Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)
Kevin Tierney has written a powerful article at Catholic Lane that tackles the lukewarm (and rather depressing) compromise with sin that the Relatio from the Synod seems to convey.
In his article, Tierney defends (of all things!) the joy of the Gospel - even the joy of the struggle, of the long walk up Calvary and the many stumbles along the way.
Some excerpts (my emphases) ...
The Church no longer speaks of the joy of marriage, but instead about how difficult it is and how so few can live according to its precepts. The danger here is that we create a self-fulfilling prophecy: if marriage and the family are not the joy and fulfillment of man, then we will continue to see less joy and more difficulty.
When I struggled with living out the moral teaching of the Church, I was never happy. Even when I was happy, I was less than I could be. Thanks to the design of God, that unhappiness drove me to seek answers, and it drove me to the confessional. While I obviously cannot disclose what was said during those sessions, never once did I find a priest who condemned and judged. All understood our struggles with life, and that a life of constant minor indiscretions can be even more dead than a life of only one or two major indiscretions. They practiced true graduality in slowly but surely guiding me towards living out the truth. Yet during all of this, these great priests did several things:
- They reminded me that I was not called to live according to these sins. If God called me to something, it must be possible.
- As impossible as it may seem, my struggling would lead to peace if I let Christ give it to me.
- Following the Gospel provides a joy even during the lowest of times that all the pleasures and comforts of the world cannot match in their highest of times.
Read the whole thing here.
This is the great danger of the politics of "sexual orientation". It identifies us with our sins. If a man is sexually attracted to other men, why should that define who he is? We all struggle against all sorts of sins, some of them quite horrific, but if I (for example) am "oriented" toward adultery, and yet I constantly struggle to cooperate with God's grace so as to be faithful to my wife, am I in fact an "adulterer"? An "alcoholic" is more than his bottle if and when he begins to turn away from it. There's a big difference between an alcoholic who allows himself to be dominated by his addiction and one who is vigilant (by the grace of God) in resisting it.
We are more than our sins when (by God's grace) we repent of our sins.
This is never easy, but it is the only way to the joy of Christ about which Kevin Tierney speaks - even though it is the Way of the Cross.
And the joy and grace that comes to us when we take up our daily cross is lost when our bishops and priests are too ashamed to call us to be more than our sins. "Don't start up Calvary. It's a rocky road. Leave the cross by the wayside and relax. Take it easy. God loves you anyway."
As Bishop Sheen reminded us, the spirit of antichrist is the denial of His cross.