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A Time for Pause

We all know that famous creation story which tells us that on the seventh day, after He finished creating the world, God rested. Genesis tells us, “On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.” Think about it. God Almighty, who is all-powerful, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, rested. 


And there is no better time to rest and to take a pause than during Holy Week, a sacred period to many Catholics who are expected to pray and reflect on the profound journey of Jesus’ suffering, sacrifice, and resurrection. The way we commemorate Holy Week has certainly changed in the past few decades. 

I remember when I was a kid Holy Week was deeply introspective and silent. I grew up in Tondo and attended the Jesuit-run Holy Child Catholic School (formerly Tondo Parochial School). There was no cable or streaming service at that time. There were only three TV stations at that time and all of them, including radio stations, go off the air during Holy Week. 

The streets of Tondo which were usually vibrant were empty and quiet. Cutting through this silence were the chants and recitation of the Pasyon, also known as Pabasa. Even if you were not an introspective person you have no choice because there was nothing to do. Over the years, our remembrance of Holy Week has evolved to something less quieter and more, well, secular. 

The Penitensya in which penitents march on the streets while they self-flagellate, has been replaced by millions of Filipinos braving heavy traffic on the expressway on their way to their provinces or their vacation, or joining hordes of travelers in airports and seaports. The ubiquity of cable TV and streaming services has allowed TV marathon or binge-watching to replace the Pabasa. 

In the provinces, and even here in Metro Manila, many families have hung on to tradition joining their families in the Visita Iglesia. But I think one thing should not change with regard to the Holy Week. Whatever we do, wherever we are, we should use this pause to rest, to recharge and reinvigorate ourselves. 


I consider myself a workaholic — I start early and end late. This is mainly because I love what I am doing. I consider myself extremely lucky to have become successful at what I do and actually love and enjoy my “job.” Even if I work seven days a week I do not get exhausted. I have never experienced burn out. That is the case when you love what you do — it ceases to be a job.

But I also understand the value of rest, of taking a breather or taking a pause. Even if I have a whole day of multiple meetings I make it a point to take mini-breaks. Sometimes, I will have coffee and stare at nothing or at the crowds in my malls or the people enjoying their cup of joe in The Coffee Project. Sometimes I will listen to my Spotify playlist or watch some YouTube videos for a while in order to reset.

Rest is important. It clears your mind, restores your energy, renews your vigor and allows you to refocus. There are times when I cannot seem to solve a problem we have no matter how we try. What we will do is take a break. I would take a short walk and more often than not that is enough to give us a new perspective on how to attack a particular issue.

So let us use this Holy Week to rekindle our faith and reflect on the Lord’s sacrifice for humanity. Let us use it to be with family who we may have neglected as we go about our work. Let us use it to focus on ourselves who we may have neglected as we deal with life’s tribulations. Let us use this Holy Week to take a pause and clear our minds. Easter, after all, is a story of love, peace, renewal, and new beginnings.




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar