The Gift of Homosexuality
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?