It's the celebration of Christ the King yesterday. As a part of the documentation team of our parish, I was out there taking pictures with three other friends. The event marks the end of the liturgical year, and is thus an event to celebrate for Catholics. If you ask me, it really is a moment I always get excited for. I get to take a lot of pictures and run around like crazy without anyone telling me off, simply because I wear the uniform.
Taking photos and creating designs for parochial events had long been my form of service. I thought that I wanted to do for the church what I think I do best; hence, this status. For all this time, I have convinced myself that this is how I practice my faith. I always tell God that I do this so He would constantly hear my prayers.
But yesterday, I was made to question such belief by one person.
I don't know him. I might have seen him around the church already but I don't know him at all. But as we were at the first station, I saw him behind the honor guards from Knights of Columbus and was following closely the priests carrying the monstrance. He wasn't singing along when I first noticed him. He was actually murmuring what seemed to be prayers while with that seemingly crying face on. I must admit I didn't pay that much attention, believing that maybe he was just, you know, exaggerating his emotions. And so I left.
I forgot about the man until my next encounter with him. We were already at the outdoor altar of the parish and I was standing with a friend behind the altar servers when he suddenly came up and stood beside me holding a candle.
It would have been another normal incident if only I didn't notice the state of the candle. It was no more than an inch already, and he was holding it with both hands. Melted wax were dropping in his fingers and he didn't seem to mind. I looked at his face again and noticed how concentrated he seemed, his stares were directed at whatever was happening in the altar.
And then I felt my heartstrings tugged.
As the image of him kneeling in wet concrete while everybody else were standing - holding his candle like it's the most precious thing in the world - sank in, I began questioning myself what am I doing with my life. Melted wax dropping on your bare skin is never not painful so I thought he was doing a certain sacrifice, perhaps for a request.
To be honest, I felt shamed and embarrassed. As I stood behind him, I felt so little. I wondered how small my kinds of sacrifices are compared to this man's whenever I ask God for something. For how many times in the past, I always compromise my 'service' to the parish just so He would grant my wishes. Looking at the man in the picture, I felt like what I am doing is nothing.
I know that there is no need to compare when it comes to sacrifices for our faith. But I just want everyone to see that in life, sacrifices should be sacrifices. It means if we want something to happen and we're willing to sacrifice for it, then we should at least do something we're not used to.
I'm not saying it should be uncomfortable or humiliating. That's not how it is. The gauge is it should be something you don't always do. It should at least give you a limit. For example, if you're regularly spending 2,000php for your shopping trips every month, sacrificing means cutting it off to 1,000php and just intend the remaining half to charity works. You get what I mean?
Forgive me. I don't mean to dictate. It's just that I realized that we all have to learn the give-and-take process with God. And perhaps, we also could just ask ourselves what kind of sacrifices do we do for God?