Monday, September 23, 2013

How Love Works

Read this whole article.  "The Lost Sheep" - inspired by Pope Francis.  The Holy Spirit is stirring us.

Here are the final three paragraphs.

... In the course of my work, a woman sought me out and told me her story. For many years, she had been involved in a series of lesbian relationships. Each relationship started with an intense passion and then fell apart. She came to believe that there was something wrong with her. She and her current partner attended a Protestant prayer service at which a woman minister gave an altar call. The woman told the minister that she was lesbian. The minister said Jesus doesn’t mind. However, the moment she gave her life to Jesus she knew that he did mind and she could no longer engage in homosexual intimacy. Her partner left her. Alone she sought refuge in the Catholic church in which she had been raised. She would go each day and sit before the tabernacle and ask Jesus to help her. Gradually, her same-sex attraction diminished. When I first met her she still had a male haircut and was wearing a man’s shirt, pants, and shoes. We prayed together and she revealed how as a child she had been raped by a family member and forced to watch as he raped another girl. She had told no one, and tried to avoid the man, but her parents forced her to attend social gathering where he was present. While she loved her mother, she saw her as weak and unable to protect herself or her children. She felt that her father never affirmed her feminine identity. Given this history, it is not surprising that she fell into same-sex relationships. The love of God, inner healing, and forgiveness of those who had hurt or failed her healed her wounds. When I saw her a year later, I didn’t recognize her. She was a different person. Her hair had grown out. She was wearing a feminine jumper and blouse and her face was radiant.
It is all very good to say we want sinners to repent, but are we as a church ready for them? Are we ready to descend with them into the darkness of their woundedness without getting lost ourselves? Are we ready to listen to them, and, no matter the horrors they reveal, tell them “God loves you and I love you.” Jesus doesn’t ask the sinner to clean up his act first and then when he gets everything in order present himself at the door of the confessional. Rather, the road back begins with knowing one is loved no matter what he has done, no matter how far he has fallen.
While not everyone is called to walk into the darkness and bring the wounded into the light, all Christians are called to withhold judgment and pray. If we see a person acting out obscenely, we can consider the very real possibility that this person was sexually abused as a child. If we see someone seeking love in all the wrong places, we can think perhaps this is because they didn’t receive love from the right sources. This is not to condone sin, but to really love the wounded. This is the challenge Pope Francis puts before us.

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