The most prominent scenery on the Lent in the Philippines is the penitence and a showcase of self-flagellation that are as banal as those in other countries but one must be able to go beyond what one can see and experience. It is excessive show of sacrifice and of love that no man or even the church can ever question or condescend. Of love and sacrifice indeed is one feels in the penitence and the penance one is willing to do unto himself to remind him of his sins and the folly he has done unto himself and unto mankind. One must be able to go to length in interpreting that these practices are a showcase not of brut but a showcase of unquestionable love for God’s sacrifices by sacrificing himself to feel how painful God has to endure seeing his Son to death to save the sins of the world. Similarly, when confronted with this scenario, one must ask oneself: Am I worthy of the love and sacrifice of God when I have continually sinned even if I knew it was a sin?
The painful journey in penitence must not be only seen on Holy Week but all throughout our lives. Our own definition of love and sacrifice must embody that of Christ’s infinite love for us, thus, it is incumbent upon us to show love and concern for others. When we have more than what others wished for, share. When you have what others have not, ponder on and share more. When you have in abundance what others have lacked, then share more. It is by sharing what we have, in thoughts, heart and in material things that one finds its own definition of what truly is love and sacrifice in our lives. When we are loved and had been loved, then love the most. When we are cared for, then care the most. When we are sheltered, then offer shelter to strangers. When we are pained, then understand. When we are challenged, then humble oneself. It is through this that our definition of good and goodness in men can be best translated into being.
Our journeys in our lifetime counts the years we have had missed making love and sacrifice most felt on others who relied on us. As long as we live, we counted the years that has passed that we are given the opportunity to define for ourselves what is meant by sacrifice, penitence and love. Highest of all is love. It is because when we have love in our lives that sacrifice and penitence are what we do everyday without having seen with the whip unto ourselves until we bleed. It is through love that we give most of who we are and what we had for others who have come into our lives for the singular purpose of giving us deeper sense of humanity, one that is bound with inner peace and the purest of all contentment – the ones we only felt in our hearts.