Ex-CBCP head: Express gratitude to God this Holy Week

MANILA A former head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the faithful must be happy and give love during the Holy Week.

Must the face look sour and gloomy during Holy Week? Love begins with a smile. Make someone happy this Holy Week. Make someone feel loved. With your smile, show that God is love, said former CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas in a statement entitled, Reflection: Should you blindly follow those Holy Week traditions?

While noting that it is good for the faithful to follow Holy Week traditions, Villegas reminded that one must not do it for self-adulation.

Holy Week is not what men and women do to make these days holy. It is not about what Catholics must do, nor is it about religious traditions and pious practices done to 'feel good' after, the Catholic prelate said.

Fasting is good, but without malasakit (concern) for others, it is nothing. Prayer is good, but without remembering others and laying aside personal comfort, it is just an ego trip. Helping the poor and giving alms are good, but if you do it for show or to get a feel good reward later, it is just a noisy bell, he added.

On the practice of visiting churches, the former CBCP described it as a good practice but suggested better things to do during the Holy Week.

That is good practice, but you might want to visit seven patients in the charity ward of a hospital instead and bring them some food. Choose to love.

Villegas also advised flagellants to donate blood and slippers to those in need instead of hurting themselves through having themselves whipped and walking barefoot.

When asked regarding the practice of singing Pasyong Mahal as an act of devotion to Jesus Christ, Villegas said "Why don't you buy a Bible instead and read one chapter a day with your family for the rest of the year?

Do you need to get the flowers from the Holy Week carrosas to bring home and adorn your family altar? Why don't you bring flowers instead to a home for abandoned seniors and brighten the faces of lonely grandparents with the love you bring? he added.

Villegas also urged the people to express gratitude to God this Holy Week.

Holy Week is about what Christ has done for humanity. Let the memory of God's mercy sink in without any compulsion to do something. Just relish His mercy and bask in the radiance of His love. During Holy Week, tell God 'Thank you', he said.

Holy Week traditions vary from country to country. Holy Week practices evolve with time. For 2,000 years now, only one tradition has remained the Christian tradition of Love. It is really not just a tradition. The first Christians were known to be the most loving of all. Love is our identity. This week is holy because of love. Love alone can make us holy, the archbishop added.

Source: Philippine News Agency