Some interesting stuff by Chris Damian over on Spiritual Friendship.
TheÂ CatechismÂ teaches that, while all people are equal in dignity, God also makes differences among people. â€œThese differences belong to Godâ€™s plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular â€˜talentsâ€™ share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods.â€
I have not always appreciated the ways in which God has made me different. For a long time, I used to pray that God would make me stop being gay. It gave me particular struggles. It made discernment difficult. It was painful. All I could see was adisordered and broken part of myselfÂ that Iâ€™d rather do away with. I had failed to grasp the truth that,Â as C. S. Lewis once put it, â€œevery disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, which will â€˜turn the necessity to glorious gain.â€™â€
Part of being gay is learning how to purify particular impure desires. But this is only a small part ofÂ what being gay means to me. Somewhere, beyond theÂ mere â€œdisorder,â€ I began to realize that God had given me gifts that many of my â€œstraightâ€ friends didnâ€™t have in quite the same way: a particular kind of empathy, an acute understanding of othersâ€™ personal sufferings and loneliness, intense loyalty, a strong desire for emotional intimacy, a unique appreciation for certain forms of beauty.
I came to discover that I loved my friends, especially my male friends, in ways that were different from my â€œstraightâ€ friends. I came to realize that being gay comes with particular kind of love, a love that can be dangerous if disordered, but that can also be very life-giving if ordered well.
Advising gay youth can be very difficult, because adolescents are in a difficult stage of life. For some adolescents,Â same-sex-attraction can be transitory, but for many, like me, it sticks around. So if a high school student came up to me and told me he thought he was gay,Â I hope Iâ€™d tell himÂ something like: â€œWell, this might be hard for you. But know that everything God offers you is a gift. Seek to draw yourself more fully into the Church and to discernÂ how this might be a giftÂ in your lifeÂ and in othersâ€™ lives.â€
This is not at all to say, â€œDo whatever you want with this gift.â€ But it is to take note of the fact that, as one of my professors once put it, the resurrected Christ is the disabled Christ. Heâ€™s the Christ with wounds in His body. Christâ€™s wounds are disabilities, but they are not â€œmere disabilities.â€ They are the signs and sources of our redemption. They are Godâ€™s greatest gift. And Godâ€™s desires to take our ownÂ disabilities, and turn them into redeemedÂ giftsÂ as well.
Is being homosexual a gift in the conservative Christian paradigm? I think it is – it makes you aware of your own frailty and teaches you things about relying on God that you would never have learnt otherwise. But is it a gift for the Church? And if so, how?