G: How did you sleep child?
L: Like a baby, Lord.
G: You have more preaching to do, don’t you? On a Justice and Mercy theme, perhaps?
L: Lord, this is going to be the Mother of all rants, and some people will, I am afraid, be a little annoyed with me. I am so angry that You Yourself, even in Your Sovereign Charity, may have to hold me back.
G: I told you I don’t keep you in chains. I let you off the leash. Now go get them.
L: Thank you Jesus. But there we go. I can’t be all things to all men all of the time. Besides which, I am trying to avoid being any things to any men any of the time, what with carefully avoiding all occasions of sin, since I last repented and resolved to sin no more. It’s bloody hard I can tell you, reader. So, it turns out that the Government, under the oversight of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Rt. Hon Tony Blair, though there is nothing honourable about this bill, is drawing up a plan to allow church groups to sack employees who are gay or lesbian or are in gay or lesbian relationships. Oh boy! Let me at them, Lord, let me at them!
G: What is wrong with this bill, Laurence?
L: It is utterly contrary to the Gospel, Lord.
L: If church organisations really sacked everyone who they thought was sinful then they wouldn’t have any staff left. For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. And if they were honest rather than the cowards and liars that they are towards gays then would also have to sack themselves. Mind you, if they have that attitude towards people and that lack of respect for human dignity then maybe it would be better if they didn’t have any staff at all. Christians? My arse!
G: Succinct and utterly sublime. See, he is a good writer.
|Blair: Known in some Catholic circles as 'Nero'|
Remember, dear man, that I am not the one who has sanctioned the killing of innocent civilians in Iraq. You are. I have the sin of Sodom on my conscience and so you should have that on yours. And I am sure you do. Oh and by the way on that subject, if you are going to listen to the advice of any man on such issues as the theory of a just war, then listen to the holiest man on earth, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope John Paul II. Instead you decided to listen to someone who from what I can see is not the holiest man on earth, President George W Bush. Out of the two I know which one I would choose to listen to. If you are going to come to Westminster Cathedral and worship, then revere the opinion of our Pope. I know I do! I revere his opinion so much that I haven’t been to a gay bar on the pull in ages. God knows how many more times I would have sinned so very mortally if I was not listening to the advice of that man!
And so I return to my original argument. What would a church group do with me I wonder, if they found out I was gay, or had a boyfriend? Would they sack me? I am gay, and I might crack one day and get into a relationship for some warmth and comfort in what is a damn lonely life, and I might have gay sex again, though, as I say, there by the Grace of God, go I. Would a church organisation sack me, a Catholic, for my sin? Never mind that this book will possibly rival some of the greatest works of spiritual literature of all time, they might still sack me for my identity. So come on, Prime Minister Blair! Where is your Christian love and forgiveness, and where is it in the church groups who may sack their workers for being who they are?
Who is my neighbour asked the young man in the Gospel? Well, I put it to all who read this book, that I am your neighbour, and so are all the other homosexuals that God has called you to love as well! We have rights and a God-given dignity. I may sometimes demean that dignity through sin, but God loves me all the same and has the power to restore me to new life, hope and holiness. So, in conclusion then, in the light of the Holy Gospel, such a bill is complete crap and in complete opposition to the words of our Lord, who told us, ‘Judge not and you shall not be judged.’ One thing about being a gay man, with all the baggage that comes with that, is that if there is one thing I am trying to avoid, it is judging others, lest the Lord seize me and give me what I truly deserve. I shall say no more. I am done. I have said my piece.
G: This is the Gospel of the Lord. Do you feel at peace?
L: Not at all, Lord, such things make me furious. Also, the fact that I have got angry with someone who in all other respects is an excellent Prime Minister has thoroughly disturbed my peace. Love is not easily angered, and neither should I be. But some things need to be said. Also my sins get me down, what with all the crimes I have committed against You. I thoroughly deserve your punishments and all I can do is trust in your Great Mercy.
G: Trust Me.
L: O my Jesus of Mercy, I trust in You! Look not on our sins but the faith of Your Church. _________________________________________________________________________________
G: Are you ready?
L: Before we begin, my God, I am going to need a cigarette.
G: How was work?
L: You already know how work was, Lord. But for the sake of the reader I will tell You how work was. Bloody awful! I always remain of good cheer on the outside and I take my personal joy in fulfilling God’s Holy Will of rendering loving service and forgiveness with all that I meet. But tonight I felt awful because all I could think of was Beatrice.
G: I sense some resentment in your voice.
L: I hate to take it out on You, Lord, but I am going to anyway. Hang on, it is now 9.15pm and this book is about to get heavy, so any readers that want to stop reading now, please do so, and get your money back from the bookshop. It is going to be a late one, Lord.
G: Reader, if you haven’t taken pity on the sins of this young man of 25 by now, you are about to. Laurence is right. Things are about to get heavy. Have your cigarette, Peter, by God you need it and the reader might think about up smoking soon too.
L: Right. I have finished evangelising for the moment, and I am done with preaching the Gospel for now. There are more books for that. God, I feel sick! In fact, I would go as far as saying that I have never felt so sick in my entire life, apart from the day, that is that Beatrice and I split up over four years ago. This pain has never left me since, and if it was going to go away, then it would have done so by now. Am I correct, Lord, in thinking that this stone pain I feel in my tummy has little or nothing to do with the fact I am a repressed gay?
L: No, you are right, it has little or nothing to do with my sexuality. If the pain in my tummy was because I was repressed, then it would go away after I masturbate, and as we and the reader know, that’s quite often at the moment. No, reader the pain is due to something else that is nagging at my soul. It’s eating up my insides everyday, and I am still doubling up in pain now as I write from the pain that it is in my heart and soul. There are plenty of highly sexed gay men in the world who toss off regularly and who don’t have this deep pain. It’s her isn’t it, Lord?
G: Yes. It is.
L: My God! What was the point in finding You and learning from You, if I cannot win Beatrice back and love her and care for her!? All I ever think about is her! Everywhere I go I see things that remind me of her! By God! I saw that nodding dog today, and knew exactly why you thought it was a crap present. I became angry with You because I can’t forget her! When I saw it at work tonight I just wanted to smash it against the window and scream! By night You torture me with dreams of her! By day, you send me reminders of her! This God of mine, who I do love dearly, even though right now I could curse Him to His Holy Face is singing to me again. Do you want to know what song He is singing to me now? Do you want to know? It is called Win Your Love for Me by Sam Cooke.
It goes like this:
'Whoa-ooo little girl
How happy I would be If some Miracle,
Could win your love for me Win your love for me
Win your love for me Whoa-ooo win your love for me
Manys the days I've longed for you
To hold you in my arms
Manys the night I've cried for you
And for your many charms
If you'd only come to me
My heart wouldn't be full of sorrow
But now all I can do is hope and pray
That you come to me tomorrow
To me you are so beautiful
You're beautiful as a song
And when ever I look at you
My heart beats like a tom tom
If you'd only come to me
This torch I wouldn't have to carry
And if everything goes right
To the church we'll go to marry.'
Make it stop, Lord, make it stop!
G: Laurence is crying streams of tears, reader. You’ve never seen anything quite like it. Still, at least he isn’t hyperventilating.
L: You’re damn right I am crying, Lord, damn right I am, and you are damn right that I don’t understand it! If only that girl knew what she had done to me!
G: Is your tummy feeling a bit better now?
L: Yes, Lord, a little relieved thank you, the tears are helping. Reader, I can’t barely sleep! I can’t barely eat! I can’t barely do anything but think of her, and God knows I want to forget all about her and move on but I cannot. God knows! That girl brought me to my knees the very first time she left my room at university. As soon as she walked out, my legs gave way and I was down on my knees! God only knows, Beatrice. God only knows. Every time I saw her, every time we met, every time we spoke on the phone right up until the present day, my legs trembled and looked ready to give way under the weight of my love for her.
|'The force is strong with this one': Guinness in Star Wars|
Thanks for that Alec, that was just what I wanted to hear! Good for you, mate. Thanks, Lord, thanks a bunch! Am I insane reader, am I mad? Quite possibly, but driven mad by love for one girl and one girl alone.
So, the Lord today sends me from work to the One Stop Party Shop in Brighton to pick up a set of balloons for some lady at the office’s retirement celebration. I go to the shop where I am confronted by signs saying, ‘Your dreams come true,’ and look around and survey all the wedding confetti around me and it churns my heart over a thousand times. My dream isn’t going to come true because I am gay, reader! While at the One Stop Party Shop I haven’t got my lock for my bike so I am constantly looking out of the window of the shop to see my bike isn’t getting nicked.
G: So much for My having restored your faith in humanity.
L: Good point, well made, Lord. So, when I arrive back at the office I try to get through the revolving doors at work and get these balloons caught in them. Eventually some security man comes and swipes the doors so that I can get the balloons in. Then I get upstairs to find the shop gave the office the wrong colour balloons, so I go back to the shop and get a different colour. God, I didn’t mind one bit though, Lord as I was able to get out of the office and get some fresh air instead of inputting data all evening long. God, I hope this book sells, otherwise I really will have to get a proper day job! At least the second time around, thus proving, Lord that I can learn from my mistakes, I get the security guard to let me in the normal door. But Christ, all night long I felt this pain and missed Beatrice so much! O my Christ! Why don’t you just come back and judge me and take me out of this hell and by Your Mercy and Mercy alone take me to Heaven after having spent a long time in Purgatory! Am I being selfish now reader? Am I being selfish now?
L: Quite possibly, Lord, but sometimes a man has to vent! How long, O Lord? How long is this torment going to continue? Can you make me stop loving her? Can you make me stop wanting to be with her? No, “Here is your Cross,” you say, “Carry it until the End of Time. When you reach the other side, I will tell you why it had to be this way,” You say! Great, Lord, so be it! Amen. Why am I staying up all night every night to write this book, Lord? Is it for Your benefit? Is it for mine? No, it’s not for my benefit, Jesus, and probably not for anyone else’s either. But I am doing it all, because of her. Beatrice, indeed! Christ! I should have kept the original title, because although this book is about homosexuality, it is also about love – a declaration of undying love. My God! What I would give to be in the company of that girl for just one more day!
G: Do go on.
L: Reader, I have always been the kind of person who wears his heart on his sleeve. As I said earlier, I really don’t give a damn what the World thinks of me, because this World is passing away, and the opinion of men matters to me not a single dime. As I say, God’s Opinion of me is more vital than that of any man or woman alive, apart from my true love that is. Well reader, I remember one dream I had in Paris when I was with the adorable creature. I dreamt I was with her and then a load of men came along and carried me away from her. I was left screaming out for her, but they carried me away mercilessly. So, hey! What d’ you know? One of my dreams came true. Christ Almighty! Christ reader! You think I am a frustrated homosexual?
That’s only half the story! I also have a terrible case of frustrated love and it’s driving me mad. Don’t get me wrong, reader. This book is not a marriage proposal. As I say, it’s a declaration of undying love that it seems nothing, not even my homosexuality can conquer. As the good Lord said, many waters cannot quench love, for love is strong as death. Not that I equate homosexuality with death, reader. Don’t misunderstand me. I am confident enough in God’s Mercy that if I wanted to get a boyfriend and share love with a man I could do that. It wouldn’t even have to involve sex. But I am not in love with a man! I am, however, terribly and deeply in love with a girl. My God, I just noticed something in my Bible. G: Oh, so you do need your Bible then after all, Laurence.
L: You wrote the New Testament on my heart, Lord, not the Old. Crikey! You think I want to memorise Leviticus?! Lord, while I was at work tonight I got a phrase in my mind and heart that stayed with me.
G: What was that?
L: It was this, ‘Your love is more delicious than wine.’
G: The Song of Songs, indeed. A love song between a man and a woman.
L: Yes, Lord, a bit like that ‘Especially for You’ duet between Kylie and Jason. Also viewed widely in the Catholic Church as a love song between Christ the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride. The Song of Songs that is, not ‘Especially for You.’ G: So what is the first line in the Song of Songs?
L: The first line is this: ‘Shower me with kisses from your mouth: your love is more delicious than wine.’
G: Oh. Now there is a coincidence.
L: There are no coincidences, Lord. Only God-incidences.
G: Is there anything else in the Song of Songs that remind you of your true love?
L: Many, many things, Lord.
G: A few examples, please.
L: This bit.
'You are beautiful, my love, oh how beautiful you are!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats,
Streaming down the heights of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a sheep newly shorn,
Coming in droves from the washing,
Each one opposing its twin,
Not one has been left alone.
Your lips are like a thread scarlet;
Your voice is enchanting;
You cheeks behind your veil
Are like halves of a pomegranate.'
Is that a compliment, Lord? I am not so sure she would like to be seen as having cheeks like a pomegranate? Other than that, it all reminds me of her.
G: I don’t know dear. Now, what is the final passage at the end of the Song of Songs?
'Set me as a seal on your heart,
Set me as a seal on your arm,
For love is strong as death;
Its jealousy lasting as the power of death,
It burns like a mighty flame.
No flood can extinguish love
Nor river submerge it.
If a man were to buy love
With all the wealth of his house,
Contempt is all he would purchase.'
G: Your still gay, though aren’t you Laurence?
L: Yes, Lord.
G: Your still completely in love with Beatrice aren’t you Laurence?
L: Yes, Lord.
Unfortunately reader, life is just not black and white, but many shades of grey. When I was with her in the North, every man and woman within sight dissolved into nothingness. It may have just as well have been her and I and God in the World. My God, I love her. O, I love everything about her. The way she nods her head a little when she speaks to you, just nods it to one side, it’s so beautiful to see. The way she has a little yawn, Lord. She’s a dreamboat, Lord. And her voice, my God! Her voice sends me loopy with love and I could just melt. Her hair! Her beautiful soft, black hair! It’s like plunging your hand into the softest fluffiest pillow in the world. I can’t say it was like a stream of running goats in Gilead, because that sounds faintly ridiculous, but there we go. I do need to go on a writing course, after all, Lord. No, no, Lord, they can’t take that away from me.
G: Indeed, no man can take that away from you, Laurence.
L: No man can take away this pain in my tummy either, Lord. The only person who can do that, is her. My Lord and my God! There isn’t a day that goes past when I don’t wish she would walk through the front door, or send me a letter, or an email, or a text, or call. If she did any of things I would shed tears of joy. So dear girl, adorable Beatrice, what on earth do you make of all this? See, God is my Teacher and he tells me to love unselfishly, so I am resolved to carry on carrying my Cross and put your needs first and do all the things God tells me to do. However, I’m going to get you that yacht, whether God thinks you need a car or not. You can come to Brighton Marina and use it any time you like, as long as Mass is served once a day, as I said. This Cross of mine, it’s damn heavy though reader, I can tell you. Damn heavy! Still, God allows his loved ones to suffer. In so doing, we are able to give glory to God in imitating the virtue of His Divine Son suffering with us and for us on the Holy Cross. I think I am going to grab bite to eat.
G: Please do
L: O my Holy Christ.
L: Not really, Lord, it’s just that after I had eaten I had decided that I was going to tell the reader about St Valentine’s weekend.
L: So I get back to my computer after food and find my friend is online in South Korea. She and I talk on Messenger a little about how crap it is being in South Korea and there’s nothing to do before she asks this: “I am doing a crossword with the class, about St Valentine's Day - 4 down beginning with 'r', almond ----- What is it?”
G: Do you know the answer?
|St Valentine, Martyr of the Faith|
G: Sublime. See, you are still evangelizing.
L: Yes, Lord, it’s my vocation. People in the office were talking about organized religion tonight. Did I speak about the Catholic faith? No, Lord, for such matters are personal to each human being. As Your glorious Saint Francis once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Well, I can use words in a book because people have a choice if they want to read it or not, but I don’t push it on anyone in speech. Love is about giving people a choice, as Beatrice once so profoundly taught me.
G: By the way, why have we not revealed Beatrice’s true identity?
L: Because that would not be loving. She doesn’t need all that kind of crap when I get famous.
G: So, what happened on St Valentine’s weekend?
L: Well, Lord that was the weekend I went up to visit Beatrice and did all the things we have already talked about, most of which you have rebuked me for. The point was however, and I did mention this to Beatrice at the time, that I had prayed to St Valentine a few months before hand that I may be able to go and spend some time with her one day as I love her so much. Now for better or worse, if you will excuse the expression, I did go to the North to see Beatrice on St Valentine’s weekend because I had thought that St Valentine had answered my prayer that I may spend some time in her adorable company. It was only when I was there that I remembered why I was there on that weekend. Because of St Valentine.
G: But I thought I told you that you weren’t meant to be there.
L: I know that, Lord, but you are Omniscient and Omnipotent and know all things irrespective of the wisdom or lack thereof, of the choices that I make. To my mind, the Saint still answered my prayer.
G: Good answer. You are stubborn.
L: Aren’t I just!? So stubborn in fact that I am still trying to woo Beatrice even though I am a homosexual. So anyhow, while me and Beatrice were in the taxi on the way to the Divine Comedy bar in the North an advert comes on the cab radio and it goes something like this: ‘O my Beatrice, my darling Beatrice, I love you so, la la la, la la la…let’s get married,’ and then at the end it talks about using condoms on St Valentine’s Day. Well, Lord, I am a Catholic boy and therefore should not use those, but then there’s a lot of things I should not do that I do do. In the words of St Paul, I find myself doing those things I would rather not. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, right?
G: Absolutely, Rasputin.
L: Ouch! Ahem. Anyhow, that night I didn’t need them because I was about to find salvation in the bedroom and soak her flatmate’s bed with my tears and smoke even more cigarettes than I am smoking tonight. Which is going to be a heck of a lot because I just popped into Beatrice’s shop and got yet another pack of filthy fags.
G: Get to the point, Larry.
L: I am afraid there is no point, Lord. Just that the Saints can answer even these requests and that I want to thank St Valentine for praying to You so that I could spend just one weekend in the company of my beloved. I was able to hold her hand and kiss her beautiful brow and give her a good old hug and hold her adorable face. And I guess that deep down I am still hoping St Valentine can make my dream come true.
G: Yes, I know. Do you want to know Who St Valentine fell in love with?
L: Who, Lord, who?
L: O Lord. You are stubborn. Of course, God is bringing me back to earth now, because really and truly, reader, my dream is impossible. Do you want to know the reason?
G: The readers can’t answer that, Larry.
L: Oh yes, so they can’t.
G: Tell them the reason, Larry.
G: What time is it, Larry?
G: Do you want to carry on?
L: Why not, Lord? I shall carry on. I’ve nothing better to do with my life.
Dear reader, Maurice is the title of a film in which the central character has a wife and settles down with children. He loves her deeply. However, then during the course of the marriage he falls for a man. The consequences are devastating! He has a sexual affair with the man and destroys his family life like so many gay men who didn’t know they were gay or refused to admit it to themselves until well into their marriage often do.
My God! Indeed, the one you love is sick! Love makes me sick! Now reader, now will you, if you haven’t already taken pity on my sins, please do so? Even if the girl in question felt the same way as I do about her, and I am not even sure she does, following the Law of Love as given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ I would be making a grave error if I ever asked any girl to marry me because the pull in the other direction is so very strong. I am a victim, and so is any potential future wife, dear readers, of my inherent human weakness. I am still a homosexual. That is why I have to buy her a yacht and probably a car too and tell her I love her but let the beautiful, darling girl go to be happy in her life. See reader, the Lord always pulls me back down to earth in the end. Christ, I’ve nearly polished off a whole bottle of wine and even though I am behaving as a drunkard the Lord is still talking to me. He loves sinners you see.
By the way, just to preach the Gospel, I would say, though I am not drinking on the streets, why shouldn’t I? Have you ever seen yourself on a Friday night in the centre of town getting steamingly pissed? And then we have the audacity to judge alcoholics who are drinking in the streets during the day. Where is the difference?
G: Good point.
L: I know, Lord, everything I know, You Yourself have taught me in the interior of my heart. O God, who taught the hearts of the Faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that we may ever be truly wise and rejoice in His Heavenly Consolation. Amen. If you will excuse the expression, Lord. Sod it! My hands may be full of eczema because I miss her and my tummy may hurt most all the time, but then You suffered much more in Your Earthly Life. What is more, Lord, what is more, if Your Blessed Saints were able to endure Stigmata, like Blessed Padre Pio and St Francis, then I guess I can put up with some eczema! Apparently, the only thing that kept Blessed Padre Pio going on in his life was the Sound of Your Voice speaking to him in the interior of his heart. I feel honoured and blessed to hear that Voice. Out of wine. Oh well!
G: What song are you listening to on your media player, Larry?
L: The Boy with a Thorn in His Side. It is a great song by The Smiths.
G: Copyright problems ahead, Larry. Would you like to reproduce these lyrics now on the page?
L: Okay. 'The boy with a thorn in his side Behind the hatred there lies A murderous desire for love How can they look into my eyes And still they don’t believe me How can they hear me say those words And still they don’t believe me And if they don’t believe me now Will they ever believe me? And if they don’t believe me now Will they ever believe me?'
L: Lord God, Lamb of God, I need to get some blessed sleep.
G: Goodnight, Larry. My little lamb.
L: Goodnight, Lord.
G: Did you sin today?
L: No Lord, just ate a chocolate bar that the lady who I got the balloons for gave me. She gave me three of them, Lord. I gave one to the guy next to me, even though he had already had one only 20 minutes before. I thought to myself, even though having two chocolate bars in a row is a little greedy, the Good Lord teaches me to be generous towards others, so that one day I may obtain the forgiveness of my many sins.
G: Good lad. What time is it?