Only Christians all over the world will understand what this week represents for our faith. Growing up a Catholic in a very Catholic country (one of two countries, they say, that don’t have divorce), I’m used to spending only 3 days for work, and Thursday begins with a flurry of activities. They range from novenas or praying the mysteries of the rosary to participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and “visita iglesia”. For a woman who is highly active in building a career, Semana Santa meant an instant break from the stress of work, focused on spending time with family beginning Maundy Thursday while remembering the sacrifice and love of Jesus until Easter Sunday.
Now that I’m working and living in a not-predominantly Catholic country, Semana Santa is nothing but an ordinary week. I don’t get a 4-day weekend automatically. If I do want to spend Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in silent reflection, I’d have to file a vacation leave. While my husband chose to file a leave on Good Friday, I chose not to. I figured that since I’m working part-time, I can get off work by 2PM on Friday.
While I’m okay with that, I still miss the flurry of activities and the welcome 4-day weekend that Semana Santa brings. It’s that one occasion besides Christmas and New Year that I get to spend a lot of time with family.
Someone asked me if I think that I made the wrong decision of leaving the Philippines.
My answer: A resounding NO.
I would rather have fewer holidays on my plate than be in a long-distance relationship for the rest of our lives.
I can spend this Semana Santa in quiet prayer and reflection with the love of my life. We may not have a 4-day weekend, but we have each other. And with Jesus’ love filling our hearts, we can offer our praises for the Lord together.
As it should be.