It takes an awful lot of courage and faith to be able to say “Happy Easter, He has risen” in such trying times as this.
Be thankful for your faith. Trust me, that void when one is without it can be taxing.
I honestly admire those who remain steadfast and true (to their faith) in spite of what they see and hear around them.
For days at a time, my mind would toil over the following thoughts;
“What kind of benevolent being allows for countless to die under such painful circumstances?”
“What kind of god allows for the masses to suffer from consequences resulting from choices made by the few who are in control?”
“What kind of master treats its subjects as pawns, as dispensable playthings so one can play god?”
“What kind of god allows for loved ones left behind to suffer the pain of not being able to say goodbye?”
I’ve so many questions going on in my mind. A part of myself tells me that what is happening around the world is rooted in science, and that the suffering of so many is to be expected, and that it is simply nature at work.
It is day 28 of the lockdown here in Manila and after so many days in isolation, even a person as anti-social as myself, is longing for the freedom to interact, to move around and to socialize.
The lockdown changes you. It’s funny that from what used to be just eye contact followed by a quick nod of acknowledgement, I now actually find myself smiling at random people, but from one meter away and from behind my mask, of course, as social distancing dictates.
And while buying food in the supermarket, you’ll hear this playlist of tunes seeking to calm and uplift the spirits of those listening.
It’s as if someone ran a search on Spotify for the word “heal” or “healing” and made a playlist of everything they found, from Jamie Rivera to Michael Jackson, and yes, sometimes from even that one song from Marvin Gaye.
Sometimes a vehicle would slowly go around the neighborhood, playing the more religious of those healing tunes accompanied by prayers.
Most of the time these prayers would sound like Gregorian chants over monophonic music, as you can barely make out what is said from the muffled sound emanating from several semi-broken megaphones mounted on a moving vehicle.
But all this is done to reassure the faithful that their God is with them and will help them make it through. The gesture is calming and reassuring for most and to a lot of people, besides the basic necessities, faith is all that matters.
People choose to believe and that takes courage.
From my own possibly distorted understanding, and from what I’ve been taught then as a young man, faith in the Christian context, taken from the Greek pistis, is understood as always a gift from God, and never something that can originate directly from people. Faith for the believer is “God’s divine persuasion” and is very much distinct from human belief, yet that belief plays a part in understanding it.
On the other hand, Catholicism and Christianity in general in the country was used by our colonizers as a means to pacify us indios, who most colonizers dismissed as mere savages. The friars and preachers and later on the elite class during those dark times kept the natives as ignorantly faithful as possible, taking their land, their freedoms, all in the name of.
Modern society despite its flaws allows us the freedom to seek our own path, to seek our own clarity. But then, this clarity is subjective.
In blindly choosing to believe in God, and in putting your fate at the hands of something you cannot see, in spite of all this suffering, in spite of all the uncertainty, can one then conclude that ignorance is clarity?
To be clear, I’m not mocking anyone’s faith, I am seriously asking myself these.
Faith can be a lot of things to a lot of people. If it keeps them strong and able to face the hardships of life, and continue to have a positive outlook, then I have nothing terrible to say about it. It is what it is.
The human spirit, collectively, appears hard to break. We have endured and recovered, over and over, through the different stages of our evolution as a race.
Every time nature has chosen to take a breather, us humans are forced to reflect and take things slow. It’s hard and definitely painful for those who have lost loved ones, but life treads on, however difficult, life moves forward, and every time we all get a bit stronger.
You suffer yet you choose to be faithful and that is truly admirable.
Happy Easter, He is risen.