Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical Amoris Laetitia he asks married couples us to apply a new approach when they disagree called “reconciled diversity”.
This is a beautifully written concept which takes that old adage of “agree to disagree” to a new level. One that is more Christ like, more faith filled. Now being a mother of a child who experiences same sex attraction, I have taken away a few key points from his exhortation and have put a bit of a spin on it to help me enrich my relationship with my child.
139. Keep an open mind. Don’t get bogged down in your own limited ideas and opinions, but be prepared to change or expand them.
Be open to my child, “LISTEN” to him. Do not shut him out otherwise you will lose him. Listen with an open heart and pray Jesus will bring him back to the truth.
The unity that we seek is not uniformity, but a “unity in diversity”, or “reconciled diversity”. Fraternal communion is enriched by respect and appreciation for differences within an overall perspective that advances the common good. We need to free ourselves from feeling that we all have to be alike.
We are not all alike. My child experiences same sex attraction. This is as real to him as being attracted to the opposite sex is to me. However, because he feels that way does not mean that I, as a faithful Catholic, agree with his actions. I have to accept him as he is and help bring him back to Holy Mother Church through prayer and compassion.
A certain astuteness is also needed to prevent the appearance of “static” that can interfere with the process of dialogue. For example, if hard feelings start to emerge, they should be dealt with sensitively, lest they interrupt the dynamic of dialogue. The ability to say what one is thinking without offending the other person is important. Words should be carefully chosen so as not to offend, especially when discussing difficult issues. Making a point should never involve venting anger and inciting hurt. A patronizing tone only serves to hurt, ridicule, accuse and offend others.
When we disagree I must keep my cool and apply the virtue of prudence to chose my words carefully. I love my child and want only his true happiness, both now and for eternity. I am sharing the “Good News” with him, not the litany of condemnation. Therefore, my approach must be compassionate, joyful and hopeful. After all, who in their right mind would want to join the Church of NO and sad faces?
What alters the mood, however, is the way things are said or the attitude with which they are said.
Again, the Catholic faith proclaims the “Good News.” My speech must reflect the hope, joy and love which flows as a well spring from the New Testament.
After much time and effort on my part using failed approaches, such as, arguing, crying, bribery and begging I have come to the conclusion that only The love of Jesus Christ can change his heart. For now we have a Reconciled Diversity and through the Grace of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will continue to use me to help bring him back to our beautiful faith and Holy Mother Church.