Unholy Week, Unholy Life?
How did we spend Holy week this year? When I was growing up, Holy Week was always a pious occasion for the family. The children would play quietly during Holy Thursday and Good Friday while the adults would spend the time in silent reflection and speaking in low voices. We would religiously join the processions during these two days and join in most church activities. I'm sure the motivation for doing so was not the same for all of us kids, but even so, the meaning of Holy Week was not completely lost on us back then. I miss those days.
I say this now because as the years pass, I no longer see the kind of reverence and fervor that people used to have for Holy Week, and more so with the younger generation. Holy week has become unholy. For many young people, instead of reflection and prayer, the week is now a time for relaxation and partying. It is obvious to me that organized religion has lost its relevance for most of the youth. In my family for example, the teens and young adults have stopped attending Sunday mass. At first, it was because of school activities and/or work, then it slowly evolved to the mass losing it's meaning for them. I console myself with the fact that most of us in our youth have passed this stage in our life. Take myself, for example. Although I have never questioned God's presence and importance in my life, I could not relate nor understand many of my Catholic faith's traditions and rituals. The mass for me was an obligation and nothing else. I went to Sunday mass (and all Holy days of obligation) only because studying in a Catholic school beginning in the 60's, I was taught that missing it was mortal sin and a sure ticket to hell. That sure scared me! I remember going to confession every time, just for this sin and only stopped when one wise priest put it in it's proper perspective. It was when life became more challenging, and not because of fear that I consciously reached out to God. I was already in my early 30's when I finally understood why I am Christian and Catholic. Maybe because of this better understanding of my faith that I worry about my children's (and my brother's children) souls. I used to have great dreams for them, but now my only desire and fervent wish is for them to go to heaven. On the other hand, I know I should trust God completely, continue to pray incessantly and God will do the rest...much like my parents does for me.
Today, Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonization of two Popes, let me be one of the first, to ask for their intercession for enlightenment of young people's minds everywhere, most specially for my children and my brother's children that they may lead holier and more spiritual lives. Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, have mercy on us. St. John XXIII, St. John Paul II and St. Monica, pray for us.