Love and compassion for those with SSA

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

What are some ways we can show love and compassion, in our parishes and daily lives, for those who experience same sex attraction (SSA)? We are all created in the image of God. Our sexuality does not define our identity or worth. Rather, our identity is as children of a loving God, created to love and serve Him, each in our unique way, so as to joyfully spend eternity with Him.

So, how can we as fellow pilgrims help our brothers and sisters of all ages and walks of life who struggle with SSA to find God’s loving plan for them in their life? In what ways can we draw strength from each other (all of us who are members of the Body of Christ, whatever our orientation) and lovingly support each other in our various struggles with sins, as we all strive to live the Gospel in our lives?

Further, how can we reach out to those with SSA who are not believers, and share the love of Christ with them?

One good thing to tell them is that the Church and the Sacraments are their rock and stronghold to help them along.

As always we look to Jesus…

And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you (compassion). Go your way, and from now on do not sin again (conversion).”

Compassion for this life, conversion for the next. Both are pastoral and done out of love.

Share our own struggles with our own crosses - acknowledge that it might seem at times like comparing apples and oranges, but not necessarily. I mean, I’m straight, but that doesn’t mean I can just go out and pick up a husband at the Husband Store!

I don’t mean to be flippant, though - what I mean is, it would be easier if I were willing to compromise my morals to have a man in my life, but I’m not willing to do that. Or it doesn’t have to necessarily be that issue - I don’t have a lot of money either, but I don’t choose to deal drugs or rob banks or other shady ways of obtaining money. Living a life of integrity in all ways is the goal and the challenge.

One thing I think could make a difference is praying for them in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass on those days or weeks in many communities where “pride” parades or events are occurring.

Dear Ocean,

One thing that I can recommend since I identified myself as gay for many, many years, is reaching out in love to them. I remember walking out of bars, drunk, and being told to repent and be saved. I prayed every night, so I told them so and thanked them. Another beautiful experience I had was at a Mardi Gras in New Orleans: I was on a balcony with about twenty other drunks being unruly, to put it nicely, and a group of people came and stood before us praying and carrying a life-size cross. The impact of that cross and those people praying is still with me.

What I do is go to places like Yahoo where there are always inflammatory articles about homosexuality and the Church and go to the Comments section and start trying to make a difference. I’ve been doing it for years and had to develop a thick skin because, especially since I lived the gay lifestyle and tell them so, I’ve been called everything in the book. But, I always try to be as kind as I can and continue to quote the Bible and tell people to repent, and even suggest the Catholic Church and RCIA.

I’ve been having a conversation with a man this weekend (since you can access your old comments and address those who in turn have commented on your statement or asked you a question), and he seems to think God “made him that way” and doesn’t know his Bible. He’s very polite and has been with another guy for two decades and they have two children. I have tried to reach out to him and we don’t agree, but we have been communicating and have thanked each other for the kindness we’ve exhibited toward each other. I told him to pray for himself, his partner and children (and I don’t believe at all in gay couples adopting children) that God will show them the way through Jesus Christ. And I hope our crossing paths will make a difference in his life. It actually made me realize that I need to rethink my harshness on gays adopting children, too.

Sorry, but my fingers got going and wouldn’t stop. Thank you for wanting to help those who are now as I once was. People like you made a difference in my life. You can’t imagine the joy of leaving such a lifestyle behind and returning home to the Catholic Church.

God bless your week,

Sean,

thank you for sharing this. It must have been difficult to change your life, but with God we can do it all. It is great that you are willing to reach out to people. I’m sure most don’t want to hear what you have to say, but some will definitely hear the message and think about it, even if it takes some time. May God bless you abundantly.

Another thing for straights especially is - and I’m not sure how to word it and I love to write - but try not to adopt either an “us vs. them” mentality. There may be times when radical activists are really “in your face” and then a person is called to a) refrain from retaliating with more poison, and b) pray for one’s enemy.

But the struggling persons with SSA, or even the ones not putting up a struggle at present but not being militant about it, are our neighbors and friends. I’ve been reflecting upon this lately a lot because I’ll admit it’s been easy for me to develop resentments sometimes that traditional believing people are being put in awkward moral dilemmas by all this - wedding invites, businesses, those kinds of things you hear and read about.

I’m not exactly sure if this is coming together and making sense, but I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not a “better kind of sinner” if I “only” gossip or get angry or whatever else I do, than that gay person who gives in to tempation. I had to go through this process with straight people’s cohabitation and I’m old enough to remember when that was actually still eyebrow-raising.

I’m not condoning sin, not at all. Hate the sin, love the sinner has been the phrase, but it can lose its impact if repeated mindlessly. I think we need to remember if we’re going to use that phrase that we are all sinners. We’re all called to continual examination of conscience. We have to discern when we’re pure in our motives and when God wants us to say or do something and what that something should be. And when we’ve done our part and trust that God will send more people to complete His work. Plant small seeds, as Sean St Jude describes were planted in his life. Do all things in love - real love, not just emotionalism. Love that wants to meet that other person in Heaven someday, and for that, we have to help our own selves and the other person to get there.

I would imagine using words like “disorder”, “sickness”, “disease”, and “illness” run contrary to your goal. Especially “disorder”, which has a particular meaning in context of Church teaching but can be misconstrued when understood in a more general context. Imagine Jesus telling the woman of ill repute in the Gospel, “You are a sick, vile woman with a wicked disorder for sin!” Remember that many are not believers and not yet ready for a theological/moral exposition.

The next point, I’m not sure how beneficial it would be but: perhaps if Christians and Catholics extolled the virtue of celibacy/chastity more, using examples of holy saints in the past, unbelieving gays and lesbians (or believing gays and lesbians) would find something beautiful and virtuous to aspire after.

For why would anyone give up sensual pleasures if there is nothing better to attain?

The divorce thing. Yea…there’s a lot of that going on even among Catholics, so I’m not sure with how much credibility straight people can say about sexual/marital ethics without appearing as though straight people are let off the hook easy just because they’re straight and that God tolerated divorce in the past, so the “sin” is not as bad for straight people.

(As a gay person, I’ve felt that myself sometimes to be honest and there’s always a bit of smoldering resentment about how one creature is judged differently than another when it was due to something s/he was not in control over…)

OK, more personal this time.

If you were to talk to me about gay issues and religion comes into play, I think I might get angry with you. Not because you said anything offensive, but because you will recall in my mind all the hurtful things said by Catholics. Since you are there, I might be very dismissive of you and even resentful and hateful because you represent what has been hurtful in the past.

If in case you come across a person who becomes angry at you, don’t take it personally. They might just be venting their anger at you because, well, you’re there and an easy target.

I think we show love and compassion for those with SSA in the same way that we show love and compassion for anyone: just do it. :wink:

There can be advantages to brainstorming how to better reach out to certain segments of the population, but the core of the Gospel message is pretty universal. So we go out there and spend time with people and walk with them and love them and tell them about Jesus. :slight_smile:

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