Side altar of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Maundy Thursday 2010
Ma, ngano gitabonan ang Lord? A small child was asking his mother why was the main altar and the rest of the side altars of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, with the saints all in there, were covered with violet cloth. To a child, anything a statue that his parents venerate is the Lord.
I was asking that question myself before the innocence of a child blurted it out. For many years as a member of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, I was not able to ask that among my elders and the priests in the church. I am sure nobody gave me the answer because I could not remember any. Like I’ve said, I did not ask.
But that covered altar starting Maundy Thursday until Black Saturday has become a tradition for the Catholic churches around the world. So traditional I could not ask why. I would like to believe that this violet cloth is the symbol of love engulfing all of us into one center of attention- Christ’s passion and death- for us.
For the entire year, we have focused on things other than the main actor of our belief- Christ. We have been coursing our prayers to saints other than the Him, the one and only. We are so like traditional entities asking jobs through our politicians. We have been mumbling them prayers without Christ in focus. We ask, ask ask.
Now it is time for re-focusing our attention.
Which reminded me of an incident just this week. I got an injudicious message (messages, actually) in my inbox at Facebook and in my mobile phone from a green-eyed lover. It was about a poem from Pablo Neruda I posted at an ex’s Facebook page because it was the birthday of the ex. I even forgot I posted it there I have to scan the ex’s page again to see it. It happened months ago.
Now it was an honest mistake. The ex loved Neruda. I did not consider someone’s lover, or wife, or husband. Not even friends. It was THE ex’s birthday, not anybody else’s. So that poem.
But that act of jealousy gave me a false sense of power and security. Honestly. Knowing that my age has long passed the calendar and way beyond a life they say will begin, this jealousy thing made me prouder.
And when you are proud, you gain that unlikely power over yourself and the things you wished you would no longer do. It covered reality. A comforting blanket in a stormy night.
But family and friends always reminded me that jealousy, like a scheming lover, is trouble and it is best to get out of its way. Let them settle their score. If past is past, then let it be. If they have unresolved issues, they should mend it among themselves, not throwing punches to exes. I always consider jealousy as a sign of insecurity. I am not.
Main altar of the Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu, Maundy Thursday 2010
Thanks God I have family and friends who loved me no matter who I am and what I have done. They were there to support me, make counsel and help me spread love. Only love.
Just like the violet cloth that covered the whole of our Christian perspective this Lent.
The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. ~William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693