Not too long ago I stumbled upon a box containing old journals. They chronicled some tough times many years back, and it was illuminating for me to read them again. To revisit such things makes me aware of how far life has taken me.
One portion of the journal was dedicated to very rough ideas I had of things to write about. Here’s one of those ideas.
A naked man awakens, trapped in the brambles of a stark wilderness. It is his first conscious moment, and he looks around the barren land, touches the bleeding wounds on his body and asks simply, “WHY?”
In the desolate darkness, he sees a wealthy man riding near, coming towards him. The man dismounts, and walks near to the man in the brambles. He covers the man with his cloak, and is then naked himself. Suddenly, the first man sees that his wounds are healed. He gazes in wonder upon the wealthy man, who now bleeds in his stead.
I was the man in the brambles, many years ago, but there was no rescue in sight at the time. I was asking the cosmic, “why?” that I believe we all must ask at some point in our lives if we’re honest.
It is good news to know that rescue came indeed.
Well, today has been an interesting one. I just got booked for a couple of TV shows on EWTN.
It seems that 2014 is turning into a rather surprising and exciting year.
I’ll keep you all posted when I know more.
I have a thousand thoughts whirling through my head after this week. After Wichita, I came back home, and then spoke at a conference in Ann Arbor where I shared my story and the good news of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality to a mixed age audience of over 200 people.
As I think back on this week, all I really want to do is to do another week like this all over again. The first question that I received from the kids in Wichita on the second day was a kind question: how do I find the strength and courage to get up in front of a gymnasium full of high school kids talking about parts of my life that I never wanted to talk publicly about.
I told them that when I received the schedule I saw that there was a Theology On Tap happening, so that I came for the beer. That got a little bit of a laugh, but as I reflect on the week, I realize it doesn’t take tons of “strength and courage” to do this, because I want to do it. Call me crazy, but this week has been immensely energizing and fulfilling for me, for one reason: the students who were sitting in those gyms living with an attraction to the same sex, like I might have been over 25 years ago. I want to go speak to those kids. Especially kids like the girl who thanked me for coming and told me that she had never before met a homosexual person who wants to be close to God and live a Catholic life, and that she was so glad she finally got to.
I want to go talk to every student like her! I can’t imagine a more fulfilling thing to do in this life.
As the kids say: YOLO.
I just got home from a whirlwind two days in Wichita. I had a great time there, and find that speaking about the good news of the Catholic Church is invigorating and exhilarating, even if it’s also quite exhausting. In two days, I spoke to two Catholic High Schools to about 2000 kids, did a Theology On Tap presentation (which was one of the highlights of the trip), did a radio interview, and then did a presentation for parents. A busy, exciting, and remarkably fulfilling two days. I’ll be writing more about my experience soon, but for now, here’s a photo a friend took at one of the high schools. I certainly never dreamed when I was in high school that I’d be talking about the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality to a bunch of high schoolers. But you never know where God will lead you, especially since we know He moves in mysterious ways.
I love this man! Father Check, head of the Courage Apostolate was the commander of a Marine tank division in the first Gulf War. I like to think of him as being my spiritual “captain.” His favorite Biblical character is the Centurion, and I’ve taken great comfort in knowing that the Courage Apostolate is in such capable hands. And I’m very happy too to be in his platoon. He is a great spiritual father to me, and I can’t thank him enough for his investment in my life and in the lives of all of the good men and women in Courage and all those in the Church who live with same sex attraction.
He recently gave an interview in Rome, which appeared on today’s Catholic News Agency website, on the subject of the Pope’s comments on the plane from Brazil about homosexuality. It’s excellent. I’ve excerpted it in its entirety. Continue reading
I was quite struck by the second reading today in Mass, from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:
When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.
I think it’s good when we proclaim the good news of the Gospel that we come from a place of weakness, and not worry so much about having persuasive words. I know I tend to think too much about, “well, if only I had said that better, or said this in that way,” but it seems pretty clear to me that St. Paul wasn’t so worried about “human wisdom” as much as he was focused on “Christ crucified.”
St. Francis de Sales has a very good line in one of his letters on spiritual direction, where he essentially says to an abbess that she needs to always remember that God doesn’t really have any need for her to do anything He wants to get done. (The point being not that she shouldn’t be working, but rather that she shouldn’t imagine that she actually has any power to affect people’s lives without the grace of God behind her.) Before he was Pope, Ratzinger wrote something on the New Evangelization that God brings men to God, through God. We may be the very unnecessary vessels that He uses, but the key, it seems to me, is to always approach such things with the belief that “God has no need of me.”
And then go do it.
This coming week will see me doing a bit of traveling. I’ll be heading to Wichita for a few days to speak to a couple of Catholic high schools, as well as speaking to parents in a separate talk. I’m also very excited about doing an event Tuesday night for Theology On Tap. If you’re somewhere near Wichita, you can come hear me blab away at 8:00 at River City Brewing Co. As a total beer hound, I have to admit I’m really looking forward to this!
On Saturday, February 15, I’ll be participating in a conference held at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. The day long conference, called A Christian Response to a Sexualized Culture should be a great event.
Christian Response to a Sexualized Culture