Monday, April 07, 2014

Lenten Things that make lent Lent...

It’s the Lenten season.

There are many things about todos los santos...

There’s the heat.

There’s childhood.

Before, or a few decades back, lent was a solemn and somber season for reflection on the sacrifice of Jesus. I could feel the funeral aura because no loud music was played, drinking and celebrating was unthinkable then, and it was gloomy as if death was stalking us. This was understood.

God is dead.

Tha Amba. We were taught to revere this statue of Jesus lying
down on his death bed. Visual representation is very important
especially to the simple people who does not have the intellectual
 faculty to understand complex and abstract stuff like dogmas and
doctrines.Of course, this smacks of idolatry, but one has to
understand that language is all about symbols and one can think
of this as a symbol, a 3D visual representation. Remember the saying
a picture is worth a thousand words.. Everything must pass
through our senses and this is achieved by representing
concepts into symbols that can be processed by our mind. 
Take a cue from our Lord Jesus, he taught using stories, parables that
can easily be understood by common folk. He did not do abstract
 theologizing (as we know it today, yet there's nothing wrong with it). 
Most of the abstractions and theologizing stuff was done by the
lawyer Paul. Hence, Paul was a mere interpreter of Christ. It' s not
only a matter exegetics and hermeneutics, a little understanding
of perception, anthropology, psychology and sociology helps.
(not that I know about these stuffs, heck, no!)



Parents kept reminding their children not to play too much or get out of the house for God is dead. "Don't hurt yourself, God is dead, your wound will not heal," this from our parents. Of course, this was crazy but back then, when we were still children, this reminder scared us.  Whenever we get scratched or we bumped our head, we would all be worried sick because the Healer is dead, the bleeding might not stop, we might die of minor cuts and bumps.

Bathing on good friday was a no-no; it’s all about forsaking pleasure and commiserating with the suffering of Christ in our won little ways..

I remember when I was a little kid, going home we used to pass this chapel and there’s this life size statue of the crowned Jesus wearing velvet dress lying on a bed enclosed in glass, the old folks call this the “amba”. Aside from the amba, the chapel was also filled with life size statues of the holy family. Every time we passed by this chapel, adults kept on reminding us to be quiet because we might disturb the “amba.” Because this was repeated oft, reverence for the chapel and the statues inside were instilled in us. Even now as a non-Catholic, every time I enter a Catholic church there’s this aura of respect, mystery and hmm…call it holiness that still permeate in my head. (Classical conditioning, maybe.)

The food. 



Todos los santo's national food! Looks so good that it hurts.
My mouth is literally watering.Visual stimulation and
conditioning, he...That crazy Russian guy and his dog experiments is so accurate. 
Thinking about holy week makes me think of ginataang bilo-bilo. If Christmas is identified with ham and queso de bola, todos los santos’ national food is the ginataang bilo-bilo.  It’s the summer season; it’s the season of sweet potato, banana, langka, coconuts and other tropical fruits. During summer, our neighbors would be knocking at our doors asking if they could get coconuts from our trees and we would be repaid with bowls of ginataan.


Movies.

Great movie. I like Peter Strauss he is a good actor.
His performance in Das Boot is outstanding.
Peter O'toole is Peter O'Toole. (that means,
 I don't know anything about him.)
I was fascinated by Lenten movies. There was this movie called Masada that was being played on TV then. I was not really into the story, I was a child then and all that interested was the fight scenes and the primitive war machines used by the Roman Legion to subdue the Jews of Masada. I was so into it that I even made catapults using bamboos and rubber bands and had the time of my life throwing missiles hitting objects that I imagined was a fortress.

But it only later that I learned what Masada was all about. It was about the Jews struggle against the Roman Empire. Masada was a Roman plateau-fortress that the Jews captured using ruse (like Gideon, maybe) and later became their fortress. It took the Romans 15, 000 men to recapture it by building ramps and using war machines like battering rams and catapults. The fortress was defended by 900 Jews. Great story but a tragic one. The defenders of Masada committed mass suicide rather than surrender to the Romans. Read the link, or better yet, watch the movie on line.

Film showing is now the norm every Good Friday. Gyms, streets, roads or any open spaces large enough to accommodate a large audience.  Anyway more about movies later...it's lunch.



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