Thursday, December 6, 2007


KUMPISALANG BAYAN (KB). Last night was the scheduled mass confession set as preparation for the parishioners in our community for the Advent season. The Tagalog word “kumpisal” means to confess and “bayan”, a collective group of people of a land. Villagers of the parish are all invited and encouraged to participate. Customarily, one from the Catholic flock can do so without actually waiting for this event. This is an opportune time though to most of us.

So there were priests invited to come from different pulpits. They were in all corners and everywhere inside the church, with some , even positioned in the periphery of the church. The goal is to render confession to a wide number of the parish. Hence the name KUMPISALANG BAYAN . We have the option of course to choose among the priests available to hear our sins, venial or otherwise.

I contemplated on the thought to go submit myself under the religious scrutiny of our very own parish priest. The line to him was so short, enticing me more to pick him out among the rest of the holy men. But he knows me! And that‘s a disconcerting thought. And so I optioned myself out from him managing to entertain myself with what is there to observe . And luckily, to seriously ponder on what sins to divulge and keep. I still prefer the protection that the archaic confession box offers. The KB is a vis-to-vis encounter with you and the priest seated next to each other. No glass paneled walls, no doors --none of the partition you would deluxe yourself in.

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THE ART OF CONFESSION. A few pensive minutes and I was resolved to see that particular pious man on white cassock situated on the left most corner outside of the church. The line was long and it would take me 10-12 co sinners more of about 15-20 minutes each before my cue. He doesn’t know me and I don’t know him either. Perfect. That was comforting**smiles**. A little (?) bit impatient that I am, I still looked around surveying how long the lines were with the other priests, expectant that theirs were shorter than where I was waiting. Whoa. How many sins can humanity harbor in their hearts? Perhaps, this was also the fit time God conveyed His messianic message to me – "PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE, My daughter". Absolution after absolution, I waited for my time to be roasted. Shall I (a) look straight to his eyes as I give him an inventory of my bad deed/s ;( b) give him a list, bullet type, to tick ; and (c) tell him as it is whilst I avoid the exchange of the usual glances ? Hmm, I ‘d like the last one. My turn came and it was a good 5-7 minutes. That quick? I told you, I STILL am fixed on that sacrosanct refuge, the confession box.

Relieved though, done with what I must do.

My son also had the opportunity to confess. While he was in the process of doing so, I allowed myself to think how famished must these pious men be with all that they had to patiently hear. After my son’s turn, he recounts that the priest managed to grin when he told him one of his sins - that he can be extremely racial, particularly with two races. What particular races ? I knew of this long before and I intend to keep it. I am also, not only partial, but absolutely detesting anything concerning one of those particular races . Another of his funny anecdotes was asking the priest to pardon him for all of the sins he committed that he might have forgotten. Arrgh, son is better than mother. I’d choose to forget my sins. Waaah. KIDDING. But I probably failed to recall everything? Hmm. Ah--I am finished with my confession and I WAS and am heartily sorry for my sins **smiles**. My son was absolved, of course, and was given the proverbial 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys just like what I was given for penance. I wonder though if the priest was also racial to any or both of these two particular races - why the unexpected grin? God, have mercy on my musings.

All together, the KB was good. I have to be strong enough not to give in to my sometimes ill will to make it till Christmas---and hopefully beyond the yuletide season. Holy? Chaste? Pure? Far from being venerated but reasonably sane enough to know the basic right and wrong- or do I? I really do and constantly trying.

Thank you , Father God, for this opportunity. The last confession was months ago, weeks before the Holy Week. Help me be better. I try to be, all the time.

And as for that one sin I specially kept, I intend to reveal that to another revered man in white who holds confession in a confession box.

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KUMPISALANG BAYAN- a wonderful thoroughfare to reminisce and be sincerely contrite with what you have been up to in this mad world.