Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As Catholics, during the entire month of June we are devoted in a special way to the Sacred Heart. It is a beautiful celebration of God’s love for us, because in the Sacred Heart we see captured in one image the great depths of that love – God was willing to have His heart broken for us. As the soldier pierced Christ’s side, he pierced his heart too, and from it flowed the water of our rebirth in baptism and the blood that would wash us of sin and make us whiter than snow. We witness the moment where the graces won by the passion and death of our Lord are meted out so abundantly. And we witness the perfect expression of what love truly is – the laying down of one’s life for another, the selfless sacrifice for the good of another.
This month our world has a very different celebration, and that is “Pride Month.” Our society recognizes in a particular way those of the LGBTQ community. And while as Christians we certainly love every one of our brothers and sisters no matter their desires and inclinations, we know our Church has clear reservations about how those desires and inclinations should be expressed. This is certainly a very difficult topic, and it pains me as a priest that so many struggle and are hurt by these teachings. Yet perhaps what is most worth reflecting on, is the fact that even for a priest, if one were to preach and write about these teachings, so many Catholics would be up in arms, so many would consider that priest harsh and bigoted.
While I do wholeheartedly believe in the teachings of our faith, I am inclined, rather than to present those teachings, to ask a very different question. Are we willing to give our faith a chance? What does it say about our faith, if we disagree so passionately about a teaching our faith challenges us with? Do we not trust God and His Church? Are we willing to explore why our Mother the Church, why our Heavenly Father would ask us to follow such challenging teachings, teachings that can bring so much heartbreak?
Because what it ultimately comes down to is love, but in a very different way than our world sees it. As Christians we look to the love of Christ on the cross, the love of the Sacred Heart which is utterly other centered. We think of the love of a God willing to die for us so that we may be eternally happy. The world though sees love as a matter of self-fulfillment, and not only in the realm of same-sex attraction. Today, every marriage, perhaps every relationship, is conditional – I stay as long as I am happy, as long as you make me happy. Love as service has been turned on its head to become love as satisfaction. It’s something in which all of us need to challenge ourselves.
In a world then that thinks so differently than Christ and his Church, I ask if we have truly given God a chance when it comes to these difficult topics. Do we believe that He loves us and wants what’s best for us? Are we willing to go against the tide by exploring and coming to know why we hold to those moral standards? My prayer is that we all keep that open mind, and please know I am always willing to meet and chat about this difficult and often painful topic. But seeing the great love of God poured out in the Sacred Heart, let us all pray for the grace to trust Him and love Him all the more in return.
Yours in Christ,