Starvation Doesn’t Make Vapid Holier

“Moralists are one in maintaining that a natural law inculcates the necessity of fasting because every rational creature is bound to labour intelligently for the subjugation of concupiscence.” – The Catholic Encyclopedia

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I cannot be more appreciative of the ritual Catholic Calendar, being oblivious to it; thus, I fail to see why meat should be proscribed on Fridays. It could have easily been a Thursday. Or could have been oysters.

In a country where pomp and pageantry overrule defiant quiet common sense, the more public the show of faith, the greater you possess of it. It is not even blinding, tacit obedience to illogical rules that shake the holy patriarchy. In most aspects such slavishness is preferred; in the avenues of pulpit and sermon, loudly lauded, much extolled.

In an ironic confluence of dislikes, what frightens the robed male Mafia, and fills the non-, ex-, semi-believer with distaste, is lip service. Conformity to the norms of faith for the convenience of generality and acceptance. The zealot is disgusted with easy-going practices; the atheist is darkly amused with the pretense to depth.

In what order of magnitude does restraining yourself from tasting your morning habit of 150-peso grande mocha frappuccino approximate the hunger pangs of a family living below the poverty line?

Consider yourself lucky to be able to give up your customary macarons / ramen / rock salt milk tea for an arbitrary number of days for an arbitrary period. When Aling Berma from the creekside slum decides to give up a morsel of dried fish for daily sustenance, then where does that leave us in the moral comeuppance-stakes?

Rock-bottom.

But then, for a pious Catholic, Lenten sacrifice is not a bevy of underweight models on the run up to Fashion Week, right? The magnitude of your forced anorexia is not what you are measured up against. Rather, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Is the undercurrent of our fleeting thought self-examined enough, to matter, and then to hurt?

Stop shitting yourself with your feel-good mantra and dig deeper for your motivations.

My diabetic coma from Royce and Patchi withdrawal does not come close to approximating the thirst for meager nourishment the majority of Catholic Filipinos have.

Whipping your back with flinty nine-o-tails is a barbaric holdover from the ages when the Church valued the solemnity of corporal punishment. Is that what I am proposing this vapid generation of ours do? But no, we don’t encourage physical distress as a path to holiness anymore, riiiiiiiight?

What is with the pageantry of sacrifice that we decide on what, and how, when prompted with the methodical arrival of the season? A season which, for all intents and purposes, might not have counted the same dates millennia before today? And with abstinence you dare plead authenticity?

There can be no more authenticity of sacrifice than scrabbling for your lot in life as honestly and as deeply as you can.

Before Lent, after Ramadan, during Hanukkah… The entire frickin’ time.

The ultimate creature comfort that we haves cannot give up for Lent is the implicit choice of choice. The opportunity of choosing which among our unconscious privileges to give up momentarily.

Without an understanding of our privileged starting points, our choices of luxuries to sacrifice, by the very virtue of having them, patronize those who do. Not. Have. A. Choice.

Not in 40 days. Not in 40 years.

So, planning on giving up Twitter and Instagram for Lent? Don’t even fucking kid yourself.

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