Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kerygma Fun Run/Feast Schedule

Hey guys, this is still a month away but if you are fond of joining charity fun runs don't miss this one. Proceeds of the run will go a long way to raise funds for the different ministries of Bo Sanchez. Please see poster below for more details.

You may also want to attend the weekly gathering at The Feast in Pasig. Starting May 2, 2010, they will have a new series of talks for six consecutive Sundays entitled A Life of No Regrets, The Joy of Intentional Living.

Talk 1: No Fakes
Talk 2: No Fears
Talk 3: No Indifference
Talk 4: No Rush
Talk 5: No Small Living
Talk 6: No Regrets

When: Every Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Valle Verde Country Club (Beside ULTRA). Contact: 726-8951/726-3929. E-mail:

The main preacher will be Bro. Bo Sanchez himself. You can also watch Kerygma TV every Sunday 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on TV5. Visit Bo's webpage at for more details.

Fun run poster courtesy of Ms. Tess Atienza, editor Kerygma Magazine

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

From the Mailbox

Please Help!

Hi, my name is _____. I am not Catholic, but I am a Methodist whose eyes have wandered too far. I would not consider myself gay, but more bisexual, and I know that I am sinning, and really want to change it, but no matter how much I pray, or do anything, I cannot shake the spirit that is holding its ground deep inside of me. Any help that you have to offer will make me so thankful.

Hi ____!

Thanks for this e-mail. By the way, are you living in the Philippines or in another country? I'm here in Manila, Philippines.

As you may already know, I belong to a support group Courage. Like you, I also felt confused and lost. I figured out I cannot really do this on my own that is why I joined the group. The group has been a great source of help to me both spiritually and emotionally. Being able to share your struggles with other fellow strugglers is a great help.

Prayer is of great necessity in our battle, but I also encourage you to do some work in facing your issues. Same-sex attraction is a very complicated issue. It may help to read books and resources that will facilitate your understanding about the nature of homosexuality and begin to work from there.

I don't know if you are ready to join a support group near your place, but I highly recommend you do so.

Check out our blog and you will find many helpful links there.

In particular, you may also want to visit these sites:

You may want to read the book too of Frank Worthen entitled This Way Out. It's a very insightful book on how to deal with SSA.

I hope I was able to help you with the above. Do keep in touch.

God bless you.

CP Webmaster

Thank you so much for your concern, I have looked at most of the sites that you suggested, and they are so much help.


P.S. By the way I am from the US.




My name is _____, I am a 43-year-old man who has ALWAYS known myself to be a gay man. I have always known to myself I was different at a very young age and embraced my sexuality at the age of 16. I have always been attracted to men and feel I always will. However, now that I am 43, I'm not sure that this is where I want to stay. I feel that I have an opportunity to explore more and although I know I am attracted to men I can't help but wonder what my life might be if I were to fall in love with a woman. There is no particular woman I have in mind; it is only the thought of how my life might be.

I don't know if it is because I have been alone for quite some time and all my relationships with men have proven to be insignificant. I at times doubt that what I thought was love with men is in fact love or just lust. I have ALWAYS thought how wonderful it would be to fall in love with a man and have a significant love relationship that possesses more than lust, but have yet to experience that. Although my views on gay marriage are not those of a typical gay man, I find myself quite confused. I have considered counseling but have yet to take that step. Please help with any information or ideas you may have for me.

Thank you,

Gay and yearning for more...

Hi _____!

I am Rollie of Courage Philippines. I got your email from our webmaster. Hope it would be okay if I also pour my thoughts.

Like you, I was also trapped in the gay world full of pretensions and illusions. I thought I was happy but I was not. There came a time I questioned if I am going to live on like that for the rest of my life. And so around the year 2001, I began my journey of painful realizations about my past and of wonderful healing of my core being as a man. As I begin to embrace my new found manhood, slowly I began to notice attractions towards women - which never in my dreams have happened before. Today is the birthday of that girl of whom I am attracted to, and I am building up my friendship with her in preparation to a probable courtship.

The journey to healing and wholeness is difficult, but it is possible. Hope is never lost. We have the power to choose our path.

It takes a decisive decision to change direction, and it would take days, months or even years for us to firm up that decision. There are painful sacrifices to make, but our assurance of God the Father's love encourages us to press on.

Take it one day at a time, one moment at a time, one problem at a time. If you wish to join us in our journey, you may contact me at 09285066974 or 09178427434. Please indicate who you are for proper recognition.

Rest assured of my heartfelt prayers for you even now. God loves you!

+ Rollie


RE: Courage Philippines Blog

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Jaime Laviena. I am an Editor for, a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the entire Christian community an outlet to join together and better spread the good word of Christianity. has many great features like Christian TV, prayer requests, finding a church, receiving church updates and advice. We have e-mailed you to collaborate with you and your blog to help spread the good word of Christianity. I look forward to your response regarding this matter. Thanks!

God Bless

| Jaime Laviena | |
| 1 International Blvd.| Mahwah, NJ 07495 |

Hi Jaime!

I am Rollie de los Reyes II of Courage Philippines. I am currently leading the support group, and I am happy that you became interested in partnering with us. Through our blog, we hope to reach out to other persons with same-sex attractions (SSA) or commonly known as homosexuals - that there is an alternative to the perverse homosexual lifestyle, and that life is a Christian life of chastity and holiness brought about only through Jesus Christ.

Please inform us how we could be of help. I have included in our email loop our website designer expert - he was instrumental into making our blogspot a reality for us as he is currently the one updating all the contents of the website.

God bless and keep you!

+ Rollie

Hi Jaime!

I will add your site to our blog. I love your site and your zeal in spreading the Word of God and reaching out to others through the use of social networking sites. We are one with you in your online evangelization efforts.

God bless.

CP Webmaster


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly News (Fourth Week of April)

1. Vatican To Finance Adult Stem Cell Research

ROME – The Vatican is pushing for research of adult stem cells as an alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells, which the Catholic Church opposes because it maintains that the destruction of the embryo amounts to the killing of human life. [Read More]

2. Clergy Sex Scandals a ‘Wake-up Call’ for Church

MANILA, April 22, 2010—The clerical sex abuse crisis should serve as a wake-up call for the Catholic hierarchy, a church official said. [Read More]

3. Researcher Finds Strong Link Between Contraception and HIV

Front Royal, Va., Apr 23, 2010 / 01:04 am (CNA).- A researcher reported earlier this week that there is a strong scientific link between hormonal contraceptives and a woman's risk of contracting AIDS/HIV. [Read More]

4. Abuse Victim in Malta: Pope Benedict XVI Is a 'Saint'

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2010 / 01:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli spoke with Joseph Magro, 38, one of eight victims of clerical abuse who met with Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to Malta. Magro said the meeting “was truly a most beautiful gift, after all this suffering, we all cried, even the Pope.” [Read More]

5. Archie Comics Introduces First Homosexual Character

New York (AP) - Riverdale High is getting its first gay character. [Read More]

6. Republicans Blast Porn-Surfing on the Job by SEC Officials

Washington (AP) - Republicans are stepping up their criticism of the Securities and Exchange Commission following reports that senior agency staffers spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were supposed to be policing the nation's financial system. [Read More]

7. Vatican Appoints Strongly Pro-life Bishop Wenski to 'Gay-Friendly' Miami Archdiocese

VATICAN CITY, April 20, 2010 ( - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, Florida, to become the next metropolitan archbishop of Miami, which has gained a reputation as a "gay-friendly" diocese for hosting homosexualist events. [Read More]

8. Ottawa Archbishop Urges “Firestorm of Response” to Explicit Sex Ed Curriculum

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 22, 2010 ( – Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has called on Ontario Catholic parents to issue “a firestorm of response” to the Ontario government in light of Premier Dalton McGuinty's assertion Wednesday that Catholic schools will be required to implement a new elementary sex ed curriculum that promotes homosexualism and other activities contrary to Catholic teaching. [Read More]

9. Wayne Besen's 'Spy' Mission Uncovers Christian Kindness at 'The Awakening 2010' [Read More]

10. Memoirs of an Exorcist

ROME, APRIL 23 2010 ( Father Gabriele Amorth is considered the most expert exorcist in the world, having performed this duty for more than 25 years and 70,000 exorcisms. [Read More]

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Interview with an Ex-Gay Man

This is an interview conducted by Joseph Nicolosi to an ex-gay man named Gordon Opp which was published on the NARTH website. Thanks to Bro. A for sending me this link and I'm publishing it here in its entirety as promised. It's a lengthy piece but definitely worth your time.

J.N. Gordon, it's been about eleven years since we did our last interview, which is still available on the NARTH web site. I know that interview has been helpful to many people. Let me begin today with this question: How long has it been since you've been out of homosexuality?

G.O. I've been married 31 years, and about a year before our marriage, I stopped acting out homosexually.

J.N. When you say "acting out," can you explain?

G.O. There was about a four-year period in my twenties when I practiced homosexuality off and on. I experienced quite a few one-time sexual contacts with individual men and I had a few relationships that lasted three or four months each.

J.N. Do you have any regrets now about leaving homosexuality?

G.O. No. Not at all.

J.N. So you've been married now for 31 years, with three grown children, and-- how many grandchildren?

G.O. Five grandkids.

J.N. And so your life story is open, everyone knows--it's not a big secret.

G.O. No, it's not a big secret at all. Our daughters are just barely a year apart, and when they were in junior-high school, people started asking me to give interviews about my ministry, so we decided to tell the girls then, before I became more public about it.

J.N. Any advice for young people who are trying to decide whether or not to pursue a gay lifestyle? I guess for you and your own experience, you'd say that it didn't work.

G.O. No, I wouldn't say it that way-- it just sounds so trite, "Don't pursue homosexuality-- it doesn't work."

J.N. Could you elaborate on that?

G.O. Well, especially for men (and that's been my experience, obviously), we men are attracted primarily through sight. I remember when I was going to gay parties and such in my early 20's, I would see other guys about ten or fifteen years older--in their mid- to late-30's-- and I would think that I wouldn't want those guys around me, because they're already old. So I learned that for me, anyway, and for the circles I ran in, this was going to be a short-lived life-without permanency, without real roots.

J.N. What other advice might help others in the process of discernment?

G.O. I'd say, "Become a critical thinker." You shouldn't trust the sound bites you get in the news, or even the politically correct things you're going to get in the classrooms at the universities and such. This decision concerns your whole life, so be a critical thinker and search out the truth. I did a lot of searching as a young kid, but there wasn't much information out there.

J.N. I agree. Why do you think the gay movement been so successful in taking over our culture?

G.O. I think it's because as a culture, we want to please people. We're in the "microwave age"-- we want everything to be fixed quickly and with little effort, but pursuing heterosexuality is not for the faint-hearted. For a man who's struggled with same-sex attractions, it's hard work.

J.N. Yes. As a therapist, too, I can tell you it's hard work.

G.O. And people don't want to work hard.

J.N. What were the deciding factors in your own decision to leave homosexuality?

G.O. I wanted what most everybody wants-- I wanted family, security. I wanted to grow old together with somebody that I was committed to. I wanted children, a house, a job, and a picket fence, all of those things -- the American dream. And I couldn't have that with homosexuality.

J.N. Gays would argue with you that certainly you can have a family and children and a picket fence, and community. How would you answer that?

G.O. I'll address the family thing first. As far as children, and the issue of adoption for gays, it's not that the gay parent can't love the child, but what is it doing to the child? First and foremost, I'm concerned about the child. He needs a mother and a father.

J.N. What are the consequences to a child to be raised by two lesbians or two gay men?

G.O. We are designed to have a mother and a father. Of course, for all kinds of reasons not every child can have that-- but that is the ideal, and we hurt kids when we deliberately and intentionally deprive them of that experience. I'm a real estate agent now, and the other day, I was working on a listing-it was a home with a single mother who was raising four boys, a couple of adolescents and a couple of young ones--and I don't know what situation occurred that put her into the position of being a single mom, but my heart just went out to her, and my heart also went out to those boys. The absence of the father in that home was just tragic.

J.N. I think you're absolutely right. What are the factors that made it possible for you to successfully follow through on your decision over so many years?

G.O. I suppose one of the beginning factors was my tenacity, to try to beat it. Going back to what I said in the beginning about being a critical thinker, I'm a Christian and whatever I do, I either want to do it wholeheartedly, or I'm not going to waste my time. So when I became convinced that Christianity was true, there was no way I could embrace homosexual behavior and practice as a good thing in the context of my faith.

You cannot support both gay unions and "true" Christianity. It doesn't work, because they're incompatible.

J.N. I'd like to bring up the recent American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force Report, which says that there is "insufficient evidence" to prove that change is possible. What would you say to those APA Task Force members--all of whom, by the way, are activists in gay causes, and none of whom are reorientation therapists-- if you could speak to them?

G.O. Well the first thing I would ask the APA is, "What is your definition of change?" Because I believe the APA is asking, when it defines change, "Do you ever have any more homosexual thoughts? Then you haven't changed." But "complete change" wouldn't be realistic-for a man with a homosexual background, or a man struggling with any other issue. I'm an honest person and I would say, "Yes, those thoughts are there occasionally, and they give me a little grief." But do those thoughts and feelings control my life? No way.

I've been married now for 31 years -- very happily married. No marriage is without its problems, but, do I have any regrets? No. I have no regrets. I have lived a heterosexual life and been faithful to my wife, and I've had my family and enjoyed everything that goes along with family life.

I would like to compare change of sexual orientation to alcoholism. In medical terms, an alcoholic would seem to have what we call a disease (that can be debatable, too), but let's just say it is a disease. So let's say I've been sober for 31 years. But then, I lose my job, my wife's mad at me, and I drive home, and I drive past the bar. Man, I want to turn in and get drunk! But I don't. Would it be fair for the APA to say, "See-- you haven't changed after all! You're still an alcoholic!"

J.N. Sure.

G.O. That is how offended I am by the APA's saying I haven't changed-- just because I, like a former alcoholic, can have the temptation. Still, pride comes before a fall, and I would be the last one to say that I couldn't ever possibly fall; but even if I did, it doesn't change my fundamental commitment to my identity-- not as a gay man, but as a heterosexual man who has struggled with a homosexual problem.

J.N.: What would you say to encourage people considering coming out of a lifestyle?

G.O. Each person must ask-- who am I? What do I want to be? There is within me, and I think there is within all of us, what I call the inner person-the real me. Sometimes that real person in me is in conflict with what I want to do, and sometimes there are those homosexual urges. But I'm going to say no to those same-sex desires, because that's not the real me. I refuse to be identified by my occasional homosexual feelings. My body is designed to be intimate with a female, and so that is the real me. This true heterosexual man is not going to be sexually intimate with another male.

J.N. Let me give you a little metaphor to see if this makes sense to you, because the APA Task Force says you can change your identity, you can say, "I am not a homosexual...I am not identifying with homosexuality," but that doesn't change your sexual orientation. Their implication is that homosexuality is "who you are" whether you acknowledge it or not. But I believe that if you change your identity, it will change not only the quantity of your homosexual behaviors, but also the quality. Let me give you an example of this qualitative change. You're sitting in front of the television and it's 8:00 at night, and suddenly you feel hungry and you remember there's that one slice of chocolate pie still in the refrigerator. You're eating it and while you're eating it, you're saying to yourself, "I really am hungry!" But then, rewind the tape: You're sitting in front of the television, you feel hungry, but you realize you're really not hungry-actually, you're bored. You eat the pie anyway to relieve the boredom, and while you're eating the pie you know you're just eating it because you were bored. When will you enjoy the pie more, when you believe you're truly hungry, or when you believe you're bored?

G.O. Of course, when you believe you're hungry.

J.N. Yes, and I think that a gay-identified person is going to interpret his sexual experiences differently-as a form of genuine "hunger." But men like yourself will reflect and then say to themselves, "This attraction I'm feeling right now is notpart of who I am. It's about my frustrations, or my disconnectedness, or it's about the way I handle shame."

G.O. Yes, that makes a lot of sense. It describes me.

J.N. You had the feelings, but they were not "you"; you didn't accept the identity.

G.O. Exactly. In the beginning, though, I questioned it. I thought, "Maybe it's not a lie, maybe there's just something wrong with me and eventually, I'll fit into this 'gay' thing and it will feel right and feel true." But the real me was resisting this.

J.N. You thought, "If I just keep trying a little longer, I'll overcome my internalized homophobia." But even though you engaged in the behavior, it wasn't satisfying. Clients will tell me, the more I understand the origins of my same-sex attraction, the more it changes the quality of the homosexual experience because I know this attraction is not happening to me just because this guy with me is "hot."

G.O. Yes. Recognizing this has helped me to understand where some of these longings were coming from. I found myself attracted to "ever-straight" guys, and I think that's because I wasn't really looking for sex, I was looking for something much deeper than that.

J.N.: Yes. For a deeper same-sex bonding.

G.O.: But the problem is how compelling the act is. I remember how one of your articles on the NARTH website was saying that gay sex is a whole lot more intense for same-sex attracted guys than heterosexual sex is--there's more of a "zing" to it-- because gay sex is trying to meet needs that were never intended to be met in the sexual act. And I remember in the last interview you and I did, I talked about how whenever you add sex to a deeper need-when you try to gratify that deeper, unmet need in a sexual way-- it really ramps the experience up, and so there's this zing.

J.N.: Yes.

G.O.: But when you're trying to get your emotional needs with men met in a non-sexual way, there's inevitably this disappointment, and it's like, "OK, I've got this great male friend and he's really attentive to me and he wants to be with me and we do good things-but why is this experience not doing for me what the sexual experience did?"

J.N. Right.

G.O. Then, when you're looking at being properly attracted to your wife, you can't take all those deficit needs that you were trying to get fulfilled through sex with a man and transfer that same feeling to your experience with wife. They're totally different things.

J.N. Yes...they originate from totally different needs.

G.O. Uh huh. . And so you have a couple of things to work on-first, getting your needs met properly with men without sex, without undue emotional dependency; and second, developing your true heterosexuality with your wife and letting that relationship become the complementary one that it has been naturally designed to be.

Fortunately, my wife long ago caught on to the fact that when I was having good, healthy relationships with men, I was more attentive to her.

J.N. Yes, that's what all my clients tell me....that healthy, ongoing male relationships are essential. Now, I'd like to go back to something you said before-- "I was attracted to ever-straight men"....

G.O. Yes, when I was acting out, I would be in a homosexual relationship two- to three-months or so, and I would get tired of my partner because he didn't have what I was looking for. Before too long, I could see that the other man had the same void that I had.

J.N. A void in masculine identity.

G.O. Exactly.

J.N. Let me ask this....has anything changed for you since our last interview, which was eleven years ago?

G.O. Well, a lot has changed. I've gotten older! By this time in my life, I'm pretty much at ease now with all men. Once in a while I am still intimidated, but that was a big part of the origins of my homosexuality-that, and everyday envy.

J.N. With just about every client I deal with, those same issues are there-- intimidation and envy.

G.O. So the older I get, the more I can just enjoy other men. Men used to seem more "mysterious" to me, and sometimes they still do, but whenever I get to know them a little bit better and get under their skin, I find out that we're not so different after all.

J.N. Of course! They're not so mysterious after all; they're "who you are." Now, can you explain a little further why you believe that heterosexuality is the norm?

G.O. I believe that we were designed and created for our bodies to go together, and for our emotions go together. I believe this is pretty self-evident.

J.N. So you see the evidence of our biological design-our male-female complementarity.

G.O. Yes. I mean, two tomcats really aren't friends with each other -- there's always some form of rivalry. Of course, men can in fact be buddies and very close friends, but they can't really be committed partners who meet each other's sexual needs in a deep and ongoing way. They're just not made for that. That's where the promiscuity eventually comes in.

J.N. And without the stabilizing and the grounding effect of a woman in the relationship, what two men have together, just can't be marriage-like. It inevitably turns into an open relationship, as research on gay men shows. With lesbians, it's the other way around; there's the natural female tendency -doubled up when two women are together-- for the relationship to become excessively dependent.

G.O. Right. And speaking of marriage, that's one of the wonderful things, the blessings I've had-- I've got a wonderful wife. We are blessed to have a lot of the same interests and same values. And of course, as members of the opposite sex, we complement each other in terms of gender. In our relationship, I take a leadership role; she is very perceptive and a wise woman that does not "lord it over" me in any way. We're made for each other, as a man and a woman. A man and a man simply aren't capable of that type of a relationship.

J.N. Looking back, what do you think were the things that happened to you in your childhood that could have laid the foundation for your homosexuality?

G.O. Well, I have an older brother, and then there was me, but my dad just took a shine to my older brother. By the time I came along, they had been hoping for a girl, so when I was born, my mom, on the other hand, took a shine to me. I related more to her in the things we did, and it was understood that I was hers, and my brother was my dad's.

J.N. You know, a lot of the men I work with will say to me, "I was my mother's son and my brother was my father's son." There's often that same unspoken division.

G.O. Uh huh. So that was the beginning of my feeling different from other men. Looking back in my own life and especially when I see other children, I believe some kids are saved from homosexuality by the intervention of a same-sex family member-for boys, sometimes an uncle or a grandpa. When I see this intervention in other families, I say, I'm so thankful that that little boy has this adult male is his life.

J.N. All they need is one man who is involved in their life.

G.O. I was so deficient in male relatives. No one around me.

J.N. Did your father ever reach out to you; did he ever try to pull you into this circle of himself and his other son?

G.O. You know, there was a time when I was really hard on both my parents. I blamed them for everything. My mom would often say, "You were always so special... we just had this bond." Yeah, Mom, and that "special bond" really messed me up. My dad wasn't all that bad of a guy. I was just one of those kids that especially needed a dad. He didn't know how to be super-sensitive to what was going on with me. He was kind of into himself and the things he did.

J.N. So you're saying that he didn't reach out to you and try to work with you?

G.O. I can't say that he did. But I don't want to really degrade my dad; he had his faults, definitely, but later in life (he died when I was 34), and the last several years of his life especially, let's just say that he was open to having a relationship with me. He didn't pursue it and I was pretty defensive about a relationship myself, because when you grew up with a dad not wanting to hold you...there's a certain block that stays there.

J.N.: That detachment.

G.O.: My parents had a difficult marriage and my mother looked to me for emotional support when my dad wasn't available. Then, they would come back together, and things would be good again. During those good times, she didn't need me, and I resented that.

J.N.: You resented being made to feel special, and then being dropped.

G.O.: Yes, but in the marriage, I saw her as the victim, and so I had to protect her. Of course, neither of my parents hurt me intentionally.

J.N. Of course. There was no awareness of how this was affecting you.

G.O. My mother is still alive, and I have a good relationship with her. I think she understands all this as best as she can, and she feels bad. I don't know if she sees it as clearly as I might like her to, but she sees it enough, and that's OK with me.

J.N.: Yes. So, over time, you have made peace about this.

G.O.: Yes.

J.N.: How did your brother fit into this?

G.O. I actually had two brothers; one older and one younger. I also have a younger sister. Neither of my brothers struggled with this issue. I know that my older brother always cared about me, and I appreciated that. I told him about my homosexuality during the years I was acting out-roughly when I was age 20 to 24. He was three years older and married to a great lady, and had a couple of kids and lived in another state, and at the time, he and his wife were home with our extended family for the holidays and they came to my apartment to say goodbye. I was in a bad way-- depressed and stuff-- and as I said goodbye standing outside the window of their car, I said, "Oh by the way, I struggle with homosexuality..." He and his wife had eight hours driving home to think about what I had said, and when he got home he called me and said he loved me and cared about me and was sorry about my struggle.

J.N. So you felt this loving from him many years later....What about when you were younger?

G.O. He was older and more athletic and there was this rivalry thing at school. When your brother goes to junior high and is great in sports and you come along three years later, they expect all that from you, too, and then you fall on your face...Because I couldn't do that, not surprisingly, at that time, there was this feeling from him of rejection.

J.N. Was there any sexual stuff that set you up for homosexuality anywhere in childhood?

G.O. There was one thing when I was eleven. At summer camp there was a counselor...he was probably 21 or 22. I just needed male acceptance, and here was this counselor that dotes over us-- you know, boy, was he important to us kids.... The third night we were there, my bed was next to his, and he had his hand on my penis. But you know what? I never told anybody about that. At the time I didn't think of it as bad.

J.N. That's very often the psychology of the abused child; they don't think of what happened to them as significant. But here you were, a boy who craved male attention and esteem, and unfortunately, when the attention came to you, it had sex attached to it.

G.O. Yes. But I never thought he was a bad guy for it. I just always thought of him fondly.

J.N. Do you think this experience did you any harm?

G.O. Looking back now, I think it did. It really fixated the object of my same-sex attraction. The guys that I'm most attracted to, are like he was -- they are built like he was.

J.N. If the sexual contact did not happen then, you would not have been fixated so much on that image?

G.O. No, I think I probably would not have been fixated on that. I think I still would have had a lot of problems, that you mention it, it is funny I never thought that event was significant.

J.N. I don't know if you remember, but a number of years ago a prestigious journal of the American Psychological Association reported a study, and the conclusion was that boys are not necessarily harmed by sexual contact with an older man, and in fact in many cases, the boys remembered the experience positively, and considered it beneficial. So the authors of the article said we should stop using judgmental terms like "sexual abuse" to describe "positive" childhood experiences like these.

We protested this conclusion. As psychologists, shouldn't we know that what feels, to the child, beneficial, can in fact be very harmful? Dr. Laura Schlesinger got involved in condemning the study-even Congress got involved. The APA had to issue a clarification and a partial disclaimer. That was the biggest public-relations crisis of the American Psychological Association, and it was NARTH that brought it to public attention. Before we got involved, no one in our profession had noticed the harmfulness and simplistic conclusions of the study...there seemed to be the typical prevailing attitude, "Who's to say...???" Not surprisingly, that study had already begun to be used in legal cases as justification for excusing some same-sex child abusers from responsibility.

G.O. Good for you. You know, I've thought about that childhood incident often...wondering , why is it that the "look" of that counselor remained so powerful in my memory for so long, and is still sometimes what I respond to...?

J.N. Yes. You can see how that experience first put into motion the sexualization of your same-sex emotional needs.

Well, it's about time for us to end this interview. Any last thing that you would like to add?

G.O. Yes. I guess sometimes people have said of me, because I reject homosexuality, "You're just not being true to yourself." You know, I just don't feel that way. I have indeed been true to myself -- and I have so many blessings because of it. My family is just unbelievably important to me, and I can't imagine life without them. I never would have had that if I had been true to what I once thought was myself - if I had been "true to" homosexuality and let it define me.

J.N.: Yes. That certainly summarizes it.

G.O.: Sex is so over-rated -- heterosexual or homosexual. It's a wonderful thing and it's to be enjoyed and taken care of, but in the end, what's really important is relationships, healthy relationships. That--to me-- is being true to myself... being able to live out whatever days or years I have left in this lifetime, and to enjoy the healthy and full relationships that I never really experienced in my childhood.

J.N.: I certainly respect that decision and that understanding of your identity. And I am sure that your experience will give inspiration to others.

Thank you very much, Gordon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Homosexual Reality

In this episode of The Abundant Life, host Johnette Benkovic explores the sensitive topic of homosexuality with Melinda Selmys, author of Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism, and renowned Catholic psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons. In the course of the program, Melinda shares her own personal struggle with secular lesbianism and her journey to the Catholic faith with some clear inputs from Dr. Fitzgibbons, an authority in this subject matter. This one-hour program was originally aired on EWTN a few weeks ago. Click below to watch the show:

The Homosexual Reality

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekly News (Third Week of April)

1. On 83rd Birthday, Pope Prays for Church's Sanctity

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 16, 2010 ( Benedict XVI turned 83 today, spending his birthday with normal activities punctuated by numerous congratulatory messages from around the world. [Read More]

2. Celebrity Endorsers Mirror Bet’s Traits – CBCP Official

MANILA, April 13, 2010—Thinking on how to know the character traits of the presidentiables and other candidates? Look at their celebrity endorsers. [Read More]

3. Obama Extends Health Care Rights to Gay Partners

WASHINGTON – In a move hailed as a step toward fairness for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama is ordering that nearly all hospitals allow patients to say who has visitation rights and who can help make medical decisions, including gay and lesbian partners. [Read More]

4. Planned Parenthood Guide Tells HIV-Infected Youth to Enjoy Sex, Denounces Laws on Disclosure of HIV/AIDS to Sexual Partners

( – In a guide for young people published by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the organization says it opposes laws that make it a crime for people not to tell sexual partners they have HIV. The IPPF's “Healthy, Happy and Hot” guide also tells young people who have the virus that they have a right to “fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives.” [Read More]

5. ‘Young and Poly’? Gay Task Force Promotes ‘Polyamory’ (Multiple Partners) to Youth [Read More]

6. USCCB Survey Shows Parents Concerned About Youth Access to Unwholesome Media

Washington D.C., Apr 16, 2010 / 04:17 am (CNA).- A survey of parents sponsored by the U.S. bishops find they are deeply concerned about content in media and want help from the media industry and government to control children’s access to it. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) study, “Parents’ Hopes & Concerns About the Impact of Media on their Children,” was commissioned in response to a notice of inquiry by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). [Read More]

7. Pedophilia Is Not Linked to Celibacy, But Homosexuality, Says Cardinal Bertone

Santiago, Chile, Apr 13, 2010 / 01:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- During a lengthy press conference in Chile, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was asked about the possible abolition of clerical celibacy following the revelations of pedophilia among some priests. The cardinal answered by explaining that research shows these two issues to be unrelated, however studies prove that there is a connection between pedophilia and homosexuality. [Read More]

8. News Briefs II on Catholic Sexual Abuse Controversy: Radcliffe, De Souza, Coulter and More [Read More]

9. Italy’s Highest Court Rejects Same-Sex “Marriage” Bid

ROME, April 14, 2010 ( – Italy’s highest court ruled today against a bid to institute “gay marriage” in the two northern cities of Venice and Trento. Local news services report that the judges ruled that it is up to lawmakers, not the courts, to define marriage. Arguments in favour of changing the law, the Constitutional court ruled, were either “unfounded” or “inadmissible.” [Read More]

10. ACP: Schools Should Not Affirm Students' Perceived Sexual Orientation

Gainesville, Fla., Apr 10, 2010 / 08:02 am (CNA).- In a recent letter sent to school superintendents throughout the country, the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) cautioned that it is “not a school’s role to 'affirm' a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.” The ACP also said that “rigorous studies” show that children and adolescents who initially experience gender confusion or same sex attraction no longer do so by the age of 25. [Read More]

11. Re-Elect Pope Benedict

The pundits tell us that lots of people think that Pope Benedict should resign over the Church’s handling of clerical sex-abuse allegations. [Read More]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Living with HIV Podcast

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted Dr. Elroi's (not his real name) testimonial here regarding his struggle with same-sex attraction and HIV. Now, you can listen to his powerful testimony through podcast courtesy of Kuya Kevin's site. Dr. Elroi is currently active in his HIV/AIDS ministry through Channels of Hope. He gives talks to faith-based organizations and the community at large, educating and inspiring them through his personal life story and offering hope to persons living with HIV.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Condom Illusion

The HIV/AIDS issue is still far from over. Yesterday, the Department of Health just concluded a National HIV Summit with multi-sectoral representations from the government, faith-based groups, academe, scientific community, and media. I was not there personally, but I am beginning to wonder how the discussions went considering that the DOH and Catholic hierarchy are "clashing" on the promotion of condom as a means to prevent the HIV epidemic. For one, I commend the DOH for initiating the summit and their willingness to work hand in hand with the religious sector. That is definitely one positive approach in confronting the issue. However, condom promotion is another issue and I do not agree with it personally.

For one, check out these facts which I was able to research on the net. This alone should convince you to ditch the rubber:

* Since a woman is fertile for only 7 days of any 28 day cycle, but may become infected at any time, there are at least 4 times the number of days during which disease can be transmitted as opposed to fertilization.

* How often does the male condom fail to prevent conception during the first year of use? If used exactly as directed … 3%. If one also accounts for user error … 12%.

* There is much evidence today that the condom can fail to prevent leakage of HIV virus. Condoms contain tiny pores, 3500 microns in diameter. The sperm cell is 50 microns, and the HIV virus O.1 microns in size. The sperm cell, which is blocked by the condom, is 100 million times more massive than a HIV virus.

* The fact that latex condoms contain pores was highlighted by a major 1992 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study, the first to simulate actual conditions of sexual intercourse. This study showed a detectable leakage of HIV - sized particles in one third of the condoms tested.

* Researchers from University College London conclude that condom promotion could increase rather than decrease exposure to STD if it had the unintended effect of encouraging greater sexual activity. They found that increased condom use will increase the number of transmissions of HIV that result from condom failure.

* A recent study has shown that women who had sex with HIV positive men, who reported that they always used condoms for vaginal intercourse, only reduced their risk of acquiring HIV by 57%, compared to women who did not use condoms consistently, or at all for vaginal intercourse.

* Less than half of sexually active adolescents report that they use condoms correctly.

* A meta-analysis of available studies found that the risk of acquiring HIV was reduced by 69% when condoms were used by couple where one partner was infected and the other was not. The flip side of this reduction is that there is still a 31% risk of transmission.

* HIV and Hepatitis B and C are prevalent among injection drug users. Studies in Montreal, Vancouver and Seattle show that, contrary to popular belief, needle exchange programs do not decrease the incidence of blood borne infection. On the contrary, the highest incidence of infection occurred among users of the exchanges. In one study 40% of the users admitted to lending used syringes.

* Spermicide (nonoxynol - 9) may increase the risk of HIV infections by causing disruptions and lesions in the genital mucosal lining. (Health Canada:

For more info on this and other related STD facts, click here.

Comment: From a purely logical standpoint, why would anyone risk his life and health on a rubber that does not guarantee 100% protection all the time? Also, if you are aware that your partner has HIV, would you still have sexual intercourse with him/her even with condom? Does that make any sense at all?

Do you still remember the comments that the Holy Father made that condom distribution in Africa is not helping but in fact worsening the situation? As we all know he was heavily criticized on this, some even accusing him of issuing an irresponsible statement and endangering the lives of many people. Guess who sided with the Pope. No other than Dr. Edward Green. Check out this guy's credentials: Director, AIDS Prevention Research Project; Senior Research Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health and Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University. So, what is he saying on the condom issue?

According to this article, Dr. Green believes that "theoretically, condoms ought to work...and theoretically, some condom use ought to be better than no condom use, but that’s theoretically." The scientific community believes in general that condoms should lower HIV infection rate, but after numerous studies, they have found the opposite to be true.

Dr. Green has an explanation for this. He calls this phenomenon risk compensation or behavioral disinhibition.

“Risk compensation is the idea that if somebody is using a certain technology to reduce risk, a phenomenon actually occurs where people are willing to take on greater risk.” The idea can be related to someone that puts on sun block and is willing to stay out in the sun longer because they have added protection. In this case, however, the greater risk is sexual. Because people are willing take on more risk, they may “disproportionally erase” the benefits of condom use, Green said.

In a separate article on Washington Post, Dr. Green states that another contributing factor is that people seldom use condoms in steady relationships because doing so would imply a lack of trust. This is especially true for Africa where majority of cases are found in the general population rather than in high risk groups. It is noteworthy to mention that in Uganda, a program on abstinence and fidelity between spouses has yielded the most significant drop in HIV infection rate.

Dr. Green being a scientist is not totally against condoms, however. He for some reason believes that everyone should have full access to condoms and that it should always be a backup strategy for those who will not or cannot remain faithful to their partners. For more articles related to this, you can visit this link.

How about in couples where one is HIV positive? Is it morally permissible to use condoms? It's a bioethics question and a bit tricky. I don't feel competent to answer that, so I am referring you to this Zenit article entitled AIDS and the Spousal Use of Condoms.

In recent weeks, the issue of HIV and condom use has become a hot topic. This all started when the DOH gave away free condoms to the public on Valentine's Day. Archbishop Rosales commented it was a "narrow minded approach" on the DOH to engage in such and I agree. I believe that our current HIV crisis for the most part is a direct result of erosion of moral values particularly in the area of sexuality. How can you explain to me that the so-called MSM (men having sex with men) sector accounts for the greatest percentage of HIV infection? Before, it used to be that returning overseas workers who have had sexual contact abroad were the main culprits in spreading the disease, not to mention the cases of intravenous drug users who share infected needles with fellow drug users. How can our government allow free access to condoms while tolerating prostitution in the country, which is one of the major venue where this disease spreads? And the $8 million dollars that the DOH used to purchase truckloads of condoms? Shouldn't that money be spent on purchasing antiretroviral drugs instead to help the 4000+ confirmed cases of HIV in the country?

The problem with HIV/AIDS is that there is underlying human activity/behavior that goes along with it. Coupled with ignorance, the effects are truly devastating.

The solutions to the problem are quite obvious. Abstinence, fidelity to one's spouse (monogamy), comprehensive information drive on HIV/AIDS, a deeper understanding of human sexuality, and promotion and teaching of biblical sexual morality.

It's a tall order but it can be done and it's not the sole duty of the Church to promote these things. We as God-fearing people and responsible citizens should make the initiative to learn about these things, first to ourselves then to others. It's unfair to blame the Church altogether for her failure to inculcate these things in the minds of people today especially the young. Isn't it the primary responsibility of parents to teach their children sex education at home instead of passing this obligation to schools? Are not popular media (TV, print, internet) also to blame for this tragedy for widespread and unrestrained access to pornography? Still, I believe we can all do our share in fighting this epidemic and let us start now.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekly News (Second Week of April)

1. Bishops Worldwide Affirm Support for Pope

Decry Campaign to Discredit the Church

MADRID, Spain, APRIL 2, 2010 ( Countless bishops from across the globe have weighed in to support Benedict XVI as he is slandered by media accusations regarding the sex abuse scandal. [Read More]

2. Bishop Cautions Faithful on Pro-choice Catholic Group

MANILA, April 7, 2010—A Church official has warned the public to become wary of a catholic group that endorses the use of condom. [Read More]

3. SC Lets Ang Ladlad Do What Comelec Denied It

BAGUIO CITY—Voting 12-3, the Supreme Court en banc Thursday reversed a decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) refusing party-list accreditation to a group representing the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) sector. [Read More]

4. Bishop Slams SC Ruling on Gay Group

MANILA, April 9, 2010— A Catholic bishop assailed a Supreme Court decision allowing a gay rights party to participate in May 10 elections. [Read More]

5. Eduardo Verastegui Denies Fathering Ricky Martin’s Adopted Children

Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 9, 2010 / 02:55 pm (CNA).- In response to rumors in the media that he is the biological father of the twins adopted by Ricky Martin, Mexican actor and pro-life activist Eduardo Verastegui, emphatically denied the reports and called them “an absolute lie.” [Read More]

6. Obama 'Queers' the Census [Read More]

7. The Face of Hate

"Progressives" are like pig farmers. In an effort to bury opposing viewpoints they sling pejorative slop, labeling as "bigot," "hater," "wingnut" or "racist" those with whom they disagree. It's the height of intellectual sloth. [Read More]

8. Portuguese Court Approves Constitutionality of Homosexual 'Marriage'

LISBON, April 9, 2010 ( - The Constitutional Court of Portugal has approved new homosexual "marriage" legislation that was passed in February by the nation's parliament. [Read More]

9. Church’s Opposition to Abortion and Gay “Marriage” behind Media “Hate Campaign” - Cardinals

ROME, April 7, 2010 ( – Three high-level Vatican cardinals have denounced the “campaign of hatred” that is being waged against the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI over the clerical sex abuse crisis, saying the motive behind the campaign is the pope’s defence of the unborn and marriage. [Read More]

10. Actor Neal McDonough Sacked for Refusing Sex Scene

HOLLYWOOD, California, April 6, 2010 ( - Sticking to his principles as a Christian and a family man, Hollywood actor Neal McDonough has been fired from a spot in a television series because he refuses to perform explicit sex scenes. [Read More]

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Listen to this wonderful rendition of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On The Feast of the Divine Mercy

Concerning the Feast of Mercy Jesus said:

"Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." (Diary 300)

"I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it." (Diary 341)

"This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies." (Diary 420)

On one occasion, I heard these words: "My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.* [my emphasis]

On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will I contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy." (Diary 699)

"Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it." (Diary 742)

"I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy." (Diary 1109)

As you can see the Lord's desire for the Feast includes the solemn, public veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as personal acts of veneration and mercy. The great promise for the individual soul is that a devotional act of sacramental penance and Communion will obtain for that soul the plenitude of the divine mercy on the Feast.

*The Cardinal of Krakow, Cardinal Macharski, whose diocese is the center of the spread of the devotion and the sponsor of the Cause of Sr. Faustina, has written that we should use Lent as preparation for the Feast and confess even before Holy Week! So, it is clear that the confessional requirement does not have to be met on the Feast itself. That would be an impossible burden for the clergy if it did. The Communion requirement is easily met that day, however, since it is a day of obligation, being Sunday. We would only need confession again, if received earlier in Lenten or Easter Season, if we were in the state of mortal sin on the Feast.

Source: EWTN website

If you want to visit a shrine of the Divine Mercy on April 11 (Divine Mercy Sunday), you can either go to the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy Maysilo Circle, Boni Ave., Mandaluyong City or the Divine Mercy National Shrine Sta. Rosa I, Marilao, Bulacan. The last time I went to the Divine Mercy National Shrine in Bulacan I was informed that they are not giving confessions on the day of Feast itself. As mentioned above, the confession requirement need not be on the day of the Feast but if you want to receive the sacrament of confession and visit a Divine Mercy shrine on that day I suggest you visit the one in Mandaluyong. Please visit for more info on the Divine Mercy devotion.

"The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to my Mercy." (Diary 732).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Eggspressions

I just love these facial eggspressions!

Hope you all have an "eggcellent" day! Happy Easter!

Blog Subscription

Happy Easter to all my blog visitors!

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God bless us all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lenten Reflection on Heaven

by Fr. A. R. Arboleda, SSP

If today there are Christians who do not take their faith that seriously, one reason could be that not much thought is given to heaven. There is even a box office hit movie which is entitled, “Heaven Can Wait.” For many, heaven is some distant reality worth thinking about only when one is either old or sick, when death stares one in the face.

People wouldn’t want to think of heaven while they are young and strong because they feel that there are more pressing and urgent things to be concerned about. Already, life on earth has so much to offer, so, why think of heaven? Yes, to many, heaven may as well wait.

When we want to think of heaven, however, we should not picture it as something ever so distant; nor should we imagine it as some faraway place where all kinds of activity cease, where all excitements are muted, where one does nothing but sit around and stare at angels and saints.

When we look into ourselves, we discover one thing in particular: our brokenness. Something in us tells us that we are not meant to live and die in that brokenness. Something tells us that somewhere in our growing up we would reach the experience of wholeness, of unity and, above all, of communion with life itself and with the rest of all living things. Something in us tells us that our miseries are not meant to last forever; that all enmities will cease, and that peace will settle and become permanent.

It is strange that Jesus did not speak of heaven in terms of delights and pleasures. Instead, he spoke of heaven in terms of relationship and communion with the Father, whole love is forever and is all-merciful and forgiving. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

Heaven, then, is to live in loving relationship with the Father, something which has been made possible when God revealed himself in Jesus Christ, his Son, and made us brothers to him and sons to himself. Heaven is living the life of God, which we experience vaguely now but which will be revealed in all its grandeur.

Very dimly we do experience heaven now, especially during those moments when we are in communion and in peace not just with the persons we love, but also with ourselves and the rest of creation.

Heaven is something I can choose to live now, because now I have the power to accept the relationship God offers through Jesus, which is being preferred by the Spirit present in the goodness every person possesses in his heart.

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14:23).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lenten Reflection on Death

by Fr. A. R. Arboleda, SSP

Death is always painful when it comes because it means that a person is cut off from the world of the living. It means that between the dead and the living there comes a distance much farther than the farthest point on this earth. When a person lives, one can always hope he will come back home sooner or later; but when a person is dead, one can only hope to join him someday.

There is something final in death which no one ever likes. When death comes, it’s all over for the person this side of life. No matter how miserable one’s life may have been, death appears always terrifying. Life is just too beautiful to end in death.

But our faith teaches us that death is the necessary passage to eternal life. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).

Fear of death is inherent to man. Yet, such fear diminishes even as one’s hope for a much more beautiful life increases. And if such hope is founded on Christ’s Good News that by his own death he has already won eternal life for us, and that if we take our cross daily and follow him we will have life eternal, then, death ceases to be terrifying. To some, it even becomes something to welcome, for death would tear down the curtain that still separates us from God, who is the source of all our happiness and of eternal life.

Indeed, it is only when we are aware that we have “debts” in this life to pay in the next that we should tremble at the thought of death. In this life, we are aware, justice is either imperfect or altogether absent. The evil man seems to thrive better than the good. This surely cannot last forever. Somewhere, true justice must be rendered.

Death is terrifying because it ushers us to that somewhere where full justice is rendered. The more “debts” I incur in this life, the greater is my fear for death will lead me to the halls of God’s justice where only the truth shall prevail. And I will be left alone to face God’s justice.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lenten Reflection on Pain

by Fr. A. R. Arboleda, SSP

Pain is one of those things that remind us always that all men are equal. The young and the old suffer pain. The rich and the poor are visited by it. The great and the humble are not spared by pain. The great can rationalize over it but the humble know how to bear it. Indeed, no human being is stranger to pain.

Some people are afflicted with bodily pain. Others are pained in their hearts. Still others suffer in their minds. Pain is one experience that shouts how human, how vulnerable and mortal we are, and how much we need others. It marks our humanity and makes people ever so lovable.

I surely do not wish anyone to suffer pain of any kind. Much less would I want to inflict it with malice on anybody. But when it comes, both as a sign of our humanity and as a signal warning us of our illusions, pain has to be welcomed.

Down to brass tacks, pain is a very demanding but generous customer. When it comes, it does not leave us alone. It claims our attention and taxes our very person. But if all the time it was there, we were patient, attentive and generous, it would purify us and makes us better persons. Any person who knows how to suffer pain emerges purified, even-tempered, and a thousand times more compassionate.

There are times and moments when we have to savor loneliness and listen to what thoughts it brings, for such thoughts usually come from our innermost selves. We sometimes reject them because they reveal the truth to us or are painful to face. Moments of loneliness can be turned to moments of solitude with ourselves and with God. We all need these moments for we cannot go on forever escaping from our own selves.

Many young men and women do not find themselves because they hardly allow themselves a moment to be positively and creatively lonely.

It is sad that in spite of the advances of medicine, pain remains part of the human vocabulary. Worse, we have built the illusion that our world must become painless.

If we are willing to embrace life for what it is, we should be willing to welcome pain, too, for life without pain isn’t life at all. Pain is very much a part of life. And God has not taken away pain in order that we may not forget him and the Kingdom he promised us. In fact, the greatest illusion a man can ever have is to believe that in this life he can be perfectly happy.

Life on earth is but the beginning of life, and pain is but a passage towards the fullness of life, which will come only when we are delivered of this life where we are imprisoned in matter, limited in our movements and bound in time and place.

Even as we live, we are being diverted unto life. Just as there is pain when a woman gives birth to a child, so there will be pain even as this earth delivers us unto true life. Pain is part of our deliverance. If we welcome pain we shall be delivered unto life, God’s Life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lenten Reflection on Loneliness

by Fr. A. R. Arboleda, SSP

In its most severe form, loneliness can drive a person to real panic and even to insanity or suicide. In its milder form, loneliness can be felt as nothing more than the vague feeling of being unloved and unwanted, the feeling of not belonging. In both cases, loneliness is something everyone has to grapple with at one time or another. Loneliness is a chronic pain in the neck that comes with being alive and being an individual.

When God created Adam, even if he was already in the garden of Eden, he still said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” What surprises us is that instead of taking away Adam’s loneliness, God created Eve and gave her to Adam to be his partner.

Loneliness, in spite of the terrible feelings that come with it, is still a gift of God. At worst, it is the price we human beings pay for our capacity to think, to reflect, to be aware of our own uniqueness and limitations. At best, loneliness is the other side of our capacity to give and receive love, something that makes us resemble God. If, alone, I should not feel lonely, would I ever reach out to others in love?

Whenever I feel lonely, I try not to ask why anymore, for I know it is part of my being human. I ask, instead, what I may have done to make myself feel isolated, walled-in and alienated from the others. In fact, loneliness comes during those moments of isolation, when around me I have built an invisible wall, perhaps after I have been hurt by others. The same wall protects me from getting hurt again; but, alas, it also imprisons me.

Psychologists say that loneliness is part of our being human because, they say, we are relational by nature. Which means that each of us is not meant to remain an “I” forever. Loneliness urges us to find the “You,” reach out, and, together, form a “We.” Loneliness disappears as soon as we experience a “We-ness” with others.

Mystics, however, say that we experience loneliness because we have been created in the image of likeness of God who is Three Persons. They add that the experience of loneliness is both a prod for us to search for communion with the Trinitarian God through our faith and adherence to the Person of Jesus. It is also an invitation towards establishing community or communion with our fellow human beings.