Tuesday, May 09, 2017

My sheep hear my voice ... I know them ... and they follow me.

No one can take them out of my hand. 

Gays are sometimes like sheep without a shepherd, and I'll tell you why ...

I say that because of the weird stuff being said about Fr. Martin's recent book, "Building a Bridge" about bringing together LGBT Catholics and the institutional church, and which includes spiritual resources for LGBT Catholics.  The book hasn't even been released yet and some people online are calling for the USCCB to condemn it.  I haven't read it, and most likely will not, simply because I've pretty much worked everything out in my life as far as that issue goes.  (I'm old.)  And no one needs to know what I think or how I've made it through that labyrinth - besides, in the 10+ years I've been online, I've written about it extensively and see no need to repeat myself, and very few are interested.

Except to make an observation.

The problem some gay and ssa Catholics seem to have these days is that good priests like Fr. Martin, S.J., and bishops and cardinals like Tobin and Farrell are willing to talk, dialogue, and welcome LGBT persons into some sort of communion with the Church.  That's the Church's mission BTW - to call sinners to repentance and reconciliation.  The Church is full of sinners.  The Catholic Church has had a bad reputation with gay people and gay people need to know the Church is not out to kill them or throw them off the roof and stone them to death like ISIS does.  True, some Catholics don't want you in their circle, but there are good pastors who want to dispel such fears.  In fact the Catholic Church welcomes all types of sinners and eats with them... gay or straight or even the mean and nasty.

To be sure, there are some who insist that homosexual acts are not sinful, but that is not Catholic teaching - those voices are thieves and marauders which lead sheep astray, give false hope and false security.  Sheep know the voice of their shepherd - if their conscience is not asleep or obstructed by the roar of the crowd.  Sometimes shepherds make mistakes, but sheep have the Word at their fingertips.  Thieves and marauders may advance, but the Good Shepherd, the Church and her sacraments are there to rescue the sheep.

The shepherd says: I pity the one who draws himself back from my love.

So, if you are confused, if you don't understand Catholic teaching, go to the Catechism, read the Church documents  - especially the CDF instructions regarding homosexuality.  If you don't recognize the voices online or in publications regarding issues of faith and morals, don't go there - don't read them.  It's that simple.  The Church cannot teach error.  If your conscience is well formed, one can read what they like to glean insight on this or that question.  It is always good to know all sides in a discussion.

Sometimes, some pastors may be and can be mistaken about methods, and sheep can be misled, but in the end, the Holy Spirit will correct them - and the rest of us.  We need to trust the Holy Spirit.

If you are the type who desires to form an inquisition, expose errors, and so on, make sure you have all the facts, avoiding detraction, slander and calumny, and do so with humility and charity.  It seems to me not many critical Catholics online cultivate those virtues.  Be faithful to Catholic teaching and be kind and respect others who are on the way.

Fr. Martin has been ministering to people on the peripheries, including members of the LGBT community for a very long time.  I can disagree with some things he says, but I recognize that he is following Christ and desires to bring Christ to those who have been misled into believing Christ, God, hates them.  That is a far worse error.

“In too many parts of our church LGBT people have been made to feel unwelcome, excluded, and even shamed. Father Martin’s brave, prophetic, and inspiring new book marks an essential step in inviting church leaders to minister with more compassion, and in reminding LGBT Catholics that they are as much a part of our church as any other Catholic.” - Cardinal Tobin

A story of another priest, Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM - a lone young shepherd ...

A lone young shepherd lived in pain
Withdrawn from pleasure and contentment,
His thoughts fixed on a shepherd-girl
His heart an open wound with love.

He weeps, but not from the wound of love,
There is no pain in such a wound
However deeply it opens the heart;
He weeps in knowing he’s been forgotten.

That one thought: his shining one
Has forgotten him is such great pain
That he gives himself up to brutal handling in a foreign land,
His heart an open wound with love.

The shepherd says: I pity the one
Who draws himself back from my love,
And does not seek the joy of my presence,
Though my heart is an open wound with love for him.

After a long time he climbed a tree,
And spread his shining arms,
And hung by them, and died,
His heart an open wound with love.
St. John of the Cross

Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM

Fr Mychal had a little prayer that he continually prayed and lived; he had copies made and distributed the prayer to any who needed words on their journey to God.  Here it is: "Lord, take me where you want me to go. Let me meet those who you want me to meet.  Tell me what you want me to say,  And keep me out of your way."  God answered that prayer, not only on 9/11 but throughout his life. Fr Mychal struggled with alcoholism, a not unheard of addiction in the lives of many Irish.  When he got into recovery he used his experience with the bottle to help many, many men and women who had the same addiction.  He had a special care for AIDS patients: when one man dying of the disease asked Fr Judge if God hated him, the priest's response was to kiss him, gather him in his arms and rock him.  He met who he was supposed to meet, said what God wanted him to say and did his best to stay out of God's way. - h/t Fr. PD

I think Fr. Martin does that too. He does his best to stay out of God's way - and I love him for it.


  1. Very inspiring piece, Terry. I am reminded that drug addicts too are in need of God's love and mercy. I look at the family members I live with and those I don't live with, who are drug addicted, and I am always asking ... always praying.

    I will copy that precious prayer and share it too.

    1. Isn't his prayer beautiful.

    2. It is beautiful ... full of trust, love and simplicity.

  2. That prayer is a keeper.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.