More and more I hear of people like me (who have same-sex attractions as part of their story) who desire a deeper relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ within the community of the Catholic Church. Out of that desire, they are sincerely striving to make sense of how their life could fit within the Church. Some are striving to make sense of how they might fit in socially, while others are striving to make sense out of why God “picked” them (to experience these attractions), while even others are striving to figure out how they might be able to enter a gay relationship that wouldn’t break the “rules” of the Church. These of course are honest pursuits of greater understanding.
However, the root of these pursuits is the idea that “Gay people should be celibate.”
This idea is driving many people away from the Church, as personally described here.
What people don’t realize is that having celibacy as the primary objective, is tantamount to jumping on a life-long roller-coaster and merely “white-knuckling it” until you die. With “celibacy” as the primary goal, all you can do is hang on for the ride that you are “destined” for, for your entire life. The problem with this is that it doesn’t give a person the opportunity to get off that ride; it doesn’t permit people to see beyond the ride itself.
The pursuit of celibacy in this way, is aimed at behaviour suppression instead of what Church is inviting us all into, which is the transformation of heart on account of our love of Christ (which of course will open us to growing deeper in virtue). Again, the “gay people should be celibate” way of thinking is focused on behaviour, while the Church is really calling us first to focus on the state of our hearts, and our openness to growing in the fullness of virtue.
The Church invites us to consider the state of our heart, so that we may become aware of how we are able to show our love for Christ more profoundly. People of course will begin to do that not when they are told they can’t do this or that (behaviour modification) but rather when they taste the joy from someone who is living a life of virtue (transformation of the heart) – and because of that, they come to want it for themselves.
For that reason, we need to be that living reason why someone would want to open their heart to growing in the fullness of virtue. If we are not the reason, then we are not offering a better garden than the one they are used to, so to speak. That means we have to look interiorly, and assess our own commitment to virtue, and recognize our commitment for what it is along the scale of radiantly attractive, to muted and stuffy. We have to be the better garden.
Until that occurs, the mind-set that “gay people should be celibate” as a primary objective will continue to spread, and will continue to frustrate people into leaving the Church. However, once people become convicted of their desire to grow in the fullness of virtue, the objective of celibacy (to “follow the rules”) falls away to the objective of pursuing a life of holiness – in which one of the fruits will be celibacy for those who are outside of a holy marriage (a marriage in which chastity is practiced and Christ is at the center).
In short, we need to shift our focus from “gay people should be celibate” to “all people should be holy.” In doing so, we let go of the false nuance that we should white-knuckle our way through life, and instead introduce the reality that the Lord Jesus Christ desires our hearts to be unified to His (for He knows His infinite love will fulfill us). When embraced whole-heartedly, this will manifest itself in a greater desire for holiness, but in God’s time, and in God’s way. All we can do in the meantime is walk with all those who choose to do so.
In that, we are one in the same, on a shared journey.
One might think that being a priest in a confessional would be like watching re-runs. The same sins come up over and over again. However, every priest I know approaches these re-runs with a great joy for they know that there has been a choice made by the penitent, to hopefully strive to turn his life back to God and start fresh.
Think about it – if we are going to confess our sins, why not confess to someone who has apostolic authority to offer absolution. Why? Well, as recorded in exorcism, Satan has said
What you have already confessed, I do not know.
See, they are not just dissolved in our universe, but absolved from our universe. That is, through an authentic confession to a priest who gives absolution in persona Christi, by the power and Authority of God, those sins are blotted out of the memory of fallen Angels, while we retain the ability to remember them but for the purposes of drawing glory to God and all that is Holy. That’s what every great conversion testimony has at it’s core!
The point being though, if fallen angels have their memory of a particular committed sin blotted out, then they can no longer use that particular committed sin against us.
What is a Committed Sin?
When we place ourselves above God and or use His creation counter to its purpose as structurally designed that is a committed sin. This comes in all forms (especially with regards to sexuality). Who tempts us to sin? Those who hate God and who hate us (because we still have the chance to turn back to Him and glorify Him). Who? Fallen Angels (Demons). Note that just as how we could be decieved by a fallen human entity, we could be decieved by a fallen angelic entity. And if you don’t believe that angels exist at all, then try praying the Rosary every day. It is so hard to do because there are legions of fallen angels who do not want you to do it.
Father Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican writes:
One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.” The secret that makes this prayer so effective is that the Rosary is both prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Father, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Holy Trinity, and is a meditation centered on Christ.
If you are successful, observe the changes in your life after 30 days, and measure them against these promises. The thing is, to pray the Rosary for 30 days takes self-control, but we have been raised in a world that replaces self-control with the pursuit of self-gratification which is counter to every virtue including chastity.
If you recognize that you lack self-control in certain matters, with the help of God, and the growth in self-discipline, you can overcome that by His grace. It is He who works in you that makes it possible. It is not you alone. However, if you lack discipline and self-control to manage yourself at the little things, chances are you will be less successful at exercising discipline and self-control at the big things.
Discipline and self-control is something that we must practice daily, otherwise we won’t get good at it.
Below is a list of ways you can practice self-control in the littlest of ways, which will lead to great of transformation over time – from being reactive to proactive in your life. Measure your daily activities against the items of this list, and take an honest inventory of where you are at.
1. When your alarm goes off, don’t hit the snooze button.
2. Open your day with a short prayer.
3. Get out of bed after prayer (or intimate time with your spouse).
4. Do x-many push-ups or sit-ups per morning, add one each day until you hit a target.
5. Set your bed before you leave your room.
6. Get dressed before you leave your room/bathroom.
7. Do not spend time on social media before work.
8. Control your portions at breakfast at home.
9. Have a well-balanced breakfast at home.
10. Shovel the driveway before you leave for work (winter).
11. Brush and floss your teeth.
12. Shower or wash daily.
13. Before bed, do remaining dishes.
14. Ensure unused lights are shut off.
15. No Internet after 8pm, and no Smartphone/Laptop in your room.
16. Have a set supper time.
17. Shave appropriately.
18. Plan your meals.
19. Pray before meals.
20. Pray the Rosary daily (25 minutes).
God’s Mercy is greater than our sins, but angels are greater than us. However, even the lowest in Heaven is greater than the highest fallen angel. For that reason, pray without ceasing, and watch your life transform.