The pandemic has definitely changed the lifestyles and routines of people across the world. In the Philippines, people strive to embrace these changes imposed by the “new normal.” These include the way we celebrate significant occasions that have been part of our culture and traditions.
Apart from Christmas, the Lenten season is an important religious observance for Filipinos. It is an opportune time to uphold spiritual renewal to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives. Likewise, it is the opportunity to strengthen our faith through prayers, fasting, almsgiving, and our love for our fellows in the community.
Last year, people have experienced an unusual observance of Lent due to implemented restrictions of the community quarantine. Grandiose traditional activities, mass gatherings, solemn processions, and elaborate liturgy inside churches were all set aside to prioritize people’s health and safety. But with the crisis still gripping the nation, the conduct of these customary undertakings done for the observance of Lent this year may still need to adhere to minimum health standards and protocols. Nonetheless, the power of technology, particularly the internet, has been instrumental for the commemoration of this holy season to remain purposeful.
Prior to the pandemic, fasting from the internet or other forms of technology has become widespread. Many religious leaders and devout Christians have encouraged the public to fast from technology as an ideal approach to reflect on their reliance on technology even just for Lent.
However, when the world was struck by the pandemic and everyone was made to stay indoors, people realized that the internet can be a tool to deepen one’s faith, and an innovative means to redirect on core family values.
Reflection through Connection
Here are some ways that the internet can help us appreciate the true spirit of Lent and still make meaningful memories while staying at home.
1. Prayer and Reflection Apps.
The internet is a haven of prayer and reflection applications that can guide us as we observe the Lenten season. Several apps can be accessed and downloaded on our mobile devices and gadgets for free. Through these apps, people can read, listen, and contemplate on inspirational and uplifting passages and verses from the Sacred Scripture. Some even have special features that provide beautiful reading and listening experiences, which can be shared with closest friends who are connected online. Other apps also allow us to generate and share inspirational Bible art to express our creativity.
2. Family Movies for Holy Week.
The Holy Week is not just a time for prayer, reflection, and meditation; it is also a chance to spend quality time with the family. Be it on Youtube, Netflix, or Amazon, watching films can be an amazing way to bring the family together, and a great opportunity for children to understand intricate life concepts. The Lenten season is a remarkable time to do both of these things. With just a TV set and high speed internet, viewing movies with the whole family can definitely strengthen bonds and promote togetherness. All you have to do is prepare a tub of popcorn or pints of ice cream.
3. Cooking Time with the Family
Lent is the time for fasting and abstinence. But Lenten abstinence does not have to mean bland and flavorless food. This can be an opportunity for the family members to learn and whip up nutritious recipes that can be consumed during Lent, and spend quality time together in the kitchen. Probably, a delicious Lenten egg dish; a tasty fish or shellfish recipe; a delectable macaroni and cheese meal; or a new twist to a viand of mixed vegetables, all of which can be searched from various cooking websites, can make you endure a week without meat.
4. Virtual Visita Iglesia
Visita Iglesia has been one of the traditions practiced by millions of Filipinos during Holy Week before the pandemic began. But due to restrictions in people’s movements and non-essential travels, it may be quite difficult to physically visit churches in your Visita Iglesia itinerary. As an alternative, you can visit the grand and magnificent churches in the country through Google Maps, or tune in to online Visita Iglesia activities spearheaded by various parishes and religious organizations, to fulfill your religious obligations without having to worry about wearing a mask and face shield or social distancing.
5. Online Retreats and Recollections.
When lockdowns were implemented last year, some religious organizations have already spearheaded online retreats and recollections for young people to join in. Utilizing various online platforms, these retreats, that may begin on Ash Wednesday and continue through the Holy Week, provide opportunities for spiritual renewal, through inspirational prayers and reflections.
6. 40 Days Meditation.
As Lent is the time for spiritual introspections, online platforms such as social media sites can prove valuable for people to share visual meditations and stirring quotes. With all your file photographs or images that you have taken from past happenings, these can go along with Bible passages that are worth sharing online. Posting these daily images for the community to see will entice people to assimilate technology to support their spiritual nourishment.
7. Digital Donations.
In these trying times, we need to remember that the fundamental tenet of our faith is giving graciously to the less fortunate. Numerous online platforms have established digital avenues so people can contribute to a good cause and afford assistance to the beneficiaries of charitable institutions, non-government organizations, and faith-based groups. With just a few taps on your device, you can already provide support to people in need, and at least make their lives a little better.
The Lenten season is a great time to make use of digital resources and incorporate these into deepening our devotion and shaping our spiritual development. In the way we do things today, fast and reliable internet connection is essential to get by. Premium fiber internet connection and services at affordable prices are “a-must” if you are to conduct these meaningful endeavors during Lent. Remember – the faster the download and upload speeds are, the easier it is to stream videos or check your prayer apps daily. Subscribe to Streamtech now and enjoy upgraded internet experience and enhanced connectivity!
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