When I was a little boy, while my childhood friends played make-believe roles as Daimos, Voltez V or the Star Rangers, I enjoyed playing the role of a priest. I used a towel which I wrapped around my shoulder for my chasuble; I filled a glass with water for my wine; and I broke a piece of bread, my snack, into many smaller pieces for the host. I only had one parishioner though, my brother. I don’t know how many people did this when they were still young, but such was my fondness for God early on .
The influence of my mother really helped a lot. You see, my mother was a very prayerful person. She had such devotion to Mother Mary that she tried to pray the rosary everyday even waking up as early as 4AM, and she tugged my brother and me along with her. So at an early age, I learned to pray the rosary, and I also learned the importance of hearing mass every Sunday.
Yet despite my early religious training, I became an addict. When I was in first year high school, a close friend of mine gave me a copy of Playboy. As any teenage boy knows, such temptation is extremely difficult to resist. When I started to read that magazine and saw those vivid pictures, I felt sensations that I never felt before; my blood boiled with lust. Little did I know that I just entered the gates of hell, and allowed the enemy to chain me to a flaming post. From that day on, I became addicted to pornography, and all the accompanying sins associated with it. I got so hooked up that there were nights that I would be awakened from my sleep by an extreme urge to relieve myself. When I realized fully what was going on, it was too late. I could not stop anymore. Outside I was admired and respected because I was an honor student, pious, and well-behaved, but inside I cringed with shame and self-disgust. If only they knew.
I could no longer count how many times I tried to break free from my addiction, and I how many times I failed. The pattern was like this – I confessed to a priest, promised not to sin again, and with all the inner strength I could muster, I resolved not to fall again. On the first week, the temptation was bearable, but on the following days that followed, I threw in the towel, and indulged myself like a very hungry lion. As I gobbled the forbidden apple, my heart sometimes yelled in frustration, “Why it’s so damn hard to remain good!” Hoping that a book could cure me like a paracetamol to a headache, I read self-help books to help me control my self-destructive habit, but to no avail. The vicious resist-fail-resist-fail cycle continued for years.
Then sometime in 2003, I cannot really recall the exact date, while at work in Celestica Philippines Inc. I received a forwarded article in my e-mail mailbox. I was so touched by it that I sought the writer in the internet, his name is Bo Sanchez. Though I find his name funny and weird, I find his article soul-enriching. I began following him in his website, Kerygmafamily where I became a member later. Bro. Bo inspired me to become the person I longed to be.
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