Abstinence on a Friday this Lent

My stepson (the 14 and almost 15 year old) started a discussion about abstinence from meat on the Fridays of Lent.  He seemed to be planning on doing it, and I simply told him that if he was going to go through the ritual, he should know what it’s about.  As religion is not a part of his day-to-day education like it was for me (at St. Paul College) and for his Dad (in La Salle), he didn’t have any idea.  So I went through the motions of explaining to him how it was a religious sacrifice meant to be part of the Lenten season commemmorating Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice.  I didn’t bother to go into the essence of Jesus Christ dying on the cross as a means of ensuring mankind’s salvation.  Alan and I have steered clear of profound conversations to enable the kid to absorb the main point of what we were trying to get across.

Sitting here now and looking back to that conversation, I wonder how it will be for my son, Angelo.  While Alan has made up his mind we ought to maximize the benefit of being in Zone 3 (formerly District 26) on the New York school system by enrolling Angelo in public school, part of me is saying that he is missing out on his religious formation by not being raised in the same structure Alan and I had in our early education in two of the Philippines’ premier Catholic schools.

While most of the ministrations of the nuns of St. Paul appeared to me to be useless if not overly ceremonious routines back then, I now find that the lessons on the virtues, the beatitudes, the prophets and the ceremonies of my religion have helped to anchor me in my faith when external forces made me question my Church.  And as elementary as the 10 Commandments may be to most other Catholics, I find that knowing in my heart and soul that the fourth commandment was to honor my father and mother has made me respectful of them despite the rebellious streak of my youth. 

I only wish that I can afford my son the same education and exposure to the rudiments of Catholicism that I was fortunate to have been enlightened with in my early years.  It would be great if I could somehow see him go to La Salle Greenhills like his father did.  But we are here in New York.  We are in America.  The system is different and so is the environment.  Parenting by itself is already a gargantuan task.  Doing it in this day and age is proving to be more and more a challenge as I dream my dreams for my son.

We do not go to Church every Sunday.  My husband seems to think I don’t have that deep a religious side to me — all he knows is that I pray my novena every Wednesday.  He does not know I pray the rosary every day and I talk to both the Virgin Mary and Jesus as I walk out of the house.  I am teaching my son to say his prayers and make the sign of the cross not because I find it cute but because I want him to learn how to talk to God in his own way.  I want my son to be able to open up his heart to Jesus the same way I do when I find myself downtrodden, and I actually see Him sitting in front of me, and I actually feel His arms wrap me in a warm embrace that lifts the burden off my shoulders.

I try to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent and I do it on my own, not imposing it on Alan.  But I hope that when Angel is old enough, he will know to do it on his own volition, for the reason it was meant to be done.

A Pinay Francophile

Webster’s Dictionary online defines Francophile as “markedly friendly to France or French culture”.  (Main Entry: Fran·co·phile  Pronunciation: 'fra[ng]-k&-"fIl, -kO- / Variant(s): or Fran·co·phil  /-"fil/ Function: adjective; French culture – Francophile nounFran·co·phil·ia  /"fra[ng]-k&-'fi-lE-&, -ly&, -kO-/ noun .

After going Paris crazy and desperately trying to figure out when Alan and I can go back (I just asked him last night when his next trip to Paris will be), I think I have become a Pinay Francophile.  I have fallen in love with Paris that I have made a decision to try and study to learn how to speak French on my own.  This weekend, I’m doing some reading and will be working on finding a speaking partner here in Manhattan after a few weeks of working on the basics. My website chronicling my first time in Paris will be up soon.

Yes, I can’t wait to go back to the City of Lights.. hopefully soon..

Snowing again!

As I was getting dressed this morning, Alan warned me that there was a forecast of snow.  I had not yet seen outside the bedroom window because we had the blinds drawn, and I don’t have a view from the bathroom either.  Lo and behold when I walked into the living room, mom was having coffee, telling me it was snowing again.

I don’t believe this.. it’s still snowing and spring is supposed to be just around the corner.  So I left the house wrapped up, wearing my long winter coat and ready to brave the storm.  I had to use an umbrella walking to the bus stop.  The forecast for the weekend is not encouraging at all.

*SIGH*  Just can’t wait for spring.  Fred, our errand boy here in the office was giving me the bad news that we are having a blizzard outside the office.  I told her I don’t like cold at all — I come from a place where it’s always warm, sometimes too hot.  Days like this makes me miss the warmth of Manila..