The hoopla and the solemnity
Given our nature and condition, we cannot help but get into modes of noisy excitement and silent, intimate solemnity whenever we have some celebration. We are both body and soul, material and spiritual. We, of course, have our human nature, but one that is oriented to the supernatural. We are individual persons but also a social being, unavoidably meant to enter into a growing web of relations.
It is because of these aspects of our life that we cannot help but get involved in some hoopla and solemnity whenever we celebrate a big feast, as in those of the Black Nazarene and the Sto. Nino. We just hope that both modes of behavior spring from the same spirit of faith, hope and love of God and of everybody else. Otherwise, we get into an anomalous condition of inconsistency that will be detrimental to us.
Thus, it is a challenge and a task for us to attain this consistency, this unity between the hoopla and the solemnity of our celebrations. Yes, we have to be as solemn as possible when we pray, when we establish, nourish and develop our relation with God who is the source of all good things meant for us. (cfr. James 1,17)
But given the fact that we are also a social being, such relation with God which should be a cause of great joy, can and should be expressed with some festivity and hoopla. It is our way of sharing the same joy with everybody else. And we express it in an external, social and human way according to our earthly condition.
In the Bible, there are countless instances where these festivities were done. The only qualification to be made is what St. Paul once said: “Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5,8)
The proper way therefore to celebrate is when things start with prayer, with our effort to relate the celebration to God, thanking him for the occasion. That’s when our celebrations would be “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Thus, we have to see to it that our own personal prayers should be maintained all the time.
But there is also a liturgical prayer that involves and unites us in the living prayer of Christ and the Church, that is, of everyone else. These prayers should be done as solemnly as possible, directing our whole mind and heart to God through Christ in the Holy Spirit.
We should not forget that prayer is our personal encounter with God. It is as necessary as breathing and the beating of the heart. Without it, we cannot go far as a child of God. It should never be left behind in all our celebrations, whatever the situation we may find ourselves in.
But since our celebrations are rooted on our love for God, they also have to be shared with others. That’s because loving God will always involve loving others. That’s when festivities and the hoopla that accompany them enter into the picture.
If we have the proper understanding of what really takes place in a celebration, we would know how to combine the solemnity that a celebration requires and the hoopla and the festive atmosphere that it will always involve.
Let us train ourselves to establish an organic link between the solemnity of the prayer and the liturgical service involved in a feast, and the hoopla, the festive atmosphere that comes quite naturally.
These two should mutually help each other. The solemnity of the celebration should inspire the hoopla, and the hoopla should lead us back to the solemnity of the occasion. One without the other can mean a disaster to us.
This is the challenge we have to tackle. A lot of catechesis should at least be done in this regard.