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.
Indeed, fruit has a history, especially the forbidden kinds.
Many people are referring to this moment in America as a tipping point in the movement for racial justice here in our country. But this moment is part of a centuries-long movement that has grown and evolved throughout the decades. Today’s protests and difficult conversations and pushes for meaningful change are preceded by the actions and cries of our ancestors. We would not be here without the work of Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks and Marsha P. Johnson and Angela Davis and so many other fore-mothers (and other fore-fathers and fore-parents). They sowed seeds relentlessly, courageously, passionately.
Now is the time to learn engage the head and the heart. The head is the Eucharist, which feeds the body. The heart is mystical union with Christ through prayer, which helps individuals discern how they are uniquely called to share the love of God in the world. For the good of the Church and the world, the heart must be allowed to free us to love each other and the head must strengthen us in doing so.
The most Catholic country in Southeast Asia also hosts the largest Pride celebration in the region.
I remember what I was feeling on that street corner at Pride. As I stood there with a “baby gay” expression written all over my face, I remembered something a wise priest once told me roughly six years earlier. When confronting his own breaking heart, he said, “Jesus has made it abundantly clear in all my years of prayer: He allows my heart to break in order to make more room to love more people.” As I gazed into this crowd of LGBTQ family members and allies, I felt the Holy Spirit pour new insight into my soul.
While sodomy laws proliferated in the sexually repressive culture of late nineteenth-century America, they became legal instruments of state-sponsored terror against African Americans in the Jim Crow south. Proclaiming pseudoscientific racist theories of Black hypersexuality, southern states passed harsh laws against interracial coupling and used sodomy laws as pretexts to incarcerate or lynch Black men.
To acknowledge Christ is to obey his words and commands, the highest of which are to love God above all else and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. Those who persecute minorities, whether because of skin color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation/gender identity, or place of origin openly deny both of those commands, for when we refuse to love our neighbor, by extension we refuse to love God, who is just as present in our neighbor as He is in us. In doing so, those who refuse to obey those commandments effectively deny Christ before men, who will then in turn deny them before the Father.