Saturday, October 31, 2015

On Halloween, Paranormal & the Occult

We are celebrating once again the Feast of All Saints and All Souls in our liturgical calendar - members of the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering, who along with all the faithful on earth (the Church Militant), comprise the Mystical Body of Christ. It's also that time of the year when we troop to the cemeteries to pray (hopefully) for our dearly departed loved ones. Unfortunately, this is also an occasion for many of us to attend Halloween parties, go trick or treating, ghost haunting, dressing up as ghouls and goblins to scare other people and all sorts of foolish activities that betray the true meaning of this solemn occasion. Maybe it's about time to grow up and let go of all these pagan practices and beliefs, shall we?

About a month ago, we were fortunate to have Fr. Jeffrey Quintela, exorcist priest of the Diocese of Antipolo, deliver a talk on spiritual warfare. In that talk, he shared the 5 R's of Spiritual Healing & Liberation and I want to share with you those insights that will help us to become better equipped in fighting the good fight and growing our faith as true Catholic Christians.


Nowadays, numerous occult and new age practices have become 'mainstream' practice and are unknowingly accepted and practiced by many of us - horoscopes, astrology, feng shui, consulting fortune tellers and tarot card readers, superstitious beliefs - and we think they are okay. We must remind ourselves that these practices directly violate the First Commandment, which states that we should have no other god besides the One True God. To adore the Lord your God and worship Him alone, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, means "to adore God as the Lord of everything that exists; to render to Him the individual and community worship which is His due; to pray to him with sentiments of praise, of thanks and of supplication; to offer Him sacrifices, above all the spiritual sacrifice of one's own life, united with the perfect sacrifice of Christ; and to keep the promises and vows made to him."

Having said that, it is now clear why resorting to occult and new age practices takes away from God the honor and homage that is due Him by us seeking a different path and attempting to manipulate the unknown (i.e., occult) in order to gain some benefit from it. On a personal level, I was drawn to these practices when I was younger. I was particularly fond of feng shui and bought books on mind control. I thought then than if I could harness the 'yin' and 'yang' forces and master the principles of feng shui, then I would attract wealth and prosperity. Same principle goes with mind control. By altering and enhancing my psychic and mental powers, I can attract good fortune and everything that my heart desires. I also got drawn in reading vampire novels and Harry Potter books not knowing that these things take me farther and farther away from the practice of my Catholic faith. Right now, I'm still in the process of disposing these new age books by burning them. I cannot just throw them away or donate them somewhere because others might pick them. This is my personal way of renouncing these practices and I also invite you to examine in what way you have let yourself be involved in occult and new age practices, knowingly or unknowingly, and start renouncing them.

To give you a guide on how to go about this, I am posting here a simple step by step process on how you can begin this process of renunciation. I have personally obtained this straight from the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism. Here are the steps:

Steps in Renunciation

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any occult contacts. Take note of any activity that you have practiced. Write down ALL the activities listed below that you have deliberately or innocently, seriously or playfully believed in/participated in/been involved in/consulted or been a part of in any way.

2. In front of the Blessed Sacrament, repent for all your occult involvement and do Steps 3 to 5 below.

3. Prayerfully say, “In Jesus’ name, I renounce practicing/believing in/participating in/involvement in [name the occult sin you committed (see list below)”. Do this 3x for each occult contact, that is, each item you listed below. This must be done three times for each sin, which represents a three-fold act of reparation for the offense committed against the Most Blessed Trinity.

4. Repent fully and ask for forgiveness by praying “I repent and ask to be forgiven.”

5. Re-commit and proclaim Jesus as your only Savior and Lord praying “and, I ask You, Jesus Christ to be my only Lord and Savior.”

Comprehensive List of New Age and Occult Practices

1. Witchcraft, Sorcery, Wicca, casting spells/curses like evil eye, gayuma, barang, kulam, love potions & spells.
2. Voodoo, Santeria, Macumba (black witchcraft), Sufism and other forms of local witchcraft.
3. Consulting “albularyo”, “mangkukulam”, “mangbabarang”, “mangtatawas”, “Curaderos”, “manghihilot”, cult herbalist, cult groups.
4. Magic.
5. Developing psychic powers, opening third eye.
6. Power of the mind, science of the mind, Mind Control Programs – Silva Mind Control Program, mood-altering programs, ESP, cognition.
7. Psychic and aura readings.
8. Reading new age books such as Gnostic gospels, Bible codes, Celestine prophecy, and alternative religions.
9. Reincarnation and past life readings.
10. Superstitious beliefs and rituals.
11. Satanism, Satanic rituals, Luciferianism, Diabolism.
12. Satanic Bible or material.
13. Foretelling, fortune telling.
14. Card reading, Tarot card reading.
15. Crystal ball or crystal gazing, scrying.
16. Palm reading, palmistry, Kudlit.
17. Oracles.
18. Casting or reading of omens and/or lots, tea leaf reading, reading of animal body parts.
19. Horoscopes and astrology.
20. Feng shui, Geomancy, Cleromancy, Pyromancy, Hydromancy, Lithomancy, Ceromancy, Aeromancy, and similar rituals.
21. Numerology.
22. Enneagram.
23. Divination using rod and pendulum, water divining – for finding water, treasure, etc.
24. Automatic hand writing or spirit writing.
25. Astral travel/projection, remote viewing.
26. Trance channeling, mediumship.
27. Consulting spirit guides, familiar spirits, guardian spirits, ancestral spirits, nature spirits (like fairies, dwarves, other elementals).
28. Shamanism, espiritista.
29. Soul attachments – Ascendant Masters.
30. Seances, spiritism, necromancy (communicating or calling spirits of the dead), spirit questing, ghost hunting, spirit photography, ancestral worship.
31. Ouija Board, Spirit of the Glass/coin/paper, pendulums.
32. Oracion – magical incantations.
33. Banishing/cleansing of spirits using non-Catholic rituals and practices.
34. Animism and paganism – worship of nature.
35. Offering to Idols and other similar rituals – food offering, animal sacrifice, bloodletting, blood offering.
36. Psychic Healing, Reiki, Crystal Healing, Faith Healing, Pranic Healing, Trance Healing, Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism, Energy Healing, Traditional Healing Practices, Asian/Eastern Healing techniques and practices, Non-Scientific Healing, Alternative Medicine Practices and Techniques (not science based).
37. Pyramid power and similar types of practices.
38. Amulets & talismans – anting-anting, lucky charms.
39. Heavy metal music, death metal music, obscene, sexually explicit, violent or disturbing music.
40. Satanic PC games, demonic role playing games, games involving elementals and demons such as Dungeons and Dragons, spell craft, etc.; extremely violent or depicts sexual themes not in accord with Church teachings.
41. Secret oaths to pagan gods as part of initiation ceremony into organization, fraternities, sororities, and other organization which practice these ceremonies.
42. Pacts with Satan, ghosts, elementals, nature spirits, other deities, and pagan gods.
43. Transcendental Meditation or other Eastern Meditation techniques.
44. Esotericism.
45. Freemasonry and other secret societies and their organizations – sororities, fraternities.
46. Involvement in cults, group sex/orgies.
47. Rosicrucian, Scientology, Theosophy, Kaballah.
48. Edgar Cayce’s teachings and readings.
49. False mysticism, consulting angels, angel hosting.
50. Core energy or manipulation of energies.
51. False apparitions.
52. Syncretism – mixing beliefs of other religions.
53. Non-catholic worship, worship at pagan shrines.
54. Engaging in martial arts philosophies and teachings.


After having renounced the abovementioned practices, we need to renew our commitment to the Lord and strive to live a life of grace. Depending on how deep is your involvement in these occult practices, some people might face struggles and challenges along the way, but it is important to always remember that everything starts with your personal decision to turn away from evil and return to God. Like the prodigal son in the Gospel, our motives for returning back to God may not be that perfect but nevertheless God will still accept us and restore us back to our dignity as his beloved sons and daughters.

Renewal of one's faith means renewing one's baptismal promises, embracing our Catholic faith, beliefs, and practices like visiting the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary and novenas, reading the Scripture and the lives of saints, performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, mortifications, fasting and abstinence especially during Lent, growing in virtues, doing acts of piety, etc.


Reception pertains to receiving the sacraments worthily, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession and the Holy Eucharist. I cannot emphasize enough how important the Sacraments are in helping us live a life of grace. The Sacraments strengthen us spiritually, giving us the means to grow in holiness and virtue. There are great guides on how to make a good confession online. Make it a point to confess at least once a month and make it always a good one. The important thing to note here is that you must not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist if you are conscious of unconfessed grave sins. You must have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance FIRST before receiving Holy Communion. This does not mean though that since you are guilty of some particular grave sin and have no immediate access to the sacrament of Confession that you will omit going to Mass altogether. No! Not attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation without sufficient excuse is itself a mortal sin. If you have committed a mortal sin and have no means to confess it at the moment, you must still attend the Holy Mass; just do not receive Holy Communion. In its place, spiritually unite yourself to our Lord and ask for the grace to overcome your weaknesses. It is lamentable nowadays to see people approach Holy Communion without sufficiently examining themselves if they are worthy to receive Him, i.e., in a state of grace. Only those who are in the state of grace CAN receive Holy Communion and please do not receive communion in the hand. Show Jesus the utmost respect and reverence He rightfully deserves. Always receive Him on the tongue and with the proper interior disposition. Realize Who it is you are receiving - the King of Heaven, the Son of God, Redeemer of the world, the Holy of Holies.


Recitation means the set of prayers that one should recite every single day. From this point onward, prayer must become an important activity in your day-to-day life. These prayers may include prayers to the Blessed Trinity, Protection/Cleansing prayer, Marian prayers (rosary, etc.), Prayers to the Saints, and Angelic Prayers like the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer. I want to share some of these prayers that were recommended to me to pray every single day.

Prayer for Protection

Lord Jesus, I ask You to protect my family (mention by name) from sickness, from all harm and from accidents. If any of us has been subjected to any curses, hexes or spells, I declare these curses, hexes or spells null and void in the Name of Jesus Christ. If any evil spirits have been sent against us, I decommission you in the Name of Jesus Christ and I send you to Jesus to deal with as He will. Then, Lord, I ask You to send Your holy angels to guard and protect all of us. Amen.


August Queen of Angels

On the 13th of January 1863, a soul accustomed to receiving favors from the Virgin Mary was suddenly struck by a ray of divine light. She believed that she saw demons, throwing themselves upon the earth, causing ruins and incredible massacres. At the same time the Holy Virgin appeared, saying that demons had indeed broken loose in the world and the time had come to invoke her as Queen of Angels and to ask her to send legions of angels  to combat and annihilate the powers of hell.  The soul addressed the Virgin with the following words: "O my Mother, you who are so good, could you not send your angels without us having to ask you?" "No," the Virgin replied, "prayer is a condition established by God Himself to obtain graces." "Then, Mother," said the soul, "would you like to teach us how we should pray to you?" And the Most Holy Virgin dictated this prayer to her: "O august Queen..."

O august Queen and Our Lady of Angels,
who received from God the power and mission
of crushing the head of Satan,
we humbly beg you to send us heavenly legions,
with St. Michael the Archangel as head
so that under your orders
they may chase the demons,
combat them everywhere,
repress their boldness, 
and drive them back into the abyss.

"Who is like God?"
O good and tender Mother,
you shall always be our love and our hope.
O Divine Mother,
send your Holy Angels to defend us,
and to drive away from us the cruel enemy.
Holy Angels and Archangels,
defend us and guard us.


Prayer to St. Michael
(This powerful prayer should be prayed frequently and from the heart. St. Michael the Archangel has great power against the fallen angels for He defended the honor of God and defeated Lucifer when he revolted against the Most High.)

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protector against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Last but not the least is reconciliation or forgiveness - towards our brethren and with oneself. Fr. Quintela during the talk succinctly reminded us that forgiveness is a "Gospel mandate", that to forgive seventy times seven is a direct command from Christ Himself and not merely a suggestion. As difficult as it may seem it makes perfect sense. We sinners offend God on a daily basis but God in His great mercy almost always forgives us, and so we ought to extend the same thing to others. It's interesting to note that forgiving is one of the spiritual acts of mercy. When we forgive, we perform an act of mercy towards others that in turn benefit us spiritually in that forgiveness liberates us from hatred, bitterness, and all the negative emotions associated with holding grudges against others. 


Lastly, I highly encourage everyone to grab a copy of the books of Fr. Jocis Syquia, director of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, whose photo appears above. The books are entitled Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult Second Edition and Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines Volume Two. These books are a treasure when it comes to this topic and who else is more qualified to write on these matters than the chief exorcist of Manila himself. You can buy these books in all St. Paul's Bookstores in major shopping malls nationwide. To give you a sneak peek on what is inside each book, here are the table of contents:

Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult


1. The Church and the Devil

2. The Parapsychological Dimension

3. Catholicism and Philippine Folk Religiosity

4. The Secrets of the New Age Movement: Notebook 1

5. The Secrets of the New Age Movement Notebook 2

6. Foundations

7. Ministering to Those under Extraordinary Demonic Assault

8. Confrontation between God and the Devil

9. The Catholic in the Midst of Love and War

10. The Scars of Battle

11. The Defensive Armor and Offensive Weapons

12. The Exorcist

13. Haunted Houses: Notebook 1

14. Haunted Houses: Notebook 2

Conclusion: Only Jesus and Always Jesus

Appendix A: More on Philippine Folk Religiosity

Appendix B: Personal Spiritual Warfare

Appendix C: A Concise Handbook on Exorcism and Deliverance

Appendix D: A Pastoral Approach to Infested Homes

Appendix E: How to Handle an Emergency Case of Grave Oppression and Possession

Appendix F: Rules from the Roman Ritual of Exorcism



Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines Volume Two


Part I: Mama Mary

Chapter I: Our Mother

Chapter II: Mama Mary and the War for Souls

Chapter III: Stories of Mama Mary

Chapter IV: Stories of the Rosary

Part II: The Saints

Chapter V: The Great Battle of the Church Begins

Chapter VI: The Saints of the Early Church and the Devil - Paganism/Animism

Chapter VII: The Saints of the Early Church and the Devil - Extraordinary Attack

Chapter VIII: More Stories from the Lives of the Saints

Chapter IX: Spiritual Warfare Notebook 1 - Spiritual Combat

Chapter X: Spiritual Warfare Notebook 2 - The Spiritual Knight

Part III: Angels and Demons

Chapter XI: A Short Treatise on the Angels

Chapter XII: Demonology 1

Chapter XIII: Demonology 2

Chapter XIV: True Stories from the Vatican and Italian Exorcists

Chapter XV: From the Mouths of Demons

Conclusion: Heaven

Appendix A: Is There Such a Thing as "Wandering Souls"?

Appendix B: St. Thomas Aquinas on the Occult

Appendix C: An Exorcist Speaks about the Final Battle and Its Aftermath

Appendix D: Interview with Fr. Gabriele Amorth

Appendix E: Manual of Prayers

I. Marian Prayers
II. Angel Prayers
III. Prayer to the Saints

Recommended Reading and Resources


About Fr. Jocis Syquia

FR. JOSE FRANCISCO 'JOCIS' SYQUIA hails from a wealthy family. The second to the eldest son of the late ambassador Enrique Syquia and his wife, Leticia, he and his four brothers grew up in North Forbes Park, Makati City.

After graduating from college in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Fr. Jocis entered the seminary in 1989 and completed his training from both San Carlos Major Seminary in Makati City and the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Theology from the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties and a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Angelicum in Rome. He finished both courses with magna cum laude honors. He also has a Master's degree in Psychology from the UST Graduate School.

Fr. Jocis is the Head of the Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena for the Archdiocese of Manila. He is the Director of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, an exorcist of Manila for ten years now, and a member of the International Association of Exorcists based in Rome. He completed the Vatican Course on Exorcism and Deliverance at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University. He is the author of the bestselling book Exorcism - Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult (Shepherd's Voice Publications) and Exorcist - A Spiritual Journey, the first of the three volumes published by ST PAULS. He is also a full-time formator, spiritual director, and professor of spirituality and psychology at the San Carlos Major Seminary.



There is a spiritual warfare going on around us - good versus evil - and we are caught up in this battle whether we are aware of it or not. There is a battle raging on for souls. On one hand God with all the angels and saints cheer us and encourage us to fight the good fight, to do good and be faithful to the commandments and the Gospel and on the other side is Satan with all his fallen angels trying their best to tempt and seduce us to disobey God and commit sins. In the middle of this tug of war is us. We are the booty. In the end, we are all going to end up in either heaven or hell and our final lot in eternity will be determined by our own free choice. I do hope and pray that we will pick the right choice no matter how difficult it may seem and that choice is to obey and love God.

I hope you find this blog post helpful. Do you have personal issues you want to consult regarding demonic possessions and paranormal activities? You can send an e-mail to the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism at Just state your case in your e-mail and wait for their reply. Once they have reviewed your case, the exorcism team will reply to you to schedule you for a personal interview.

Credits: Protection Prayer and Prayer to St. Michael taken from the book Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult; August Queen of Angels taken from Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines Volume Two 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

OUT: A Forum on Understanding Identity and Homosexuality

I am inviting everyone who might be interested to attend this forum on homosexuality sponsored by Bagong Pagasa, a Christian support group like Courage for persons struggling with same sex attractions. Learn, ask questions, and gain valuable insights on this important issue.

Greetings from Bagong Pag-asa!

We would like to invite you to our upcoming forum entitled “Out: A Forum on Understanding Sexual Identity and Homosexuality”. This will be on November 14, 2015 and will be held from 2-5 p.m. at The Heritage Center, 28th Floor, Units 2806-2808, Raffles Corporate Centre, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Brgy. San Antonio, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Forum topics covered will be: ”What Is Homosexuality?”, “Why do we reach out to homosexuals?”, and “How do we reach out to homosexuals?”. The speakers will be Howard Hervey, current Director of New Hope Ministries USA and Rev. Bayani Esguerra, Board Chairman of Bagong Pag-asa. There will be a registration Fee of P200.00 which includes snacks. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required to confirm since slots are limited.

Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from speakers from New Hope USA. Please help us reach out to others who might be interested by promoting the forum in your network or by liking and sharing our FB page:

For reservations and inquiries, please contact 886-4441; 0927-5788373 or email

Thank you and God bless!


John Zulueta
Executive Director

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Real Love Revolution 2015

Discover the true meaning of love at Real Love Revolution 2015!

Real Love Revolution is a chastity conference aimed to inform and inspire people on the value of purity in real, genuine love. Over 31,000 individuals have witnessed this life-changing experience for the past three years.


Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd experienced a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000 and afterward committed himself to inviting others others to know Jesus Christ and the Church Christ founded. As a missionary, Matt proclaims the Gospel to thousands of teens and young adults. He is a Catholic apologist and speaker, a loving husband and father of four. He lives in North Georgia. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, studying philosophy, going out on date nights with his beautiful wife and wrestling with his kids on bed (still undefeated).

Sarah Swafford

Sarah Swafford is the founder of Emotional Virtue Ministries. She speaks to people of all ages on various topics such as emotional virtue, relationships, modesty of intentions, and interior confidence. Sarah shares her message at school assemblies, retreats, rallies, and conferences across the country and is the author of Emotional Virtue: A Guide to Drama-Free Relationships. She has appeared on EWTN’s Life on the Rock, EWTN Live, is co-host of the show, “At the Heart of Relationships,” and has been featured in the National Catholic Register. She is a contributor to Chosen, Ascension Press’ confirmation program and YDisciple’s True Beauty; she has also contributed videos for Women Made New. Sarah is a proud team member of Chastity Project and speaks at Steubenville Youth Conferences around the United States and in Canada. Sarah is a loving wife to Dr. Andrew Swafford and their four children.


Date & Venue:

November 7, 2015, Saturday, at the Ynares Sports Complex, Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City.


9 a.m. to 12 noon; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

P600 (Patron), P450 (Gold), P350 (Silver), P250 (Bronze)



Cellphone: 0915-267-8526 c/o Emma Tamayo

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Proof of Identity

Another personal testimony from the President Emeritus of Courage Philippines , Bro. Rollie.

by: Rolando delos Reyes II

All my life I have been trying to prove myself before people. I believe it is more than my homosexual issues, though I also believe that it started there – the moment I began to question why my feelings and attractions are different from my biological sex, that was when I began to question my very identity, the question of who I am, and a huge gaping hole filled my heart.

The Origins in My Family

“Wala kang kamukha sa pamilya mo” [You look like your famiy] commented one of my friends when I introduced my family to her. The comment seems harmless, yet it has cut skin deep. I was born with a cleft palate, and looking at the faces of my immediate family members, I began to question whether I was really part of their clan. I was comforted knowing that on both sides of my father and mother, I had relatives also with a cleft palate. Yet it did not remove my insecurities, since there were cousins and uncles of mine who would tease me about it. Coupled with this, there were times my father was not there to defend me – like when he had to go abroad to work, or when he chose to join a doomsday cult in Palawan who believed the second coming is at hand. Though he eventually came back, during those times, my mother would seek comfort in me as the eldest son, sometimes crying with words like “iniwan tayo ni Papa mo” [Papa left us with you]. So I developed a strong bond with her, even if at times I felt that avoiding things to be lost or broken is more important than me. I noticed that I got noticed when I was "a good boy" and followed her rules. Yet I would have mixed feelings of joy and disgust when she would tell our relatives “etong anak ko laging maaasahan” [my son is always reliable]. With my father, there is a longing to be close as to a stranger; with my mother there is a longing, yet fear, to be detached –The thought of being "a good boy" is born.

Teachers and My Superiors

Growing up, most of my teachers were women, and I held them all in high regard. The good boy in me was primed up by the affirmations I got when I helped them carry their books or do some errands. But there were two incidents when I was falsely accused by them – one was about cheating during examinations, and the other was about stealing money from the Mass collection. Indignant about the seeming injustice that I felt, I vowed that I would be the extreme of what they accused me of – as my mother would put it “ang pinakamasama mong gagawin ay yung magsinungaling”[the worst thing is to just lie]. And so I excelled in both my academics and my conduct grades, and made sure none of my teachers would have anything against me – the thought of being a "perfect performer" is born.

This performance orientation continued throughout my schooling and even when I was already working. So it felt like a dagger in my heart when my rector in the seminary asked me to leave, and in college, I would rather drop my subject than fail it. When I started working in a corporation, I allowed myself to be cursed and shouted by my clients, even if the problem was beyond my control. And there were times that a phone ringing or the approaching tapping sound of my boss’ heeled shoes was enough to make me anxious and afraid of seemingly impending bad news –a thought that I am a big mistake is born.

Where I Belong

I never had a best friend. More accurately, I never had a best friend who would always be there for me. Having had my early education in an all-boys school, most of my classmates and school mates would tease and bully me because of my harelip and my effeminate ways, excluding me during play time, hitting me or playing pranks on me or berating me with foul words until I cried in public. Once in a while there would be this one boy, who would come and make friends with me, but it would only last for that school year, and then he would transfer school or section and he would have his new set of friends. In high school I would be close to a group of effeminate boys like me, yet even though I enjoy their company, there was a thug in my heart that wanted to m'ake friends with the manly kind – but I felt they won’t understand. Even when I came to this Catholic community, I knew they would not understand. But there were two men who dared to try to understand. They included me in their accountability, and slowly I realized that I was also a man. However, when they started to court, and date, and eventually married – I distinctly remembered how I embraced one of them on the eve of his wedding and told him “iiwanan nyo rin pala ako”[leave me as I shovel]. I completely resigned myself to that idea that I shall live and die alone. And so I started preparing for it – getting memorial and pension plans, purchasing a vault in a columbarium, and scribbling my last will and testament – the thought that " I am alone forever" is born.

Even in the State of Sin

“Tutal, eto na ang pananaw sa akin ng lahat, magpapakabakla na lang ako”[after all, here is the point of me, I am just homosexual] – this was my rebellious stand after being subjected to multiple life experiences of rejection. And so I lived the homosexual life to its full bloom – I engaged in romantic and sexual relationships, even if I knew these were fleeting, I joined my friends when they cruised at night or when they would go on a weekend to dress in “drag” behind closed doors, and I had numerous anonymous sexual encounters in movie and bath houses and massage parlours. And the irony of it is that even in the LGBT scene, there exists rejection – that only the beautiful, the toned and muscular, the witty, or the sexually adventurous was accepted. So I survived the gay scene collecting juicy stories of my latest escapades without regard to decency and morality. One night after another juicy encounter, I remarked to a friend “hanggang kalian tayo maggaganito?” – and the silence led me to rethink of my hedonistic behaviour. Coming to terms with my sexual immorality, I was confronted with deep shame that seems irrevocable – I am a boil in the body of Christ, and a cobweb in the house of God – the thought of a "shame-based self" is born.

Myself in Shambles

Like the prodigal son, I began my long journey back to the Father. Healing retreats, prayer partners, books of restoration by Andrew Comiskey, Leanne Payne and John Eldredge, inspiring videos such as The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church and Desire of Everlasting Hills, and personal testimonies from personalities Ansel Beluso, Marwill Llasos and Vins Santiago enabled me to start this journey to change. I joined Catholic communities and became active in support groups that would enable me to face the realities that I have so longed to escape. I began to stop the engine of my sexual and relational addiction, and I am overwhelmed at what I find inside. Coated in layers of shame and self-condemning guilt, I face jets of deep hurts and trauma, bitter roots of judgments and inner vows, and nightmares of my past encounters. There are times that I seemingly repeat my sinful past, and in those times I allowed myself to be used and abused physically and financially. There are times that I presume an upsurge of grace, when I am invited to talk or give witness to an assembly, and in those times I became arrogant like the Pharisees of old that I forget that I am still a sinner and not an ordained saint.

My accountability group noticed my schizophrenic self, and they came and prayed with me. What came out were two false selves that I am trying to reconcile – the image of the forever victim of broken past, and the image of a Messianic future. What they asked me afterwards devastated me – they asked me to lay down both images. Like a bewildered child, I cried out “Sino na ako pag nawala ang mga ito?”[How will I lose them?] They assured me of their prayers, saying that they would rather deal with someone who does not know who he is, than someone who lives a lie through false selves.

The Equation of Identity

A mentor once told me about this equation: Desire + Design = Destiny. The desire is everything that we feel and want and need. The design is everything that God has made us to be. And the combination of what we do with desire and design spells our destiny – of who we would become. Which, between desire and design, is easier to tinker with? Which would have lasting effect when changed? We need to realign our desires, to rediscover our design, in order to rebuild our destiny.

This involves a long, difficult and painful process – likened to peeling an onion, layer upon layer upon layer – tears are unavoidable as raw emotions that was long unrecognized surface. Lenin rightly said “A lie said over and over again becomes the truth”. The lies that I have believed in have to go, in order to unmask my true self. And even as God reveals the truth about who am I, grace is needed for me to trust and believe it. In my long healing journey, God has made known that I am forgiven, I am His beloved, I am not a mistake, I am not just a man, but His knight placed in front of His army – yet even if in my head I appreciate it, in my heart I doubt it. He has brought me back to those traumatic moments of my life and let me see how He was actively present in all of these, yet I still fail to trust Him. My constant prayer is: Lord, help me in my unbelief.

This is why I attribute homosexuality as not only a psycho-emotional and developmental issue, but a spiritual one as well. This is my warning to young people led to believe that being gay is okay. The devil does not want us to know who we are, because as St. Ireneaus said “The glory of God is man fully alive”. He wants us to remain blind to the greatness of our identity in Christ. Yet God desires that we see our worth beyond what we do, and what we have, but in what He has made us to be.

All my life, God has been trying to prove Himself to me. Jesus, help me to trust in You!