Why We Should Not Be Guilty Of Being Happy During The Holy Week
Taking a break from work, taking vacations, and going out of town have become popular activities during the Holy Week celebrations. While this may raise some eyebrows, taking into consideration that Holy Week should be spent on fasting and penitence, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas says that it is actually not wrong for Christians and Catholics to be happy during the Holy Week.
“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,” Archbishop Villegas writes at the official website of the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese.
He says that there is nothing wrong with being happy even as we look back and remember the suffering and death of Christ this Holy Week. But it is a different kind of happiness, he explains, that Christians should be striving for.
The Archbishop outlines three “forgotten yet simple trails” that lead to a kind of happiness that can be considered a sure sign of holiness.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas (Image from lingayen-dagupan.org)
One, he says, is to “dream big.” But the pursuit of worldly dreams like to get rich or to be powerful are ordinary dreams that people strive for. For him, dreaming big is to dream of becoming 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.”
Two, he says, is to be obedient. He emphasizes that love is obedient and no matter how expensive gifts can be, nothing is more sincere and more loving that the gift of listening.
“Love is not subservient. Love is not domineering. Obedient love listens. Listening is one of the forgotten signs of love,” writes Archbishop Villegas. “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. The reward for obedience is happiness.”
Three, finally, is to “care much.” Opening ourselves, letting ourselves be vulnerable to getting hurt, and caring so much just how Christ cared so much that He gave his life, is true happiness.
“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,” he writes.
In the end, he emphasized that one should not be gloomy about the fact that the Holy Week is a remembrance of the time Christ died on the cross. One should celebrate, instead, the overflowing love that went behind His sacrifice.
In fact, it’s okay to go out, travel, and be happy during the Holy Week. Go on a Visita Iglesia and visit all the churches that you haven’t been to. Be with your family and celebrate mass together. Travel out of town and visit a charity or a home for the elderly, and make some new friends. Travel to the Holy Land and stand where Jesus stood, and walk where he performed miracles.
At the end of the day, it’s okay to have fun during the Holy Week. After all, as the Archbishop said, “Holiness is happiness. They are twins.”