By the Grace of God

By: Brett Andrew Rikke P. Bungcayao

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  Catholic devotees religiously observe practices and traditions in celebration on the passion and death of Jesus Christ during Holy Week. It also becomes an opportunity to become vulnerable amidst solemnity, to become sad but regain strength and happiness, right in time for Easter Sunday, when our Christ has risen.

   It wasn’t grand, nor was it stellar – but I’d like to define my past week as a spiritual renewal, a newfound strength and happiness and a week that was full of passion. I was fascinated how churches got so crowded during the Holy Week – but I noticed that there were so many Catholics that attended Palm Sunday rather than Easter Sunday. Was it a connotation that Christ’s death is more celebrated than his resurrection? Perhaps. Because it bothered me that there we large gaps between seats in the parish I attended last Sunday.

   Resting wasn’t even a part of my week. Amidst academic overload, I just couldn’t find the balance between relax and stress. I was busy lay outing our magazine project- and I was so desperate in watching Korean Dramas stuck in my waiting list – but I had to finish my requirements first- and there were a lot. My entire week, I devoted it to the completion of these requirements – hopelessly hoping that somehow, I could lessen my workload this week. It was a struggle, and there are times I was unthankful for it – but I became optimistic enough to have reasons to be thankful for. First, it ignited my passion. I’ve always wanted to become a part of a magazine staff. Back in my high school days, I was frugal just to save money for a new issue. I was so into lay outing, that’s why when the magazine project came, I just got excited and for the past whole week, I just did what I had to do just so that I can impress my classmates and the outcome would somehow be “phenomenal.” Second, I came to realize that I was a creative person. I just steadily and freely let my creative juices flow as I got to explore more functions of Microsoft Publisher.

   I knew it was a bad thing to curse during Holy Week – but my mouth uncontrollably twitches and I’d always say bad words whenever my mom would interrupt my work and ask me to clean the house. It was a burden to be washing the dishes every day, cleaning the rooms and even the backyard. Thank God burning was prohibited during that week, it could have been respiratory-challenging since the smoke and fumes would become so bothersome and irritating. But I liked cleaning, and I loved the fact that I had time to arrange my books and magazines, change my bed sheets and add mega Jadine posters unto my walls.

   Holy Week would make you realize that you should pause, take a break and find yourself again. And so I did. I did things I wouldn’t usually do in school weekdays (but in between I was editing out reports and the magazine). So I bought a copy of Cosmopolitan’s April issue and with Bella Padilla on the cover and Metro’s March issue fronted by Maja Salvador .I also must confess that I still haven’t read since I really can’t escape from lay outing.  I vowed myself that I’d read them this week, but the chances are slim to none.

   Last week was also a time of vulnerability and reminiscing the past. Yes I shed some tears, and it was a psychologically-relieving and an effective way to keep stress away. Last week I was able to copy The Space Between Us and man did it made me sobbing like crazy! It was a compelling love story of two individual and it seemed that the galaxies and planets keep them away from each other. Gardner and Tulsa’s love story was groundbreaking and gravity-defying as they proved that a young man from Mars and a girl from earth could pursue their love. It made me realize that gravity isn’t the strongest force there is but love. Love is magnetically attractive, painfully repulsive and naturally connective – and so id God’s love for us. According to the Holy Scriptures specifically John 3:16:  For God so loved the World, He gave us His only Son. That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

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   Jesus Christ’s love has been so strong that he sacrificed his life for us – and His passion and death is the sole reason why we are celebrating the Holy Week. It was a time for penance and sacrifice. God didn’t take up our crosses because we did good things, but He was merciful enough to forgive us.

  Abstinence was also a must for us Catholics as we avoided eating meat until Easter Sunday comes.

   Jesus Christ suffered the cross, and it was fitting that we should also suffer (even just a bit). For the past Holy Weeks in my entire life, I found myself resenting the fact that there wasn’t a wide variety of television shows to watch. But last week, I found myself thankful especially to MMK’s Courageous Katie episode starred by Shaina Magdayao (who gave me goosebumps with her superb acting skills) and JC De Vera (who made me smile… because he was striking and handsome). The scene where Katie was rushed to the hospital up to her death – I just couldn’t stop crying. Then I looked for our mirror and gazed at my reflection, and it made me realize how unfair life was. Why do Kathryn Bernardo, Liza Soberano and Nadine Lustre cry flawlessly in movies, and us ordinary people… well, we look like uhm, crap? Bugling eyes and runny nose? It’s just unjustifiable. Anyways, the Maalaala Mo Kaya episode made me think that death is really inevitable, so we must make the most of our lives and make it meaningful. We must do good deeds and face every step of our lives with courage. We must not be afraid of death because there will come a time that we will all be with Him.

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Lastly, the past Holy Week taught me to appreciate my family more just as Mama Mary took care of his Son until his last breath. I ended my week with so much forgiveness, so much strength, passion and inspiration. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family last Sunday. It felt so renewing and empowering because God’s revival and resurrection gives me a new hope that I can conquer everything (and perhaps finish my academic requirements on time). Last week made me realize that life is not full of suffering but there’s also happiness. You can only achieve happiness if you’re strong enough to admit your mistakes and be humble enough to ask forgiveness. Making mistakes is quite normal since we are human beings all characterized by imperfections and shortcomings, but it doesn’t mean that we have to do it all the time just because we have a forgiving God. Doing good deeds, following God’s commandments, being humble and kind is the answer in this world of chaos and sinfulness.

   I felt more beautiful, stronger, bolder, fiercer, braver and smarter after the Holy Week and I’m thankful that I got to experience these things because it plays a big part in my personality development. Long live Jesus Christ! More passionate and reflective Holy Weeks to come for me, and for all of us. By the grace of God, I picked myself back up again.

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