Woman is one beautiful mystery that shaped my life. I was about five years old when I first experienced a keen awareness of the feminine. My paternal grandfather called my attention to a beautiful girl one year older who was selling doughnuts to us. For days that girl captured my imagination. And since then I became conscious of the reality of the feminine as a distinct, unique person and who has captured my soul all my life. Every girl or woman I came close with during my younger years become like a goddess to me.
My mother was the woman that loomed large in my life not so much by her constant presence but by the tenderness and sense of pride by which she carried me in her heart and introduced me to others.
And as I came to know the Blessed Mother she became the woman par excellence, the model, the dream and the prayer wish I have for every woman to emulate; notwithstanding the contrary current that continue to be potent in my being as a man. Perhaps all of these explain my biased favor for women, why I have not related to a single woman all my life for mere sport and why I am an advocate – though hitherto a quiet one – for woman; a feminist, though in a different sense. And perhaps it is also the reason why my best friends, my closest friends and my life long friends are women.
The prayers of a mystery woman, I believed, prepared me for my definitive initiation to the deeper experience of divine mystery. She is a mystery woman since I have never known her personally and never known her name. And yet from her I owe God’s great gift of his Spirit. Sometime in my last year in high school, two itinerant women preachers in orange uniform visited our class. They stood in front of the class and shared to us about Jesus and the need to receive him in our lives and the need to receive the gift of his Spirit. They prayed for us in strange tongues, and as they were praying one of them had her eyes transfixed on me and I knew she was praying for me. And as it were, I felt like mesmerized, in an awake trance and felt a sense of mystery enveloping me. Even when they left I went to the verandah of our classroom and followed her with my eyes till she was gone.
The woman’s prayers for me were answered four years later. I was in my third year in college then. While praying with lifted arms and hands - all alone in my room at the university men’s dormitory - I suddenly felt a strong power like an electric current started to course through my hands and arms and engulfed my whole body and was filled with a strong sense of God’s love enveloping my whole being, assuring me of a place in heaven and filling me with peace and joy that transformed my awkward praises into one that flowed from within my heart like a torrent that had been released; and the more I praise him the more I experience his presence, the more I experience his love, peace and joy.
Since then I grow towards deepening love for God and, strange but not strange, my deepening appreciation and love for woman paralleled my deepening love for and devotion to God. And though the form and manner by which I live it went through change and manifold transformation, never did it wane.