Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This is supposed to be the Holy Week issue for this blog. However, I never really got to writing as I instead chose to take the week off and contemplate on the simple things of life. You know, waking up to a nice sunrise in the morning. Having a terrific mug of hot chocolate prepared by the wife, cleaning up after breakfast...I could go on and on, and it seems I wouldn't run out of material for a list of simple things you can do at home while not thinking of work, of the office and those other complexities that a typical day would bring.

I use courage for lack of a more appropriate word to describe what a friend and an acquaintance did - convert to another religion. A close friend, I learned only in February, became Orthodox while an acquaintance of old became Muslim. These were their choices and I guess and must believe that they decided on this after much reflection, after much assessment for the implications of their leaving their old faith (Roman Catholic).

For my close friend at least, I can claim that I have seen the transformation initiated back in our college days. We were always kidding him about the award he got in high school - Best in Religion. I still remember one of our barkada quipping "Like that award would help a lot in a school like UP." And we all just laughed, including my close friend who was always the cheerful type and good-natured.

He even wrote a book, containing research made that I can now assume was a part of his way of searching for the meaning of his faith. I must also assume that this "search" continued even after he married and while raising two wonderful daughters, blessings if I may state myself. Throughout he was able to understand his faith and himself more than we even attempt (or claim to attempt) ourselves.

Do such ideas even graze our minds as we attend Mass on Sundays? Perhaps it is even appropriate that we use the term "attend" rather than participate as we seem to be spectators in church. I remember our school rector admonishing us for being present physically but with our minds and spirits elsewhere during what many Masses we celebrated in grade school and high school. There, I said it, "celebrate" the better word for "participate." We too often are passive about our faith, taking for granted that rules, dogmas, tenets, and even commandments must be contextualized in the face of reality - not practicality, which is always associated with convenience. True, there are hardliners among us and even I must admit that I maintain certain beliefs to hold my faith together. Yet I am very flexible in as far as my being Catholic is involved - I do have a lot of opinions about and against certain principles. But I do believe that this is what living faith should mean - to be able to ask the difficult questions and not be in denial about the realities happening around us. Keeping the faith to me is to embrace my being Catholic including all its flaws while maintaining and nurturing my liberal views.

I admire my friend for his courage - to ask questions, to question himself and his faith, even to challenge himself to get out of the proverbial shell and come out liberated, redeemed. I could only hope I can be as courageous in my life - or so it seems.