Yes! I am up late and I am actually allowed to because technically we're going to experience a long weekend, thanks to our recognition of Ramadan! :D
This is officially the mark for long strings of vacations brought by Halloween and Christmas! Sweet!
Speaking of Ramadan, I truly celebrate and applaud my Indonesian friends who strictly follow that 'Ramadan' rules. Actually, looking back and having spent time with my Indonesian classmates, I really can say that I'm very proud of them at that aspect. I wouldn't like to say that I'm generalizing, but it seems all of them are pretty much conscious and strict in following the rules of their religion. Whenever lunch was served to us, they're really adhering only to their own batch of HALAL Foods. Obviously they do not eat meat, but it's more of the preparation of the food that they greatly consider. I even asked one of my Indonesian friends one lunch to confirm what I actually watched in Discovery Channel. In that particular segment, they were explaining the process of making HALAL foods. Meat of any kind is butchered in a very honorable way. It sounds kind of absurd right? But yes, there is a very honorable way of butchering your next dinner. They offer a simple prayer before actually killing the life out of your next dinner. It doesn't end there, they put their meat facing the east. How concise and meticulous is that?
I am amazed at the fact of the strictness their religion, and the supreme leniency of ours. Sometimes they would take late lunch just and just prioritize their trip to the Indonesian Embassy in Makati to pray, whereas for the guilty folks like me, attending a 1 hour mass is often seen as burden and annoyance.
What about the lenten season? The only time wherein we could actually have our own 'ramadan' of not eating meat on Fridays, and ideally fasting in every sense of the word seem to be the practice of the few.
Our religion is so forgiving. Yes.
Our religion is also so GENEROUS in GIVING us excuses and leeways to redefine religious practices and creeds on a more personal perspective. If you look at it positively, it gives us a free will to realize, to really follow what we believe in, hence being true to our hearts. But sometimes the act already erases us the basic concept of religion. Our religion has allowed us to customize and adjust it in accordance to our own needs and wants. It is that lenient.
Do I view myself as religious? I have to say I'm not. Brought up in Catholic private schools wherein Christianity is a core, I was exposed to certain Christian practices. I appreciated and instilled in me values that have made me perceive world in a Christian light. But if you would ask me if I could recite the rosary and it's mysteries. I cannot. If you ask if I truly follow the lenten season, I try to, but my cravings for meat sometimes overpower me, and sad to say I falter and just dust it off. Is it an aspect of discipline or lack of strong grounds on which to act my disciplinary measures? Do I honestly listen and internalize the homilies? Even at that aspect, it depends if the priest is a good speaker. Everything has a condition. Everything has an excuse. Everything has to be at our own discretion. That is why I say that our religion is one of the most lenient in the world. That is why I applaud some friends, particularly my Indonesian friends, that do not hold religion as something negotiable. They are not puppets of religion, but they 'live' their religion.
Therefore I celebrate with them. Of their commitment and living the religion they have without seeking and adhering to customization. And most importantly strictly following Fasting, which I would have to admit, only exists on an imaginary plane in my life.