Is it wrong to be happy this week?
Random Thoughts on Holy Week
By Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas
March 26, 2018
Is it wrong to be happy during Holy Week? Is sadness obligatory during Holy Week? No it is not wrong to be happy during Holy Week. There is no law requiring us to put on a sad face this week.
Happiness is one of the sure signs of holiness but it is a different kind of happiness. It is not the happiness of merrymaking. It is not the happiness of the circus or carnival. It is not the pleasure of good food and booze. It is not the happiness of the picnic or excursion. It is not that kind happiness.
But we must be happy this week though quite a different one. It is the happiness that proves holiness. It is the happiness that only Jesus can give.
Where is that happiness during Holy Week? Three forgotten yet simple trails lead to it.
The first trail to happiness is to DREAM BIG. This big dream is the hope that gives purpose to our today. People who have no more dreams cannot but be sad. To get rich, to reach heights, to go places, to wield power, to be strong, to live long—these are ordinary dreams. Many spend their lives and fortune pursuing these dreams but the one big dream that makes us happy is “I want to be a saint”. The dream of holiness, the vision of heaven, the goal of endless bliss in heaven—no dream can be bigger than this. If you set your dream on being a saint, you will be happy and holy even now.
To be a saint is to be normal Christian; the problem these days is that we have become too abnormal. Lying and cursing, stealing and killing, greed and avarice, mediocrity and fault finding—these makes us abnormal. They are not big dreams. They are fearsome nightmares. These creepy devils make us more and more a desperately angry society. After being angry, we all become crazy. Tragic.
The second sure key to a happy Holy Week is to OBEY ALWAYS. Love is always obedient. No, love is not subservient. Love is not domineering. Obedient love listens. Listening is one of the forgotten signs of love. We buy expensive gifts to prove love but we have forgotten the inexpensive, but not cheap, gift of listening. When we cannot listen anymore without rebutting, without arguing, without shouting; love has been sadly lost. We shout not because we cannot hear but because our hearts have drifted apart. Kapag matigas ang ulo, tiyak iinit din ang ulo. The reward for obedience is happiness. All saints are obedient. You want to be happy? Listen and obey.
The third trail to happiness is to CARE MUCH. When you care and love, you give permission to be hurt by those you love. In loving, you choose to be vulnerable rather than impenetrable. If you do not like to get hurt, do not love anyone or anything, not even any pet. You will surely not get hurt because you will be hard like stone. In choosing to care much, you risk getting hurt but you keep on loving nevertheless. This is the way God has loved us—He cared much for us that He made Himself vulnerable to our inhumanity, cruelty and violence. He did not run away. He agonized but did not escape. He faced His betrayer but He did not resist; did not defend Himself nor take vengeance. He was rebuked but He forgave. He cared much. Because He cared much, He reached the climax of true happiness—the joy of dying for your beloved. What a love! What happiness!
Be happy this week. Resist that gloomy sad face. They do not lead to holiness. Be happy but differently happy. Dream big. Obey always. Care much.
Holiness is happiness. They are twins.