keeping the faith

As the churchbells reminded the practicing Catholics yesterday of the Sunday morning mass, I hurried putting life on my sluggish face that only had 6 hours of sleep. I couldn't even remember the last time I went to mass but yesterday was Palm Sunday & I thought it's a good start to redemonstrate my faith. I know my mother would be overjoyed to know that I did. Then I am reminded again of my non-participation from my once religious practice just after I moved to France. Photo of my Palaspas in France - an olive tree branch. Thanks so much Cathy!

No, I was not a nun but a devout Catholic - like anyone in the Philippines. Sunday masses, wednesdays & fridays included, yearly confessions, regular communions, prayer rooms, novenas & religiously observing the Holy Week. But like a lot of us, my devoutness has its age & phase. My daily prayers at church before & after playing at the park & middle seats inside church in between my parents have become a short prayer before dozing off in bed at nights & going to church by staying beside a fishball stand, eating while chatting with friends, close enough to hear the priest's homily. The personal sacrifices & denial during Holy Week have become a holiday at the beach. But as we move on in life, we create a special relationship with our faith. An age & phase of spirituality.

And spirituality is essential in a culture where religion or even beliefs are so personal & delicate. Where everybody can be of different faith. Where religion is more uncommon than we think after being born into one that is unified. It was more difficult for this sporadic practicer of faith, who still experiences a flicker of guilt missing a Sunday mass, especially when back home there are 10 masses on sundays & twice for the rest of the week. On how stubborn I can get with the French way of religious habits which are not so different from what I am used to. Where the religious community is like an open secret society you have to know. Where there is always an excuse not to go to mass because there is only one held every sunday morning.
"The ambiance is just not the same," I would always say because spirituality around here is likewise an individual experience. Where it's a parent's choice to give their children an opinion & choice on their beliefs at 6 years old (Le Catéchisme).

Being now more spiritual than religious, I couldn't say that my environment didn't have a bearing on it. But yesterday at mass, as doubly focused as I should be to listen & understand it in French & most of the time distracted to tickle Daniel's ear with my palaspas, I ended up silently trying to stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks when I decided to participate in the communion, arms crossed on my chest signifying that I come not to take one but just to be blessed. We have a special connection with our faith. A faith of knowing that there is something bigger out there.

Miss the Visita Iglesias with you, Manks.
*#@# you all on holiday at the beach during the Holy Week, the hottest time back home!


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. I have my own palaspas here at home, given to me by a friend. opo, i forgot that it was palm sunday.. and when they reminded me that im from a catholic country, i doubled the guilt when i reasoned out that Louna's still too young to support an hour mass. mea culpa!

  2. I've been to many religious organizations since when I was young until now and I it helps me to develop my christianity (it was my own personal choice)! I don't feel guilty having to miss a Sunday mass....it's more of being incomplete :( ! I know that we can pray wherever we are but I can't help it, it's in my rythm! Doesn't matter whether being spiritual or religious, it's a matter of FAITH !

    Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. and it's so true !

  3. The most important day to commemorate the death this year ,of Jesus Christ is April 2, 2007 , Biblical based.

    Luke 22:19,20:Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf.

    Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”  

    Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in YOUR behalf.

    Mak,We did our memorial celebration yesterday. One hour of mass.Before Sundown, 7:30pm April 2, Nissan 14 of the Jewish Calendar.
    Wala nga lang kaming palaspas...

    Nice topic, Mak!Musta

  4. I went to church too. Since the new church has been built closer to my home, mas masipag na ako in going to church on Sundays. Like you, my obligations as a Catholic lost its lustre over the years. I used to go to church everyday back in high school. But my faith goes on, might dwindle too but always there.

  5. Holy week is just so different outside the Philippines. Tom asked me if I liked Easter Sunday? I asnwered I liked it better in the Philippines. Tom felt bad about my answer and suggested that we get more involved in the chucrh activites next year. I elaborated that Holy Week in the Philippines is not really just church based but you can feel it in the entire city.

    This is a good blog topic. Maybe I should do one.

  6. Ana : We sometimes really feel guilty but I really believe that at times, it is better to seldom go to church but really mean it than feel obligated & empty. Diba, justifying din :D

    Hazel : You're right, feeling of incompleteness is more the feeling!

    Francesca : Thanks for sharing your side of your faith ;-)

    Leah : I think the essential thing is to keep the faith.

    Geri :So true that Holy Week in the Philippines is a feeling. I guess it's the unity that makes it presence :)

    To new beginnings!