So I was feeling a little down throughout the last week and I can only conclude that it was partially due to expectations. And to put into perspective, the question that came to mind was “Are we suppose to feel happy all the time?”
There were many noises as well and one of which was a documentary I stumbled upon while going through YouTube. It was a documentary of sexual abuse by clergy in the Philippines. The video of course led to many more news regarding the same heinous crime and abuse of power elsewhere.
It is very difficult to comprehend the feeling of knowing that the entire belief system that I subscribe to more than half my life so far can open up to such rottenness. If the church is what it professes to be, it will never be a place for such acts – regardless of how forgiving and unforgiving it is.
It is very easy to brush it off as “not letting a few rotten apple spoil the entire basket” but if we take a step back and give thought to it, these are unforgivable crimes and must be fixed at all cost.
I then thought to myself if it would be fair that for every crime that happens in the church, I would stop practicing a ritual related to the practice of the church. I believe that is a very fair trade because each wrong doing slowly chips off my trust for the institution. If the institution is serious about what it practices and professes, it will somehow find ways to regain the trust of many and redeem itself.
I am still feeling a little disappointed and jaded at the moment.
What is the point of all this fuss about fasting and abstaining while knowing at the back of my mind someone entrusted with power and authority in the church somewhere is committing a heinous crime against the weak and vulnerable?
Why am I even allowing someone else affect my own experience and relationship with the institution? The key word here is institution – not God. If an institution like the church is responsible for crafting ways/practices to help us get closer to God and if the practices in the institution is attracting criminal conducts, then any person in the right frame of mind should stop subscribing to such practices. Regardless, a relationship with God is not sustained by a third person or institution. God dwells in all of us.
Sure, we are all human and imperfect. So why shall we observe the practices made by imperfect humans?
With a heavy heart, I walked into church the past weekend trying to somehow rekindle the light of my faith in this God who have blessed me immensely. Though at times, I felt that nothing seemed to make me happy anymore, there is still a sense of knowing things could be worse.
“Fast is not necessarily about the meat. Fast is being less judgmental and reduce the need to always be correct”, said the priest.
Perhaps, if I fast from over-thinking and over-analyzing, would it make things better for me?
Or if I fast from knowing about all the abuses in the church lest I pass judgments against the perpetrators, will I be happier?
Is ignorance truly bliss?
Maybe, just maybe it is the Lenten season that opens up our eyes to such sufferings so that we learn from it. We are made aware of such imperfections so that we find in ourselves the room to forgive.
Only time will heal and tell…