Thursday, July 28, 2011

Popular Spirituality as Cultural Energy

This essay by Paring Bert Alejo is refreshing in the way it articulates and clarifies, for me, the language of popular spirituality among the Filipinos especially of the masa/common folks. I find it interesting that the official church (Catholic) often deems this language as mere resistance against the church's dominant practices when in fact, as Fr. Alejo says, it is cultural energy that challenges our vocabularies of power.


...When Our Lady of Pe├▒afrancia is processed, the whole Naga City comes
alive in a colorful devotion. And yet, nothing of this spirit occupies a page in our religious
instruction. In the seminary, we mouth all this rationalist Cogito, I think therefore I am. But
there could be other approaches to existence: I dance, therefore I am. We dance, therefore, we collectively exist and live as Christians. We wear colorful hats, therefore, we are alive in our faith. We shake our bodies, we sweat, and we feel the hurt and we feel the healing, and that is how we experience the Divine. My mother would always tell me, when you come back here, please bring lana or oil for my aching back, yung bendisyunan mo, ( Being blessed) etc. Many of us have been healed in this kind of spirituality but we have been de-inculturated by our own convents or seminary, by our formators and formation programs.

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