In the face of temptation
May Miasco (The Freeman) - November 18, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Fr. Teofilo Camomot was not only generous – he also had to be creative. He had creative ways of helping the poor and novel ideas to address some concerns in his parish. One day, while on his way to preside over the Sacrament of Matrimony, he learned that the bride didn’t have any veil. He thought for a while and then instructed someone to go and take the church curtain. The cloth made a good veil for the bride.


Teresita Mahinay, a distant relative of Fr. Camomot, related that there was a house where mahjong was played overnight. One time, Fr. Camomot came and watched the players. “So this is the reason you don’t get bored of playing mahjong…” He was referring to the way the players would pile up the mahjong pieces and then break it down after a game. The players felt guilty and eventually stopped their habit, and started going to church.

“He was a very holy man, so composed, very humble, very formal,” Teresita continued. “Whenever we looked at him, it seemed that time stood still.”

At another time, burglars broke into the convent to steal some of the priest’s belongings. But upon noticing that Fr. Camomot was around, they scampered about and tried to jump off the window. Thinking that the robbers might land hard on the ground, the young priest advised his ‘guests’ to use the door. The robbers went out of the convent safe. They were neither arrested nor manhandled by anyone.

Fr. Camomot, like all human beings, had also been faced with temptations. He had been tested in every way, including enticements of the flesh and of the eyes. In one occasion, a woman seduced him. Instead of being swayed to the temptation, the priest dismissed the woman and asked her to either go away or to kneel down and confess her sins. The woman left.

The devil didn’t easily give up. One night, a female member of the church choir in Talisay suddenly went inside Fr. Camomot’s room wearing just a chemise, a loose-fitting female undergarment or nightdress. She started seducing the priest, intent for him to take the bait and fall into her trap. Fr. Camomot remained in control of himself and faithful in his service to the Lord. The priest went out of his room and lay down prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament, like a son taking refuge in his father’s arm amid a storm.

In an undated manuscript, Fr. Camomot stresses the need for every human being to avoid all sorts of temptations and sins which separate people from God. He writes: “Let us keep our heart from all that can defile it, because [the heart] is the source of life. Let us keep ourselves free from impurities from which [can cause the] death of our souls, the end of saintliness and the end of all virtues…  It is the quest of the human heart to seek constantly after things that may render it happy; but if it seeks from creatures, how much so ever acquired, [the desire] will never be satisfied, but if it seeks God alone, [it will be fully satisfied].” (FREEMAN)

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