G: How are you, today?
L: Okay, Lord, a bit better. I feel the need to apologise to both you and the reader for my outburst last night. My life is now an open book so to speak and I don’t mind that much. Plenty of people have done that. This is one of the side-effects of extreme self-obsession and abnormal self-love. Still, I have an interesting, story, no reader?
|Roasted and Toasted: St Laurence of Rome|
L: Well reader, what with being gay, even if I overcame the World, the devil, the flesh and my self, performed great deeds in my life on earth and had contrition for my sins like that of St Augustine, I would still never be a Saint. There are no gay Saints. We are too intrinsically morally disordered, even though the Good God teaches that all human beings are intrinsically morally disordered. Reader, there are plenty of homosexuals in Heaven I am sure! The reason? We bear our shame all our life. Is it any wonder plenty of us also turn to the God of Love in our shame? Now the real St Laurence, who undoubtedly was not a homosexual, sounds like he was a marvellous joy to know.
When I was in Church feeling down a friend at the time told me that God answers all prayer eventually and that St Laurence was a Saint of joy not of sorrow. God filled him with so much joy that when he was being grilled over a hot stove by Romans during the persecution of the Christians he said to his murderers, “See, this side is well roasted; turn me on the other and eat.” Marvellous! Talking of great gay Catholics. Did you ever see that picture of Fr Michael Judges after he was carried out of the World Trade Centre, having sacrificed his own life in order to save others? Did you see his limp and lifeless body, cut face and bedraggled priest’s uniform? I have never seen anyone look more like our Lord in my life.
|Judges: Priest in the horror of 9/11|
L: Bear with me, Lord, I am just trying to make a point. It is just the prejudice we face from Christians and Catholics in daily life. They think they are better than us?! My God! My Lord and my God! In a Church in which the Gospel of the Lord is preached most everyday, and Your Holy Parables are ringing out from the Altar, people who claim to be Christians and Catholics still judge homosexuals! Where is the mercy that Holy Church proclaims to the entire World, and not just the Church I belong to, but all Christian churches. Walk a mile in our shoes, reader! Walk a mile in our shoes! Such people who judge us are sorely mistaken! Indeed, it is true of what you said of them.
The Prophet Isaiah spoke rightly of them when he said, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me!” My Lord and my God! You are right, you are damn right I have found my voice! While You were on Earth the only people that really angered You were the Pharisees who judged others because they thought they were in some way holier or better than people they viewed as sinners! They knew nothing of Your Compassion! My God! There are days when I long for Judgement Day, so that You will show the World who were the good and who were the bad! You once told me while I was struggling at work with my hate and malice that I would one day fall in love with the Gospel of Christ. And so I have! Justice and mercy! Justice and mercy! This is what the Lord wants from us!
Well reader, by the time the Lord comes back on the Last Day, I will know something of His Compassion, because I have sinned so much and though I would like to think I will not commit the sin crying out to Heaven for vengeance again, and I am trying damn hard, I can tell you, it is not unlikely that I will go looking for some comfort and affection and human love in what is quite a cruel and cold World! Only the assurance that God loves me and having bloody great and loyal friends and family makes it bearable! As I say, what with not being able to be with Beatrice, things are going to get damn lonely around here.
By God, there will be days in my life when I am kneeling in my room literally begging for mercy and pardon! In turn I will show this mercy to my brothers and sisters who themselves are crying out for the forgiveness of the Lord. Am I an heretic? No, I am not. I am a Catholic to the bone. I have been for two years now. During the course of my life I will doubtless sin again. For see, In guilt I was born, a sinner was I conceived. Against You and You alone have I sinned. That which is evil in Your Sight I have done. O purify me and cleanse me of my sin. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may thrill! Open my lips, O Lord, and my tongue shall ring out your goodness!
G: Ah My Laurence. Such a sermon has offended everybody! Are you done?
G: This is the Gospel of the Lord. L: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
L: La-la-la-la, A dreaded sunny day, so I meet you at the cemetery gates, Keats and Yates are on your side. A dreaded sunny day, so I meet you at the cemetery gates, Keats and Yates are on your side, while Wilde is on mine….
G: Nice song.
L: Yes, Lord. I have had a lovely day at the beach with my lovely friends, Lord. And do you want to know what?
L: I bought the yacht, Lord.
G: How could you afford that? You haven’t even published it yet.
L: It was only £14.50, Lord. A beautiful yacht she is too, Lord. It only takes five minutes to pump up. “What you gonna call it?” asked my friend. Then suddenly I realised what I had bought! Ha! I laughed Lord, I already know exactly what I am going to call her. I will call her ‘Beatrice’ and leave it in Brighton. She can come and use it any time she likes. Not enough room for Mass though. It can only take two people.
Anyhow, I figured, even though Beatrice deserves the best yacht, no self-respecting Catholic would spend 15 grand on something so materialistic as a yacht. Such indulgence is too extravagant! Talking of indulgences, I am in need of one, Lord. I have sinned on my own yet again. Boy, do I give in easy! Well, I gave it a test drive, Lord and she goes like a beauty. I tried to stand up in it, Lord but fell out immediately! “Lord, save me or I perish,” I prayed, like your blessed St Peter, but alas I am not You, and did indeed fall dramatically and ridiculously into the water. I got drenched I can tell you, Lord. Funny, if I had prayed that prayer later on in the day perhaps You could have diverted me from my solitary sins.
' Fame, Fame, fatal Fame,
it can play hideous tricks on the brain
But still I’d rather be Famous
Than righteous or holy,
any day, any day, any day.'
Why is the word ‘fame’ written with a capital letter on the Smiths lyric book?
G: I wonder.
L: And as for those Cemetery Gates, I am still hoping it will be a long while before I reach those. Earlier on in the day, I saw a big gold Wedding Bus called Bride and Groom. O Lord. You know such things give me a foolish hope! The only wedding banquet I am going to is the Marriage of Christ to His Church on the Last Day. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Pretty soon, Lord I am going to be out of gas. I should be, because You indicated to me through a friend at work that if I don’t stop this book pretty soon, then I will turn into a megolomanic, who tries to play God at his computer, if indeed I am not one already. Well, I guess the readers will have to decide whether God was involved in this book or not. In the end, Lord, I forgave the nodding dog at work, Lord, I had to lest you seize me and give me what I truly deserve. _______________________________________________________________________________
L: O My God! I feel another homily coming on!
G: Go for it, son.
L: Okay, so I went to a party last night reader, and had a very fun time, eating nice food, a drink or two and conversing with lots of lovely people. Late on in the evening we decided to play a great game, called, ‘I have never.’ In the game we all had to get in a circle and each person says something about themselves that is not true - something they have never done. If anyone has else has done it, then they have to take a sip of drink. People look at the people who are drinking and go, “Whoa! You really did that?!” Now, as you can imagine the nature of the game turned rather confessional – such games are bound to get personal and rather rude. So, at the beginning my friend says, “I have never taken it up the bum.” To my shame of course, and the shame of one or two girls in the circle, who have had anal sex, I drank a sup of beer. Some were like, “Shit! You’ve done that!?” Ah, my God, the flush of shame! But one person gave me a hug and comforted me in my shame. Christ in her, I say reader, Christ in her! He came to cover our shame.
Well as the game got on one thing became apparent. In our lives, we had all done shocking things to be ashamed of, solitary sins, sins with others, sins with more than one person at the same time, sins outside. My God! We had all sinned, and all of us mortally! This, I thought, this is the Gospel of the Lord! We were all able to hug each other and comfort each other in our shame, for we knew that not one of us was better than another, and none of us could cast a stone at another person, for we had all sinned. Each of us had pity and mercy on each other. No, no, Lord, not one of us were perfect, for we had all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. ‘Feels like the Kingdom of Heaven to me,’ I thought, and I was right! At such times, when people can see the wounds of another and love them, knowing they are no better, the Kingdom of Heaven is being created and God the Father looks down in mercy on us. For the nature of God is to bless, bless and bless some more, never thinking of what we have done, but overlooking our sins and redeeming us constantly!
L: I thought to myself, ‘Let us all go to Confession and have our sins blotted out!’ But, I should not say such things! For we bear witness to You often in silence, just in showing Your Mercy to others. G: This says more than any words ever could.
L: Reader, you do not know what it is that the Catholic Church is offering to humanity. You cannot even begin to imagine the enormity of what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The enormous generosity of God! Holy Jesus! I just went into my kitchen and tried to do my washing up. Lord, there is mold growing on the pasta I left 5 days ago! That pan, Lord, that pan! It’s beyond redemption! When you died you redeemed everyone and everything. Apart from that pan! Anyhow, reader, I digress. It takes something special to be a priest, you know? It takes something special to hear the confessions of the Faithful.
It takes something special and Divine to see the ugly in human existence, the darkness and the shades of human sin and evil, and to offer that person the mercy of the All-Loving God. To let that person leave the confessional with a grateful heart, thanking God for the mercy shown to them and leaving with a conscience wiped clean and a new hope and a fresh start being offered to them. These people are very special indeed. I am yet to meet a bad egg. See, reader I am gay and have done gay stuff, but the priests all heard my confessions with understanding and compassion. This is the paradox of our Church! They give the world the rules but understand that people are sinful and find it hard to keep them. The mercy of God is always there, ever cleansing and ever forgiving us our sins.
Now, when I told you that my friend told me he wanted to hug me and rest his head on my shoulder when he had confessed his sin to me (not, I hasten to add, that I am in any position to absolve him), he later explained why this was so. A Priest is an ‘Alter Christo.’ Another Christ. Their lives bear witness to the compassion of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is a scene in the Gospel where Christ’s Beloved Disciple rests his head on the bosom of our Lord because he knows he needs Him as his Saviour. When a member of the Body of Christ, and especially a Priest hears a confession he is in a position to allow that person to rest his head on his shoulder for a while and feel that person’s pain and guilt for himself. My friend wanted to do that with me because he could see Christ’s compassion in my words. All glory and honour is Yours, Father, for I was once a heartless hypocrite. Priests do this often at Youth 2000, a Catholic youth camp at Walsingham, the shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham.
|Our Lady of Walsingham|
Yes, reader, even murderers, even paedophiles, and yes, even homosexuals can know the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for God did not come to condemn the World, but to save it! Would that all I know and love would use it! Would that people could see the Glory of Christ in the Church and know that He was the One whom the Eternal Father sent! Right now, my heart yearns for it, because this week I have fallen on my own again, and done that which is evil in God’s Sight. Am I lost? No way! There is always a Hope, a Blessed Hope, because I can turn back to God and be forgiven for my trespasses. That same forgiveness I receive I can give to others, and this is the Glory of the Gospel.
Glory indeed! Hope and Glory! Jesus came to save that which was lost, and knows how weak we are, how sinful and rebellious we can be, but He loves us with a Mighty Love there is no doubt, and the Catholic Church is the Sign of that Love. Why is it, Lord Jesus, people walk by Your Holy Cross, everyday and don’t stop and think, “Why?” Why did He die? And why did He die for me? What does this Man on the Wood mean? Well, reader, each soul has to discover that for themselves. But the wounds that we all have are His Wounds. The bruises that we have are His Bruises, and the Cross we fall underneath is His Cross. He understands us more than we can possibly begin to know, and understand ourselves.
You think, reader that I have a case of unrequited love? I do, indeed and it hurts. But think about how our Lord feels. The Cross is the Sign of the unrequited love that pursues us, and woe to anyone who turns away irrevocably! His love for us is unrequited by millions everyday, and even the most devout souls harden their hearts against Him, for it is in our nature to seek independence and look away because of our guilt. What love is this, the Lover on the Cross? A love supreme I can tell you, a love that knows no limits, a reckless love! A love that longs to possess us, and once we are found could consume us entirely!
It is the love that stands as a barrier between ourselves and the Justice of the Father, a love that reveals God is All Love. We cannot begin to comprehend the awesome love of God.
G: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
|"So who is this Richard Dawkins bloke?"|
At the club I saw a man with a T-shirt saying, “Masturbation is not a crime.” ‘Yes it is,’ I thought, ‘but you could go to the Catholic Church and have that crime forgiven,’ which is exactly what I am going to do this afternoon. Oh and by the way, after work on Friday I dropped a pint of lager accidently at the bar of a local pub with friends. The bar lady came up to me, and said, “Who did that?” “It was me,” I said. Want to know what she said, reader, want to know what she said? “For your honesty you shall be forever blessed.” ‘That ,’ I thought, ‘That came straight from the Lord!’ And I guess that speaks volumes. If we go to confession and confess our sins to the Lord, for our honesty, we shall be forever blessed. Believe me, reader, I have been honest with you.