Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Holy Time

Once the whole of time was holy. Then innocence was lost through sin and the first humans had to leave their Eden. Time had to be marked for they had to work the earth for their survival. Now it has become worse, we are so busy that time is not enough for many of us.

We are responsible for this "hell". We want to escape.

For many Manila dwellers, this is the only time for them to move out of the city. But the kind of work I do requires me to be near the sea many times of the year. Here I find some bit of solitude and the necessary escape. You wouldn't find me on the beach on Holy Week. Everyone's at the beach it seems.

Manila becomes a place of solitude. Especially on Good Friday. On this day Manila's air quality is the best in the year. The wind is what it used to be. It is only on this day that on Ayala Avenue,one can hear the melodious song of the yellow vented bulbul. These birds roost in Greenbelt and fly around the CBD.

The churches fall silent. And silence is the key to hear the holy. In our busy lives the holy is analogous to the faint cosmic background buzz that is the product of the Big Bang. Our radio telescopes were able to detect that by filtering out all sorts of radio noise we have produced.

The devotions of modern Catholicism requires silence. The rosary, novenas, stations of the cross etc all require a sense of silence as they mark time. There is one Catholic devotion that has almost died out in the Catholic laity but has been largely preserved in Anglicanism. This are the prayers that mark the morning, noon and evening also known as the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours. These prayers are still said by Catholics in Holy Orders and while Vatican II has encouraged the laity to say it, very few of us do.

I learned to say the prayers in the Anglican Church. It is these prayers largely that made me Catholic, after all these prayers are really Catholic.

In many English speaking countries I have visted or worked in the Catholic Church is across the street from the Anglican. I attend Catholic Mass in the morning and join the Anglicans for Evening Prayer.

The busy me can at most say the Anglican-use evening prayer. But in the silence of these holy days, the saying of these prayers has greater meaning.

The internet has the prayers on line, Anglican or Catholic

No comments: