Holy Week would be the counterpart of Advent's 9-mass ritual during Lent for me. I recall a few years back when we had choir practices from Holy Monday-Wednesday for the Triduum masses headed by the seminarians at our parish's in-house formation center, then participate in various activities in remembrance of Christ's passion and death. These would include Stations of the Cross along the village roads, our family's Pabasa/Pasyon, Visita Iglesia, and looong masses and processsions from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday. All throughout this week, I would avoid using the phone for anything other than coordinating choir schedules, and would deliberately disconnect my cable TV. At the end of the Easter Vigil mass, we'd go to the seminary's backyard and hide plastic eggs in preparation for the kiddie Easter egghunt, then go back home to rest for a few hours before marching again to the village streets and witness the Salubong before Easter dawn, have breakfast, and finally give food and goodies to the children who eagerly and patiently searched the entire seminary field of prize-laden eggs. It seems like I practically wouldn't have slept from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, but it wasn't much of a bother. It was my tradition, my own ritual.
This year's Holy Week, I didn't join any parish activity because I chose to participate in Hangad's own Triduum duties (masses, Stations of the Cross) in Ateneo. I didn't go to the Salubong for the first time in 10 years. And there wasn't any kiddie Easter egghunt because the church apparently had construction ongoing at the seminary's back field (uh-huh, right. at least that's what they said). And because my 24/7 load would be expiring by Black Saturday, I chose to forego my telebabad sacrifice altogether, as well as allowing myself to watch non-Lenten shows on cable TV.
Come to think of it, I wasn't that active either for the Advent/Christmas parish events last 2004.
I realised I had been following and complying with these rituals and failed to remember the reason why I started them in the first place. It came so automatically for me to be there all the time that I wasn't there for the right reasons anymore. It then dawned on me that I no longer found such activities helpful for my own spiritual reflection. And I discovered I was able to ponder on my faith even amidst the nonchalance of daily life.
Yet somehow, there remains a part of me that wishes to find meaning again in those practices I chose to let go of. Maybe I will find it again, not in a whirlwind of excitement as it was in years past, but in the soft whisper of a breeze inviting me to come home.