Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Being Holy

So everyone knows I'm not exactly the best Catholic in the entire world. I rarely, if at all, attend Mass or say my prayers in a prescribed manner, and goodness knows I have never been a saint. I guess too many years in a private Catholic girls' school will have a tendency to warp one's religious beliefs. I guess it was also a part of my upbringing - my parents have always been happy liberals, and they were never insistent or sanctimonious in their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). My grandparents were insistent on bringing me along during the Sunday masses - where my grandfather would secretly fall asleep during the homily - but after his death, I stopped going along and after I graduated from high school, I stopped going to Mass altogether. Possibly the only exception was when I was dating my second boyfriend, N, who insisted on bringing me to Mass every Sunday. (Gah.)

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not against going to Mass and I admire those who can manage to keep up a habit of going to Mass every Sunday for most (if not all) of their lives. And I know that back home, it is an important part of family Sundays, especially after which everyone goes out to have lunch/dinner with their families. But personally, I have never thought of myself as particularly religious and it just didn't strike me as a particularly practical thing to do. I mean, I'm sure God would like it better if I did a lot of good things in my life and tried to make the world a better place rather than go to Mass every Sunday but be a lazy ass bum or something like that. Being a good person and being good to yourself and people around you transcends religion and labels and boundaries. But because I have been baptized a Catholic and have lived with these beliefs for my entire life, there is still a certain amount of stigma associated with people like me, who don't see going to church as one of those things high up on the list of things that make you a "good" Catholic or a "good" person.

Digression: And yes, it does help that I am in love with a Muslim. If there's one thing I truly appreciate about being with someone who comes from a totally different religious background, especially someone whose religion has been constantly demonized by the global media and most, if not all, of the Western world, it's that he has managed to totally eradicate a lot of preconceived notions about Islam and its practices. And what happens is that we end up celebrating each others' differences and accepting one another for what we have, and what we hope to bring in the future. ^_^ And I hope someday the world also understands that we shouldn't be divided by color or creed, that violence and hurting and killing other people is something condemned by ALL religions, regardless of whether you worship your god in a church or in a mosque or in the wide open spaces of the world.

ANYWAY. *gets off the soapbox*

But anyway. Because I wanted to be nice and because I do value Lent (believe it or not) and I do understand its importance, so I'm actually going to try and abstain from something this week - no, not pork since I don't eat pork anymore - and I am actually going to try and wake up early on Sunday to go to Easter Mass at St. Joseph's! And...The Boyfriend wants to come along, which means its going to be quite an interesting experience because he's never been to a church before and he doesn't know what it looks like inside, so I'm actually looking forward to it. ^_^

So actually, this might be one of the more interesting Holy Week holidays that I'll be experiencing - despite the fact that in Singapore, only Good Friday is being observed (non denominational country and all that) and so we don't have that funky Wednesday halfday and 4-day holiday and all that, but at least we get a break and that means more time to spend with The Boyfriend and more time to get my life in order. And yes, it's all good.

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