Friday, February 13, 2004
I don’t like my current title here. It sounds so ordinary and too teen-ish like as if the whole thing’s from the mind of a 13 year old. My choices were “Soft Murmur”, “Soft whinings” and “Soft Birdie”. The first one sounds redundant while the second sounds egotistic and pathetic. I wouldn’t even dare talk about the third one. Bad for my macho image. At any rate, I know it has to bear the word “soft” as it hasn’t found its voice yet. “Whinings” can be a good combination but it sounds too soft. I think I like the word “grumble”. The harshness of the word is to my liking. Oh well, I know I can still think of something else in due time. For now, “Soft Grumbles” will suffice.
Okay, now that that’s done, let’s get down to business and talk about religion. I was inside the toilet when I thought about God. Yes, the toilet! Of all the neat places I can go to for meditation, I suddenly thought of God inside the toilet. Beats me how that happened, dude! A near death experience while heaving my last sigh, perhaps. Anyway, I was practically brought up by nuns! From Grades 1 to 6, I studied at St. Joseph’s Academy, later on changed to La Consolacion in Caloocan. Then later on, third year high school at St. Paul’s College at San Miguel, Bulacan. My Catholic training, should I say, was very rigid. Compulsary masses every Sunday, monthly confessions, rosary and all that! I remember I had to have the parish priest sign a card to attest that I attended mass every Sunday. Since there were a lot of students from my school lined up for the priest’s signature, I would ask my older sister to do it for me. Later on, I would stay in the house and let her bring the card with her. The penalty for not hearing mass was stiff. You either write your name legibly a hundred times or you recite the Act of Contrition I front of the class. Then, there was the rosary month. Boy, it was always a problem as everybody who forgets their rosary are told to stand at the stage while everybody prayed during morning assembly. The tongue-lashing that followed was very humiliating.
In spite of all that, I cannot consider myself a practicing Catholic. I seldom hear mass, much to the disappointment of my wife, who is very religious, and her mother, who is definitely a devotee. But do we measure one’s dedication to God by the number of times one hears mass? I can see a lot of people distracted in church. What they seem to do is mumble the prayer while they are busy fanning themselves to seek relief from the heat. Then, there’s the noise coming from children who play around, sometimes, crying loudly when their parents do not give in to their wishes. How many ever listens intently to the Gospel? More so, the long sermon the priest gives. I wonder.
What I do know is that there is a God. A very understanding God who is not pleased by how much prayers we can recite in one sitting. A God who is not vengeful that He would condemn to eternal damnation anyone who forgets to hear mass on Sunday. What I do believe in is that there is a just God who will answer our well-intentioned prayers in His own time -- that there is a universal law of repatriation (karma) from transgressions against individuals. That there is a heaven where we shall all be when the right time comes although it might not what we conceive it to be and that neither should I question the existence of God nor His wisdom. That we were all created in His own image and so are created equally and as such, no man has any right to look down on another human. These are what I firmly believe in that I want my children to follow.