My Unforgettable Siete Palabras
My parents are devoted Filipinistas. No, not the nationality. It is what members of the Philippine Independent Church are called. In Spanish, it is known as Iglesia Filipina Independiente or IFI. In bisaya, it is commonly known as Filipinistas or Aglipay or Aglipayan - derived from the family name of the first head of the church who is a Roman Catholic Bishop in the year 1902 named Gregorio Aglipay.
So the Philippine Independent Church is a Christian denomination which is a faction of the Roman Catholic church as a product of the the 1898 Revolution against the Spanish colonization in the Philippines.
I grew up with the tradition of our church where every Holy Thursday, we attend a Holy Mass where the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles is reenacted. This reenactment is very significant in our church because this is when the Mystery of Transubstantiation happened - the bread and the wine becomes the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
During Good Friday, our Holy Mass will start with the reading of the Siete Palabras or The Seven Last Words of Jesus while He was hanging up in the cross. Then we end our Holy Mass with a procession.
I have an unforgettable experience about Siete Palabras. I do love listening the Siete Palabras but I criticize our church's system of Siete Palabras because the readers were just given a script to read it in front of the altar - some read it well - with feelings, but many are just reading it with little conviction in their hearts.
So I thought, it would be much better if the readers themselves were the ones writing their script so that they can read it with feelings and strong conviction in their hearts.
One day the Lord made me realized. He made me realized that it is not about who writes the script, its not about who reads it, it is not about how they read it. He made me realized one day, when I was invited to become one of the readers. I was assigned to read the transcripts about the fourth word: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?".
I read the script ones. The pride within me dictated that I can add more to it or I can enhance it further and add more beautiful words to make it more touching... to impress the listeners.
I disregard that thought. Then I paused. In my silence I prayed...
God made me realized that it's the work of the Holy Spirit, not mine, to touch somebody's heart as I'll read one of the Seven Last words of Jesus during the Siete Palabras.
I knew right at that very moment, the Holy Spirit is working inside of me. It rekindled the flame in my heart with conviction, that as I read the script in front of my fellow parishioners, My voice was shaking and I couldn't stop the tears from falling. Each word that I read were like two edged swords that it struck my heart from any directions.
I can see from the lectern as I speak, some of my listeners had teary eyes too! I am so certain that day, that those who listened to me where moved and touched. Not because I read the Siete Palabras well with feelings and emotions, but because the Holy Spirit had used and touched me to moved and touched them as well.