Dawn Masses

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - December 17, 2020 - 12:00am

The dawn masses are the longest and one of the most important religious celebrations of Filipino Christians for centuries. Its liturgical meaning comes from the Advent season, which is the time of spiritual preparation and purification to welcome and receive Christ Jesus in our midst with reverence. But this vital preparation has reached to a more personal level as it offers a means for others to ask for favors, this after the nine-day masses have been completed, which requires quite a high amount of sacrifice especially in this time of the pandemic.

For others it takes immense sacrifice to wake up at dawn only to hear the mass and complete the entire nine-day mass leading to Christmas. This is in addition to the uncertainty that we may have a seat within the church as the number of participants is set to a minimum limit only to ensure that the health protocols are still being followed. And for one who is not used to waking up so early would need to recalibrate one’s body clock. And for one who has favors to ask, it is believed to be granted after it.


It is as if, because of the sacrifices made, one should expect anything to be given. Like a promise after one has suffered along the way that must be fulfilled.

We have experienced unfulfilled promises, in many instances and ways, from others, including even from our close friends and relatives. Promise to pay debt, promise for a meeting, promise for marriage after years of being together, promise to come home, and many others.

We are grateful for every realization of a promise and frustration or disappointment for every failed promise. And as humans, we tend not to trust the person who made the promise.

But our God is not a god with promises which have been broken. He finds ways in which His promises will be made in due time. His biggest promise came when Jesus Christ was sent to save humanity. Often when we feel like He did not hear us, we may have lost our trust in Him, but we only need the best choice and plan that He made for us. It is not our moment, it's His time. It is not our plan, but His, for our goodness and prosperity. It may not be exactly what we are looking for, but it is going to be offered in a different and perfect way.

Attending masses very early in the day teaches us, above all else to put our Creator first. Despite the pandemic, we celebrate His goodness for the positive things that we have: good health, caring family and employment. We thank Him for our salvation.

Attending the dawn masses essentially calls for willingness, dedication, sacrifice and faith. If no other external forces prod us to do so it is willingness. When we believe that success outweighs the challenges we have encountered, it is willingness. When we focus on completing what is the end of all these, it is determination. No amount of trials can block or deter us from doing what we really desire, there is sacrifice. And when we earnestly believe that something great is on our way, there is deep faith.

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