See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Courage Conference 2010: 2nd report.


Grace upon grace is poured out... day after day.

Our friend sent us the following email on the events of the 2nd day of the Courage Conference.  It is a beautiful narrative.  I present it unedited:
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hello.
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dr. sutton gave a good talk on friday - basically summing up what i already know to be true < at least for myself > ... the common causes of SSA for men. non-identification with the same-sex parent, overinvolvement from the opposite-sex parent, poor peer relationships, bad body image, just going down the whole list i was like "yep, uh huh, check, check ...." 
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it was difficult for me to hear the first time a couple a few years ago, but over time with prayer and reflection, i could not deny the truth of these things and in that truth i found freedom. you can't cure the illness < and i speak of emotional wounds, spiritual sickness, of course > till you know the etiology. 
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most reverend thomas j. paprocki from the diocese of springfield, illinois, was the celebrant for yesterday's Mass. he told us when he googled matthew shephard's name, over 11 million links came up on his screen. we all know matthew shepard's story: a boy brutually tortured and left to die for his homosexuality. but when the good bishop googled the name of mary stachowicz, only 26 thousand or so links came back. no one seems to have heard of this woman.
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mary stachowicz was a polish american translator, devout catholic and mother of four, who on novembr 13, 2002 was murdered by her coworker, nicholas gutierrez, in chicago, illinois after she implored him to give up his sinful lifestyle and live a chaste life. mary was also the bishop's secretary at the time, and she worked at a funeral home with gutierrez. his excellency told us that when mary didn't show up for work one morning, he called around to find out where she was. the funeral parlor said her car was still in their parking lot, her purse and keys on her desk; but no sign of mary. the family & mary's coworkers were frantic and started praying for her. gutierrez was one of those joining them in prayer. 2 or 3 days later they found her mangled, bludgeoned body, stuffed into a cubby in gutierrez' apartment. 
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bishop paprocki made the statement he condemns wholeheartedly what happened to matthew shephard. but it's a commentary on our culture how one person killed for practicing homosexuality is a popular martyr, yet one calling for a life of chastity and conversion - also murdered - is largely forgotten. his excellency has won the approval of fr. harvey and fr. check to consider mary a martyr for the cause of chastity; she would be an ideal saint to intercede for courage, and those living with SSA. we will begin praying for her cause for canonization.
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later in the evening, janet smith gave her talk on TOB and the single life, stating that many people choose the celibate life as a consecrated religious. many find themselves choosing celibacy as a transition, a waiting time till they enter into the married state. but what about those of us who find that it is thrust upon us by circumstance? there is no need to think of ourselves as victims of celibacy. we, too, choose this state of life. yes, we may find it thrust upon us initially by circumstance < widows > or life wounds < my words, not hers > such as SSA, but the choice is still ours to make to embrace the celibate state for the kingdom - out of love for our Lord - or reject it. we, too, are choosing this beautiful life of celibacy for the kingdom. what untold, unseen, unimaginable graces we bring down upon the world by choosing this state for the sake of the kingdom. our Lord told us, "if you love Me, you will keep My commandments." 
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at 9pm, several of us led the conferees in a beautiful rosary in reparation for the sins most grievous to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but most of all for the sins of those relating to homosexuality and for our continued conversion and growth in compassion. we used the prayers for healing from fr. dwight longenecker's book on the rosary for interior healing. we of course prayed the sorrowful mysteries and it was just amazing. i started the rosary and would also preface each mystery with part of fr. longenecker's reflections for healing written for that mystery, and a different courage member would lead the rest of us through the mystery. then i concluded the rosary with the usual prayers < Hail, Holy Queen and O, God, whose only begotten Son ...> .... but then finally ended with the prayer of st. bernard picked up by the 12-step review: "Come Lord Jesus, take away scandals from Your kindgom, which is my soul / and reign there, You who alone have the right./For greediness comes to claim a throne within me; / haughtiness and self-assertion would rule over me;/pride would be my king;/ lust says, "I will reign";/ambition, detraction, envy and anger struggle within me for the mastery./I resist as far as I am able; I struggle according as help is given me;/I call on my Lord, Jesus;/for His sake I defend myself, since I acknowledge myself as wholly His possession. / He is my God, Him I proclaim my Lord;/I have no other king than my Lord, Jesus Christ;/Come then, O Lord, and disperse these enemies by Your power,/ and You shall reign in me, for You are my King and my God. Amen."
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isn't that beautiful? i then received healing prayer with a small group of charismatics a short while later, reclaiming my masculinity and asking our Lord to heal the wounds that still remain festering; and I accepted again the knowledge that I am a beloved son of the Father, walking in newness of life. and the healer who prayed over me cast out any demons that might be obsessing me with doubts, mockery, scorn, hatred, lust ... he bound them, cast them to the foot of the Cross, and i was unbound. once again, unbound. and it's up to me to continue walking in that newness, this freedom. free at last, my friend. it's a great place to be, to choose to walk in this newness with grace poured down from Heaven to assist me. without it, we'd all surely be lost. 
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suzanne baars is speaking in a half hour on "healing the unaffirmed: a different lens in understanding SSA" so i'd better run. - Email Report
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The Conference sounds very solid and edifying to me.  Prayers for a thousand graces to be poured out upon all involved.  
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Art: Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful! He had me crying by that last paragraph. God bless him and all those who struggle to live the Christian life. May Our Precious Lord bring healing to all His poor children, wherever they may be.

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  2. Wow!! Talk about power to the powerless!!
    I love God.

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  3. A mention of Courage here, as well as a story on homosexuality and Catholic acceptance of it in New York:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/RealCatholicTV#p/a/u/0/7_j-rTqlZus

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  4. Thanks for the video link Seminarian X - I find it very disturbing - I guess I was very naive regarding Archbishop Dolan - business as usual I guess. I'm really very, very disappointed.

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  5. doughboy1:35 PM

    i would exercise prudence in this. it may not be true, but it certainly doesn't look good. appearances are one thing, the truth may well prove to be something else. and i know abp. dolan to be a faithful shepherd. let's hope his office of communications is not withholding info from his grace, or that he's being duped.

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  6. Thanks DB - the news from Courage is so full of grace and joy, and yet I couldn't help feel very sad about the Dolan video. Prayers.

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  7. You're welcome. It's difficult for me to believe what the video suggests about Archbishop Dolan, and so I don't mean to drag his name through the mud by any means--he deserves the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, I believe Courage is legit and I have seen--not in New York, but elsewhere--situations like the one at this parish. What bothered me about this story was the 'diplomatic' approach that the Archbishop seemed to take; I did not read it as acceptance of homosexuality, but rather as just a bland glossing over of a very serious problem, assuming there is in fact a problem.

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  8. Thanks, Terry, for posting these "reports".
    "Very solid and edifying", indeed.

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  9. glad my book was of help!

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  10. doughboy7:32 AM

    fr. longenecker, your reflections were moving beyond words. several conferees have made mention of this. thank you for your tremendous gift.

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