Go out into the byroads and hedgerows and invite anyone you come upon...
For the past few nights I've been dreaming about getting married - not at this time in my life of course - but years ago. I was going to get married - twice - but I couldn't. I was terrified and repelled by the very idea of it, and broke off the engagement soon after each proposal. I know all the reasons why - yet I thought marriage would 'cure' me. That's not the right intention of course, so the marriage would have been null and void to begin with. That said, I'm not sure why I've been dreaming about it now. As I state in my profile on Blogger, I can't be married anyway. And I don't want to be.
I kept thinking about the dream however, and it reminded me of Christ's teaching on celibacy - to be more accurate - on eunuchs. Hence I re-considered the teaching on celibacy in terms of a disability. Of course celibacy chosen for the kingdom isn't a disability in the classic sense, nevertheless, a normal human function is deliberately disabled in professing it. Therefore, what if Christ said, "Some men are disabled from birth; some have been disable by men, and some have freely renounced sex for the sake of God's reign." For me the key word here is disabled - some people may be sexually disabled just as some people have been physically disabled - either at birth, through some illness or accident, or deliberately so by man, and so on. The disabled are not barred from the kingdom of God, the Church. Even though the disability remains as a thorn in the flesh, or bars them from this or that vocation, they are called to sanctity.
Once I wrote that Christ didn't heal everyone who came to him, but a reader corrected me and said that he pretty much did - there is no account in the Gospel that he sent anyone away. This morning I read something from Monsignor Luigi Giussani which is much closer to what I originally was attempting to say: "Christ came for this; indeed he did not heal everybody, he did not straighten things out for everybody. The task Christ gave to us is to proclaim his name, not to fix all heads, all the arms, to make everybody well educated..." That's it!
That's what I meant and what I have been trying to say for a long time. Some people are disabled, crippled for life as it were, and they aren't always cured. In fact, it may be better if they go into eternal life this way than be led astray by versions of what I call the Prosperity Gospel mentality that insists everyone must be cured or is cursed. The disabled exist, they have always lived amongst us, they do not simply survive - they thrive in their conformity to the rejected, wounded Christ. They need not be identified or defined by their disability, but by their identity with Christ. Christ invites the lame, the crippled, the lame and the blind - he wants his Church to be filled.
This is not to say he cannot or will not heal - he does: "Stand up and go your way; your faith has been your salvation." And like Christ, you may have the wounds to prove it.
Art: Beggars and cripples, 18th century engraver