Whenever I rummage too far in the realm of cyberspace, sometimes I end up dumbfounded whenever tabs are parading on the top of Google Chrome. And perhaps the most bewildering is I am sometimes reading hagiographies. (Encarta it.)
My sociology professor theorized that by human nature, faith in the Supreme Being is generally formalized during childhood, takes a dip during the adolescent to young adult years because of too much temptations, and as our lives progress to twilight and our heydays lose its glimmer, the more occasional we will kneel before the Sacrament.
But everything has exception: when the body takes the beating of the mundane world, a ray of heaven's light is suddenly casted on us.
My interest was once piqued on the thought of a patron saint for people living with HIV. Unfortunately, there is none. But here we have St. Peregrine Laziosi. (Google it.) Some say that he is the patron for chronic diseases, where HIV falls. The debate is open as to who really is to preside in the intercession of each and every HIV-positive's prayer.
Nonetheless, if you would have the time, read on St. Peregrine's life. Scratch that. Just permit me to bare a bit of a spoiler. St. Peregrine, before attaining sainthood, is actually a wayward. Yes. He was anti-clerical and—the next phrase is a hasty generalization—perhaps a sinner. So too is St. Augustine who, let me quote from Wikipedia, "lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time," notwithstanding the alleged sexual exploits he had encountered during his time.
I'd rather stop repeating these saints' name lest I wear it out but what fascinates me is, sometimes, the holiest had in their pages of history a great deal of sinning or, if you like a more defensive term, them being disappointment to God.
I do not own the monopoly of paradigm shift when I found out that I am a carrier. While I am not altogether sexually active, I though had my dark episode in life when I felt the urge to revolt against the Catholic faith. No, it doesn't come with throwing rocks at crucifixes, spitting on icons or whatever brutish what-have-yous. It's more of a mental revolt. An about-face to the traditional Catholic dogma: throwing immature tantrums when going to Church on Sundays, not taking communion, doubting priests' capability to embody the divinity of Christ, accusing Church-goers of being seeds who fell among the thorns, and a litany of other ungodly thoughts that would drain the color from the Pope.
Perhaps, I raged God beyond His capacity and sent Him to His last patient nerve that the time was ripe for Him to do something about me. Without knowing it, he just pulled my mantle of faith rife with spiritual crisis and sent me to the laundromat to salvage me anew. And there it was, He has "blessed" me with HIV. Looking back, I think He really led me to meet up with that boy to risk myself, be irresponsible, and just go with what my hormones are clammoring for. A part in me now believe that the raison d'être for that night to transpire is because it will signal my life-changing event.
I am not a fan of fatedness. I am a huge proponent of theistic existentialism, that men are imprisoned to be free, to choose, to will upon themselves their actions in guidance with God's grace. But when the body takes the beating as in having HIV, reason stops—and faith makes its way. And as an exemption to my sociology professor's rule, I am sick; therefore, I finally meet God.
If we are to believe that most HIV cases in the country are attributed to sexual encounters of homosexuals, it is because sometimes we have abused free will. Sex has been so rampant that it has lost its meaning. Sex has been so frequent that we become defensive. We rationalize that it's not sinning, but instead, a lifestyle. We condone how wayward we are.
At this junction, some may raise their brows on me. Some may accuse me of being too puristic, categorizing gay sex as an outright sin. No. I still believe gay sex isn't sinning altogether. I think sex is part and parcel of loving, but hear me when I say that not all sexual encounters are attestation of romance. Sometimes, sex is willed because libido cannot be bottled—man's animalistic tendency to pursue his carnal desires. Simply put, there is a fine line that differentiates a moment's stemming of the rose between lovemaking and fucking.
With too much senseless fucking, sometimes the Heavens whirls into confusion, "Oh, boy! This has to end." Dark clouds hover. Lightning strikes. A paper slips before you. "Reactive," it says. Next thing you know, you're devastated.
You run to the Church. Fold your knees and supplicate to the Greatest Heights all your woes for a future you deliberately shattered. You disembowel from the deepest pit of your chest your sincerest apology for that "bad decision."
When the air of confusion has been lifted, your life changes. You do a 180 degree turn—as my friend posits: 360 degree will only leave you facing the same direction whereas 180 will give you a different horizon.
Finally, you see the light. You acknowledge the sins of your past and vow to be a better man. Your paradigm shifts to a greater plane.
So you see, amid all this, you have been a saint in your own terms. Wayward as you may be, you are still saved. Saved, however sick. But still saved. You are one living proof that despite the absurdity and uncertainty of life, life gets better if there's room for faith. You know how it is to stand up for your life now, to make every second count, and to fight for the relationships you have once snubbed. It's your new lease in life. "Welcome to an old world with new eyes!"
One Sunday, a priest sermoned that God is asking nothing from us but "to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him." That was powerful.
When life is running out of explanations, will an admission of your decrepit past make you less of a person? Will an ounce of faith hurt? The saints will disagree.