We often find ourselves trying to rewrite the past of what could have been and can’t get past the story we make up in our own minds. We look for another way, some of us try to get even, we lie, curse and play games back at the one who wronged us in some way.
One thing that has occurred to me of late is that maybe a watchmen’s role is not just to call out wickedness when we see it, but also to call out and recognize goodness when it’s present in somebody’s life. Maybe as watchmen, we are called to be witnesses to the fruit LGBTQ+ relationships are bearing.
Yes, I am terrified at the faintest glimpse of the real cost of discipleship. But God is exquisitely tender and patient and understands the weakness of my flesh, and recently I have found myself for the first time in my life given to see something of the joy that lies ahead - a fuller understanding of love, a gift not just for me, but for the whole church! Day by day I see more clearly the goodness of the news I have been given, how much Love is nurturing those parts of me I thought long destined for the grave.
Even in desolation, we can trust that Christ will be united with our desires in order for us to be fruitful in the world. We accept his call to determine the contours of heaven through our just actions and sincere prayers. We co-create with God—not through the work of flesh and blood—but through the work of the Spirit. No matter how “stuck” we may feel, God is always drawing our souls closer to the beatific vision.
We continue our fights for justice, inclusion, and an end to brutality even though structures or people in power might try to deny the many gifts that we bring into this world simply because we are LGBTQ+ or BIPOC or homeless. But, St. Paul reminds us that the gifts and the call of God are not given only to straight, white men with power. Rather, St. Paul tells us we are all called by God and that “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” We continue our fights for justice because we are the Body of Christ in this world.
How many times have we doubted—not that the Lord will save us if it all goes wrong, but that actually, nothing is going wrong at all? The Lord is saving us? We’re already where we’re supposed to be? How many times have we begged to be saved from a situation that the Lord created as a gift to us: a challenge, a mistake, a complicated relationship, a scary transition, a new season in life, power and responsibility, growing pains?
I won’t lie and say that it isn’t still a struggle sometimes. I’m not sure if the Church will ever fully embrace me and some days I feel hopeless. Nevertheless, I hang on to words I heard from Fr. James Martin: “God loves you and your Church is learning to love you.” God loves us, that’s what really matters; the Church will catch up in time.
Before it became the ultimate forbidden fruit, the Praeputium Domini was one of the most holy relics in Christendom centuries before medieval legends of King Arthur’s search for the mythical Holy Grail gained popularity.
For the longest time, I felt I could never explore the priesthood or ministry because my homosexuality made me too broken to help others. Then, like a bolt of lightning, I came to learn in prayer that Jesus was using that brokenness to lead me to sainthood... And eventually, I even came to realize that being gay wasn’t the cross I was given at all. Being gay was the gift!
It is easy, sometimes, to get caught in a loop, oscillating between the two. Mercy, justice. Justice, mercy. I know that I certainly do this all too often. One day I’ll get down on myself, wrapped up in thoughts of my own sins, all the ways in which I’ve failed God. I’ll give myself over to fear and anxiety. And then I’ll get some reminder of God’s mercy, of Their forgiveness and love for me. And I’ll be so full of joy and hope that eventually, I forget myself and mess up in some way. And when that happens, it’s back to fear and despair.