Posted by: matt25 | November 12, 2014

A Nagging Question I Keep Asking God, My Spiritual Director, Others, & Myself

Before I share my nagging question with you may I ask another? Do you have one of those questions yourself? If you do, then you will know what I am talking about when I say it can be frustrating to be unable to put the answer in a nice neat box in colorful wrapping paper and fastened with a bow. Here is the question that has dogged me since my time in formation.

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How do I share the love of God and the truth of the Catholic faith with people who have embraced different philosophies and ways of living?

That is the question now, which applies in a more universal sense, but the specific question to my spiritual director that led to it was this.

How do I minister to those who have same sex attractions and have embraced a gay lifestyle, with love and without watering down or compromising my faith?

That seems to be a question which much of the church is wrestling with since Francis became the Bishop of Rome. It has certainly been getting a great deal of press in both the mainstream media and the blogosphere over the last year. I was drawn to a couple of posts by the Anchoress this morning that speak to this in both the specific and more universal form of my question.

The first was this post about a new book that has come out entitled “Gay And Catholic”. This is a book that I think will be a good and challenging read for me.

The second was a post from September which she gave the title “Why Dolan, and Francis, and Benedict Are Right”. This includes a statement from Elizabeth Scalia that truly resonated with me.

We are, in every age, called to be a missional church. Catholic missionaries used to head for the jungles, seeking to serve people who had never heard of Christ. Now, we must head into the jungle of confused popular culture and idols, and relative morality and social and sexual deconstruction. And there we must set our tents, and meet and serve the people who do not know Jesus Christ.

Herein lies the answer, perhaps. To love each life we encounter without judging the person, for judgement belongs to God. To help each person in their needs in as much as we are able, for that is what the Gospel demands. To walk with them in friendship as we share the way, the truth, and the life which brings all of us out of our own sinful existence into an ever deeper communion with God, for that is the call of our baptism. And to challenge their understandings as we allow them to challenge our own, for this is the way of dialog which helps uncover truth in charity.

There is no nice neat box in colorful wrapping paper, fastened with a bow here. There is only the messy struggle of life wrapped up in the pursuit of life lived with love, meaning and truth. Please pray for me to have the grace to live that way as I now pray for you.

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Responses

  1. I think that you have to demonstrate that you believe what you teach. You also need to understand and bring to the surface the real motivations for someone’s same-sex attraction and ask, “Why is it more important to you to follow and succumb to what is a reasonably unnatural sexual impulse rather than to correct and orient that impulse toward true procreation in honor of God who gave you that impulse for that purpose…to cooperate with Him in bringing new beloved children into the world?”

    • I pray that I will have the grace to live always in a way that demonstrates that I believe what I teach. I have come to believe that the most important work we do for God and each other is done one to one. As such there will never be a one size fits all approach to spiritual direction or pastoral counseling. There are some general principles to follow like knowing it is usually more important to listen than it is to speak, in order to be able to meet another soul where they actually are, rather than where I think they are. In this way I can do a better job of walking awhile with them. It may be that in a specific circumstance your suggestion would be the exact right approach, so I thank you for sharing it with me. God bless you and happy Thanksgiving.

      • Yes. Our position on what is true and just must not bend, but we must bend our ear to their position and listen and determine if they are open to good counsel or not. God grants free will, and we can only counsel to the extent that they are willing to listen and consider what God has revealed as His will. If they do not listen or do not desire to listen (and they have the free will to choose to listen or not), then we brush off the dust from our sandals…They have chosen not to except God’s gentle approach to their salvation. As such, they have chosen their own path which may be terrible in the end.


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