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Living Lenten Lessons

As a member of a devout Roman Catholic family, I grew up with many Lenten traditions. We would participate with the Roman Catholic Church in its rites and practices. Even at home my siblings and I followed solemn teachings.

It started officially in the Liturgical calendar on Ash Wednesday. A cross of ash is marked on the person’s forehead. From dust and to dust we shall return.

Fasting and abstinence are observed during Fridays. Only one full meal is allowed during the day. And, the faithful is instructed not to eat meat. I remember my mother would cook fried fish and cocido to go with it. It was delicious and spiritually good for the soul.

The main event is the Holy Week. Before it unfolds Palm Sunday is celebrated. We would go to mass with palm leaves from our mother’s beautiful garden. By the way, the palms are burnt into ash and are used during Ash Wednesday. Everything is part of the grand divine scheme.

What is unusual about our family is instead of going to the province for vacation, we would go to Manila. Our grandparents lived in the big city. Back then life was simple. To illustrate the point, there were only five television channels: cartoons were shown in late afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

During Holy Week, the Media supplied the people with quality-religious-meaning-filled programming. There would be stories that are based on the Bible. There is always the Ten Commandments movie being shown at this time.

On Holy Thursday the television channels would go off the air. They would resume their broadcast on Sunday. What are the things that people do during those vacant times?

Well, it depends from one family to another. Our mother would tell us to read the Bible for children. I remember the colorful illustrations in that Bible. It was fascinating to say the least.

On Good Friday, especially during the afternoon we would not be allowed to play outdoors anymore. Our Lord Jesus Christ has died already. At about three o’ clock or so we would be meditating while listening to the Siete Palabras on the radio.

Easter Sunday was egg hunting day for the children. I remember when my priest brother was alive, he brought with him decorated eggs from the Carmelite Monastery. It was his neighbor when he was rector of the Holy Rosary Major Seminary.

Now, as old as I am there are many things that have been added to the many Lenten traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Confession remains as one sacrament that is a must during this season. Why? Because it is essential to receive Holy Communion on the Easter Mass. During that mass we renew our creed. And it is but fitting to reinforce it with the Eucharist.

However, times of the recent past are inundated with too much noise. Social Media, etc. How so? Remember during my childhood days there were only five channels? Today there are one hundred plus channels. With the advent of YouTube, it is limitless.

What you feed your soul with the kind of Media you choose is your own responsibility. You become what you consume. You watch worthwhile shows, you become a worthy character to write about-- one for the books indeed.

The Visita Iglesia is a relatively recent tradition that I practiced. Seven churches to visit and pray in. Doing so makes you part of the community. It is all the more meaningful because it is like a pilgrimage.

Easter is the ultimate zenith of the Catholic Faith. Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death and everything else. Resurrection is the fulfillment of God’s promise of Hope. He was born into this world as man and left it as God. With Him, everything is possible. What we could do is to fully surrender to His will and we will never ever go astray. And, we aspire to be with Him in the afterlife. Amen.

Special Mention to Father Nono, Monsignor Buentiempo, Rhea and Ate Rani. Any topic recommendation or just want to say hello? Send a message to: Email: | And, please do subscribe @jameszcarpio on YouTube. Thank You. May you be inspired by The Holy Spirit and God Bless!


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