this time, let me greet all the viloria readers too a Happy Easter. Have a meaningful and blessed Holy Week everybody. =)

Salt and Paper: A Single Heart

As we went to mass one Sunday, we were surprised to see dark violet banners suddenly hanging all over our church's walls. Believe. Repent. Survive? No, this was not a Star Struck Search (a talent search here in the Philippines which is known by its tagline: Dream. Believe. Survive.) but just a reminder that the season of Lent is upon us.

Ash Wednesday started the Lenten Season off last February 9 - hence our title of A Single Heart - as the first letters spell out the word ASH, according to Bishop Ongtioco. Quite appropriate, if you ask me, as I have heard from another priest before that Valentine's Day, always falls on Good Friday. What other demonstration of true, unconditional love is needed aside from Jesus Christ's dying on the cross for our sins?

So, as you read this, it is two weeks to Valentine's Day. The days of the Lenten are designed to help us prepare for that occasion. Lent, as Bishop Ongtioco also says is a time to remember, reflect on, and understand the death and resurrection of Christ and also to commit to reflecting its meaning in our daily lives.

From today, what can you do?

CONFESS.The Catholic Church requires that Catholics go to the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year. It is ideal to go more often - after all am sure we all do some nasty things throughout the year - but if we can only go once, this may be the best time to do it. Take time to examine your conscience and pray to the Holy Spirit to help you have a good, meaningful confession.

FAST. We are asked to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. All the other Fridays of Lent, to my understanding, are also days of abstinence. I have heard the comment that this can be a funny rule here in the Philippines where most of our citizens are not wealthy enough to enjoy meat on regular days anyway but that is beside the point. More than the rule, I suppose we focus on the concept which is sacrifice. I know of some people who give something else up aside from meat. They have thought of things that they really like or enjoy and give these up as a form of sacrifice and not focusing on the self for the Lenten Season. One friend gave up wearing her different earrings. One person I know does not drink coffee in the meantime. Aside from these things, we can also fast and abstain from anger, from criticism, etc., etc. The list is endless.

TAKE A BREAK. People spend Holy Week in different ways. Others head for the beach. Others head for the churches. Different strokes for different folks and in no way are we in a position to judge. It may be that this is the only time for the whole family to get together. What is important is that wherever we may find ourselves, we take time to reflect on God's sacrifice and goodness and set aside time to commune with Him as individuals. We can come together as family or as a church but there is really also a need to develop a personal relationship with the Lord. The kind that allows you to rest easy amid life's trials. A friendship that will allow you to tell Him even your most mundane thoughts. We need to be Christ-struck for only then can we dream big, only then can we believe that all things shall work for good, and only then can we really survive. Remember, Lent is the past tense of "lend." You and I are living on borrowed time and we look to the Source of all the good things we have.

So to all the readers of Philippine Fiesta, may you all have a meaningful and blessed Holy Week. May the grace of our Lord be upon you as you pursue His purpose for your life. May we all discover the David in us, David being a man after God's own heart. "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall follow all my will." In another version: "I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do." (Acts 13: 22 TEV) The direction is clear, the message, certain. This is our single heart.

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, April 10, 2006]

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