Why Should I feel bad?

 

Why Should I feel bad?

As a mother of a child with same sex attraction I often feel ‘bad and sad’. Sad, full of regrets about my actions in the past; and sad, full of anxieties about my child’s future both in this life and especially for the next.

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In search for relief I have begun to read my bible. Something I did not do till recently. Especially when I feel overwhelmed with ‘badness and sadness’. One of my favorite passages to turn to is found in Philippians.

PH 4:6-9

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Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.Then the God of peace will be with you.”

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I read and re-read this passage which St Paul wrote two thousand years ago and even though I know he was speaking to the members of the newly formed followers of Christ called then, the Way. I wonder to myself if there were mothers there, who like me have children with same sex attraction, who upon listening to St. Paul’s word and contemplating upon it found relief through hope in God’s mercy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER!

 

James 5:16, 19-20

Declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may find healing. The fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed. My brothers, the case may arise among you of someone straying from the truth, and of another bringing him back. Remember this: the person who brings a sinner back from his way will save his soul from death and cancel a multitude of sins.

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Sometimes I stumble across a passage of scripture that truly resonates with our apostolate.  Just last week our group promised to pray for each other’s children who bear the burden of Same Sex Attraction.    Then today after praying for that person, I found in the Brievary  this reading embedded in the Evening Prayer.

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God smiles upon those who accept their cross yet find it within their own heart to reach out to others that are hurting.  During this Lenten season, let us extend our prayers to others who can really use them.

Remember we ARE God’s servants

 

Today’s reflection from Bishop Robert Barron certainly sheds light on the journey for every parent who deals with a loved one with Same-Sex -Attraction.  He really identifies the mission of EnCourage, especially me as a Deacon and others in a similar position, when he tells us that we cannot only dump our own troubles at the foot of our Lord but need to take the additional action of reaching out to those to help them on this rocky road.  As a member of the clergy we must be the beacon of light for our parents to confide in. Below after the gospel are the words of his Excellency:

 

Click here for the Gospel

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus turns his sharp eye and withering critique on the many ways that religious leaders fall into corruption. What precisely is bothering Jesus? Some religious leaders get their kicks from burdening people, laying the law on them heavily, making demands that are terrible, exulting in their own moral superiority.

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At the core of Jesus’ program is a willingness to bear other people’s burdens, to help them carry their loads. And this applies to the moral life as well. If we lay the burden of God’s law on people, we must be willing, at the same time, to help them bear it. Another classic problem with religious people and especially religious leaders: they use the law and morality as a means of inflating the ego. The trouble is that this drug wears off rather quickly, and then we want more of it. We need a greater title, more respect, more recognition.

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What is Jesus’ recommendation for those caught in this dilemma? To be great is to be a servant: lowly, simple, often forgotten. Eschew marks of respect; don’t seek them. Be satisfied with doing your work on behalf of God’s kingdom, whatever it is.”

 

QUALITY OF LOVE

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The above picture encompasses many conversations we have had over the past few years.  As parents we need to continually strive to  reinforce our own spiritual well being through prayer and devotion to God before being able to reach out to help other especially our own children.  Let us lean on the Lord to show us how to do this, how to truly love ourselves and then radiate that love upon our family and friends trapped in the snare of SSA.

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Today Bishop Robert Barron gives us an amazing reflection on how to strive toward this goal:

Friends, our Gospel today is the scene of the Last Judgment. We hear that the specifics are a matter of love concretely expressed: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” And we know the famous connection that Jesus makes: “…whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
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There is something awful about the specificity of these demands. This is not love in the abstract, having affection for “humanity.” It is caring for that person who is homeless, for that person who is ill, for that person who is in prison.
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We do not take our money, our social status, our worldly power, into the next world; but we do take the quality of our love. You might consider doing an examination of conscience at the end of each day, and use as your criterion this passage. Perhaps put it up on your wall or post it next to your bed so that you see it before you go to sleep.

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LENT WITH BROTHER CASEY

 

RESTORING WHAT IS DISORDERED

 

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Pleasure. A delicious meal, a beautiful symphony at the theater, a hot shower after a long day in the cold. With five senses and billions of nerves in the human body, there are an infinite number of ways to experience pleasure from the world around us. What a wonderful part of the human experience, am I right?

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A little over a century ago, the prevailing moral norms of Victorian culture would not have agreed. Closely associating pleasure with sin, leaders sought to remove pleasure completely from normal life. If it felt good, they thought, it was morally bad. Pleasure was from the devil. Adherents avoided meat and filled themselves with bran and coarsely ground wheat flour; sleep was often brief and interrupted; exercise was regular and excessive; clothing was restrictive and covered as much as possible; and anything that might lead to carnal desire was removed from their routine. In every way possible, pleasure was to be avoided, repressed, mitigated, and replaced with austerity and denial.

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Now, far removed from these external practices (and arguably on the other end of the spectrum), I can’t help but wonder if the mindset of that age still has a hold on us. Even in the midst of a pleasure-seeking culture today, I get the sense that many people still associate pleasure with sin. There is a part of us, I think, that still feels guilty when something is too good.

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Is pleasure really from the devil? Is it something that we should be concerned about?

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For an answer to this, I look to one of my favorite books of all time: C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Imagining a corporate world of demons whose sole purpose is to lure people away from God, the book consists of 31 letters of advice from an experienced demon to his nephew, offering insight into the human experience and tips as to how the young demon can best tempt his assigned human. In one such letter, Screwtape, the experienced demon, offers a discussion on pleasure and how it might be used to exploit the human, but also warns against it:

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“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, as times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence, we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable” (The Screwtape Letters, Letter 9).

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In other words, the purest form of every pleasure—that which is most original and most pleasing—is actually from God, and is quite good. What the devil offers us are easier, cheaper knockoffs that are only distortions of the gifts we have been given, and eventually leaves us dissatisfied. Things like food, drink, reputation, power, money, authority, pride, comfort, and, yes, sex, are all gifts that originate in God and are in fact good in themselves. But sometimes, recognizing that these great things come from God and have been given to us to share for the sake of the world, we can seek them solely for the sake of pleasure, separate from an experience of God and at the expense of healthy relationships. Nothing the devil offers us can ever be better than what we are already offered by God.

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As we begin Lent and enter into a period of sacrifice and simplicity, often giving up some of the pleasures of our world, I think it is important to keep this truth at the center of our focus. When we sacrifice things during this season, we do not do so because pleasure is bad and we need to purify ourselves of it. We sacrifice things so as to restore what has been distorted in us, to strip ourselves of the bad habits we’ve created and the false truths we’ve accepted so we can return with perfect vision and utmost focus on the one who created the pleasures in the first place. For a moment, we give up all that is extra in our life so that we can truly know and rely on what, and who, is most essential: our relationship with God.

 

 

Follow Brother Casey at:

blog.franciscanmedia.org/lent-with-br.-casey-restoring-what-has-been-distorted

HOLY ROSARY FOR ENCOURAGE PARENTS

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I came came across this absolutely wonderful interpretation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary as we pray for those who are burdened with Same-Sex Attraction.  Join us, if you can, in this powerful prayer.

 

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I The Agony in the Garden

Oh Jesus, during your agony in the garden, your Heart was filled with sorrow to the point of death, look kindly upon all the men and women, the girls and boys with Same Sex Attraction, and upon parents, families and friends, who suffer great agonies of the mind and spirit because of this affliction. Bring them Courage to live in your Truth and consolation in all their sorrows.

 

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II The Scourging at the Pillar

Oh Jesus, You were brutally scourged at the pillar, crushed with blow after blow upon your innocent flesh until You were flayed beyond recognition fulfilling the words of Isaiah, “I am a worm and no man.” Look with great pity now upon your children, who bear the scourges of SSA and their families. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but in your Mercy, heal us by your stripes.

 

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III The Crowning with Thorns

Oh sweet Jesus, our beloved King, in your passion You were crowned not with every precious jewel of our hearts but instead with cruel, long and sharp thorns thrust into your Sacred Head. You were covered not with our deepest devotion and gratitude but instead You were draped in derision and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages. Sweet Jesus, forgive us our sins and look with an abundance of Mercy on the remorse that is borne by all those with SSA and their families, the failings we bring upon ourselves and contriteness poured on them by others and society. Oh stand before us Jesus, that we may “Behold the Man” and by your crowning of thorns follow You always.

 

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IV The Carrying of the Cross

Oh Jesus, You carried the cross laden with our sins and the sins of the world. Crushed under its weight your innocent body fell numerous times and each time You struggled to your feet to carry on the work of our salvation. You allowed that you would meet your sorrowful mother and behold her tears. Look now upon all who bear the cross of SSA either directly or for a loved one. See their struggle and pain under so heavy a load! Look with pity upon their sorrowing hearts as You looked upon your own Mother’s tears. Grant that by your perfect and incalculable suffering, we may find our yoke easy and our burden light as we follow you to Calvary.

 

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V The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord upon the Cross

Oh Jesus, our Savior and King, You willingly laid upon the wood of the cross and were fastened there with the nails of our mortal sins. You were stretched out beyond the limits of imagination that your arms might embrace us. You hung in complete agony thirsting for our souls and our love. You cried out from your depths that you were abandoned by God, and still You thought of us and bled for us to the very last drop. Oh great, unbounded and merciful pain, look now upon all of those who suffer immensely with the burdens of SSA, their feelings of abandonment, confusion, and guilt. Embrace us sweet Jesus as You draw us so close that we hang upon the cross with You and there may we hide in Your wounds, be covered by your Precious Blood, and be forever yours.