It’s like for the first time in my life, I saw the ghastly streak in the beautiful painting that is my life. It’s not being a female substitute priest. It’s being a blind follower of an erroneous religion.
By Pol Arellano
As a child, I used to substitute for a Catholic priest.
For most of my primary school existence, I have graced the halls of the nearest parish church for music-related affairs. It was safe to say that I was inside the church halls more than the average snot-nosed student. And aside from performing musical tasks, I also took on some unorthodox roles – I was assigned to be the priest whenever there was a Holy Communion or Baccalaureate mass practice. I used to shove an imaginary piece of something on some kid’s stuck-out tongue. It was faith, and maybe a better standing in the parish, that kept me going.
You see, my notion of faith was that it was something you say, not experienced. Faith is a popular term in recitation during Christian Living classes. It had always been a word memorized alongside terms like love, and justice. It’s a sure-ball good-grade-getter, and that’s about it. Faith is a term, a word you say when you want to get on the values education teacher’s good side.
As it turns out, faith is a popular word. It was also faith, according to my uncle Allan, which enabled him to transform. My uncle who was once a drunkard, an irresponsible father and husband, and a chain smoker changed – almost magically. I was shocked, nonetheless, for his faith was from outside my substitute priesthood.
It was him who introduced me in my first trip to a Church of God locale. Expecting nothing, I went with him to a prayer meeting. I sat down and looked around. The people inside sang poignant songs with a passion. By the time the congregants started to pray, I sat on my seat watching them as they closed their eyes, kneeled and prayed. I observed. I made mental notes. I listened. And before the night was through, I made sure that I knelt down with the congregants for the closing prayer.
When I first saw Bro. Eli Soriano on TV and heard him speak of biblical wisdom, I began inexplicably trusting him. He is a man with a tremendous amount of faith in him; it radiates from within, and awakens the quiescent spirit within us. His linking together of Biblical passages from both the Old and New Testaments leaves me in awe to this day. He has opened my heart and mind to God’s wisdom. And for this I am most grateful to God.
No evil man can ever understand God’s Word – which is why I trust Bro. Eliseo Soriano with my whole soul – for he not merely understands, but he makes others understand and see the beauty of God’s mercy and kindness.
As the days went by and The Old Path programs ran through, I began to be a witness to how faith may be different, as if I have been unmasked of a horrid visor. Some have true faith, and others, like me, have paltry ones.
Watching Bro. Eli more and more, the incorrectness of my priestly duties became evident. It’s like for the first time in my life, I saw the ghastly streak in the beautiful painting that is my life. It’s not being a female substitute priest. It’s being a blind follower of an erroneous religion.
And like an artist who finally saw the error of her ways, I painted over the streak. On the 21st of June, 2002, my life became a beautiful painting in the holy eyes of the Almighty. With His help and guidance, I haven’t looked back ever since.