Never in my whole life that I have seen and participated in a such procession. Well, Quiapo is one of the exceptions. Cantillana is a small village under the province of Seville, its just a few kilometers away from the city urbs. It’s patroness is the Our lady of the assumption. I happened to be there on the feast of our lady with one Indian, one of Burkina Faso, and one Spaniard. The procession started at 9 pm from the church. the carosa is well adorned with flowers, gold and silver plated wood carvings. The carosa was carried by 40 persons and I imagine the weight of it that’s why it takes 9 hours to do the procession in the small village as it is. The church was flocked with a lot of young men and women and also those who are strong enough to be pushed and not to be knocked out by the growing faithful. As the procession moves on little by little, the people shouts: viva la virgen! gwapa! gwapa! viva dios! viva la virgen de Asuncion! etc. People from their balcony throw petals of red roses. Some pray and show gestures of kisses and adoration, and some men as they are, cry as the image of their beautiful mother passes their balcony or at their sight.
But why did they cry? What made them cry? What was their true feeling? Were they true catholics? Do they also cry for those who suffer everyday of hunger, war, maltreatment, injustices, etc? How much do they spend for these feasts compared to the alms and aid for the poor, the sick and the immigrants whom I have seen and been with here in Spain? Are they expressing true faith, true love for My Mother? Do they also believe in the Son? These were the questions that roamed around my mind at that time. Am I seeing true faith or am I seeing just a usual tradition that had been there through hundreds of years? Who am I to judge whether its true faith or not? And besides how do we measure faith? Who measures faith, isn’t god alone and not man? To measure a tradition, we look at the history. But to measure faith? only God knows what’s in every heart of every human being.
Tradition makes faith strong, builds up the faith. And faith grows and dies through tradition. Tradition enriches through time and faith is always there at all times in different manners, in different ways, expressed in different traditions. They say that the church now a days lacks faith, but are we saying this because we are losing tradition, losing the old ways to express the faith, or because the young generation of today do not do the same old ways that our ancestors had been doing to transmit and express their faith before? The church renews, rebuilds. Speaking church here, i dont refer to the hierarchy but the whole church, the congregation of the faithful. If the world changes, grows, moves on – so should we, so should the church be in its views, in its traditions, in its expression of its faith. After all if we bracket everything there is, well get back into the basics – you and I as the church should reflect as a sacrament of LOVE, a reflection of God who is love, a reflection of Christ’s love, of the love of the Father, of the presence of the Spirit that continually renews the face of the earth.
Let’s not be afraid to change, to accept changes in our churches; to love rather than to destroy and sacrifice lives for the sake of keeping the tradition; to live with a broken-patched-heart rather than to die with a heart of stone. All that God asks us is to love just as he loves us. This had always been the dream of God, the desire of the Father that up to now, we struggle to realize. Shouldn’t we start renewing our lives now? Shouldn’t we start loving our neighbors from this time on, now that we have all the time to do so?