The bells are ringing. The Easter vigil has begun. I can hear muffled voices – but I doubt it is coming from the church. Perhaps it is someone singing Karaoke to celebrate the risen Lord.
To be honest, silencing my heart, settling my thoughts and connecting with Christ has become more challenging over the past few years. More effort is needed to resist distractions. More effort is needed to trust and just allow Him to take charge. Even finding time for Fr. J’s online retreat (which ought to be quite simple) was no easy task.
I forced myself not to fall asleep with the boys (and prayed they both stay asleep, for at least an hour) and made do with my phone and prepaid cellular data. And it was good. It always is. But these past few days, the retreat was especially good. And of course, the way God works is always good.
“It’s not easy finding God, but in times of disquiet, when our hearts are most restless and most in need of Him, they are also most open. In what should be a season of deepest disquiet, when the Father seems most silent and absent in His life, our Lord Jesus shows us how to discover God’s subversive presence in the most unexpected places in our lives.”
In the most unexpected places in our lives? Of course. How can I forget to see Him in all things? And how ironic that the one that will remind me is the little one (the little one in whom I ought to see Him all the time?)
“Nanay, Jesus sad.”
We took the boys to see the station in barangay San Juan, the station near Lola Mama’s and Lola Teny’s. We decided not to join the procession this year and watch the faithful and the carrozas pass from a distance. While waiting for the procession to reach us, we watched the volunteers slowly get into place. San Jose has a beautiful tradition of having members of the community pose (and stay put throughout the whole procession) each station of the cross. The Live Way of the Cross was something we always looked forward to growing up, and I am only too happy to share it with my husband and our boys.
But on Good Friday, it was J that shared much more with me.
Jesus was sad. J had a serious look on his face. He held onto Tom, while I carried I. He stared at the actors get into character.
Yes, He was sad. Jesus probably felt more than sad. He was hurt, perhaps angry, he was tired, he was in pain. He suffered. He was human, after all.
The night before, I hurriedly went through Fr. Johnny’s first session (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/holy-week-online/88348-holy-thursday-online-retreat-recollection). (Yes, I feel like I did shortchange myself by not giving it as much time – but I am consoling myself now, by writing my thoughts and allowing everything to settle.)
Upon reading the Temptation in the Desert, my heart zeroed in on this part of the passage “And afterwards he was hungry.”
He was hungry. Hungry.
Our Lord felt hunger. Like me. Like you.
He felt sad. Like me. Like you.
This reminder that Christ came to be human, to be with us, to laugh, cry, live and die, and be one with us was my happy thought for Thursday evening. He did all that for me. How could I forget? Basta ako, sabi Niya. He refused to turn the stones into bread to ease his hunger. He did it for me. He promised. But it was not easy. And yet He did.
On Good Friday though, J’s gentle statement reminded me of my own commitment. Christ was sad and so was His mother.
“Ayaw stick. Hurt.”
The stick being held by one of the soldiers was clearly a weapon. J knew it was meant to hurt Jesus. He knew it wasn’t good.
Really, our response to the greatest love story is truly quite simple. So simple that my 2 year old understood it – We love Christ. And we do not want to hurt Him. Or the people He loves.
We repeatedly told J that Jesus died on the cross because He loves us. Am not so sure how much of it he understood. But the empathy he showed that night makes me believe that we’re on the right path.
My spiritual life is clearly changing – less reading, less silence, less philosophy and discourse. Definitely less time listening to homilies and more time asking J to keep quiet. This is not an excuse for me to stop making effort in finding quiet time with God – but perhaps an invitation to see Him with the simplicity and innocence of our children’s eyes. Our Lord is not highfaluting. His message is clear and simple. His message is to love. Always.