Since I was a young boy, I have always perceived Church activities as serious activities. I had been taught that I have to maintain silence whenever I am in the presence of the Lord, be it inside the Church or inside the adoration chapel. I was made to believe that holiness = silence and being holy = well-behaved.
I remember one time, I was in a prayer meeting, the speaker cracked a joke and I laughed my heart out. I was enjoying my laugh so much, that I was not aware of my surroundings. Suddenly, I heard a lot of “shh… shh…” from the crowd. When I opened my eyes, I saw a dozen people staring at me fiercely, like I did a heinous crime. It was as if they were telling me, that laughing during prayer meetings was an unholy act. From then on, I wore the mask of quietness. I refrained from laughing boisterously, or should I say I tried to. If a speaker cracks a joke, I still laugh, but my laugh is suppressed a little bit.
Last week’s topic at the Feast was about practicing self-care. The one big message of the talk was that we need to address our personal needs. And one of the needs that we need to address is the need to be ourselves. We need to stay true to who we really are.
As a renewed Catholic, a preacher, and a leader in two communities, I always aim for holiness. And somehow, these past few years, I have been trying to be like my models of holiness. I have been trying to be as silent and calm as Bo Sanchez and Mother Teresa. As I grew up, I thought that holy people were quiet and introverted people —the quieter, the holier. And whenever I act or speak loudly, I always end up feeling miserable. I feel like I’m less spiritual, and my holiness level drops.
But in this talk, I was reminded that the best way to holiness is to be faithful to the way God designed me to be. I need not be anybody. I don’t need to wear a mask of holiness. Or should I say mask of quietness? All I need to be is me.
Who am I? I am loud. I am funny. I am wacky. I am fun-loving. And I have decided to bless the world through my earth-shaking laughter, and my ability to make other people laugh.
Guess what? It worked. And I am now happier than ever.
Masks? Are you wearing one? Take it off and enjoy life by being the real you!
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