Tag Archives: catholic

Abiding in

Father Rodel didn’t particularly like to be lumped in with the eunuchs in Matthew 19:12, but what Jesus said of them outweighed any embarrassment from such an association.

miraculousmedalbackI’m a homosexual. This is the first time I’m talking about this with you my congregation. My friends and family have known for a year — or more — and they’ve been so supportive of me.

I’m a man, and I’m attracted to men. Why? I asked myself, when I discovered this at 13. The only thing keeping me from experimenting was the fear of being heard. So I was silent. People teased, but I said nothing.

The few opportunities that came by from the opposite sex, I just smiled politely. Some tried to ‘cure’ me. I wanted to be cured, for a time.

There was this one time in high school when this girl, she cried all of a sudden when talking to me, and then our mutual friend told me later, “Couldn’t you tell? She likes you!”

And so I went with it for a bit. Everyone thought I’d be interested in her because they didn’t think I had a chance with anyone else, I suppose.

But soon enough she gave up. She could sense my peace of mind around her. I wasn’t going to trouble myself to make her feel better. At least, not as a boyfriend. And that’s how we became BFFs. Hey Ali. She’s joined by her husband George and their three wonderful children, say hi!

It took me a long time, 10 years, until at last I could understand, a part of it anyway.

Without my struggle, I would have succumbed far too quickly to the flesh, with women. I was thus kept pure, in both mind and body. And I wanted to serve the Lord with my body, not please myself. So that kept me celibate, even when some suggested I look for a boyfriend. No, it’s not for me, I said to that group of friends, and I could feel the ostracism. I belonged nowhere.

While others used college as a springboard to worldly things, I became yet more resolved to consult God in every single decision. And to ask His forgiveness whenever I fell short. And I would fall short, not a few times, before finding myself on my current path.

I’ve been led away from true temptation, you might conclude. That could be. But don’t judge this on account of my being a priest. Or by my sexual orientation. But by my being the best brother and father I could be to each one of you.

What I thought for that first decade was a curse, turned out to be my soul’s salvation. I chose the weaker path, the priesthood, weaker only in the sense that I was relinquishing my choice of earthly blessings.

Not to say the clergy is in its best shape today. But don’t let our imperfections keep you from the Lord. Never sin: it’s all known in eternity. But more importantly, purity will bring God’s love to you, and you’ll walk the narrow road, and through the narrow door, by His side.

I wish you all the best, of a life full and well-lived, pleasing in the eyes of God. And I hope to be worthy of your trust, whatever confidence you place in me.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.

THE END


Father Rodel appears once more in a cameo role in tomorrow’s story, available on May 29, PDT.

Len’s eyes

len's eyes picHe said only one thing those last days: that she, the woman called Len, had the lone copy of his last and just-finished poem, and that she had all the publishing rights to it, including to not exercise the right at all, by keeping it all to herself, or burning it.

They couldn’t find another copy elsewhere, and had to face the fact that all they had was his last post:
It’s with Len.

Len didn’t notice those first few days. More messages in the inbox, more tags, but she wouldn’t check those right away, least of all read them thoroughly, immersed as she was in her dissertation. Her classmates looked at her funny, but didn’t broach the subject.

Why her? was everyone’s question. When did it start? When did they last see each other, if they ever did?

When she finally took a look at ‘Len’s eyes,’ she understood why she felt so exposed in public. Everyone was looking at her eyes, literally.

When she learned who was causing all the fuss, she had the time to feel a twinge of sadness, at his premature death at 29. The cancer killed him basically instantly, give or take a couple of months.

She had almost forgotten his admission of love. He had convinced her to see him for coffee, two years back. What was the pretext? Something about a sale going on, with a casual “What’s been going on with you?” invitation. She would have said no but figured, “I like Café Bleu. It will get him off my back.”

How was she to know it was a final meeting, when she’d always hoped that each meeting was the last one?

“In this time we’ve known each other,” he told her, “I’ve learned what it means to love as Christ loves. As our Father loves.”

“He’s going to propose,” she thought in dread, only to realize he was done. No ring in his pocket. The declaration of love, with none guaranteed back, was enough to sustain him.

You made a chaste man out of me, began the epic poem’s second verse. It’s like he knew she’d be challenged by this. She wouldn’t only be sharing this poet’s last opus — possibly too sentimental for the critics to consider it his greatest — she was also publicizing his long-standing devotion to her, of seven years. She didn’t want the attention.

So she resorted to a compromise. Smattering her social media with excerpts here and there. And people reacted. Her followers quadrupled within three months.

But Len saved the obviously Len-specific verses for herself. She wondered if her preference to keep these was itself a testament to her grown affection for him, that she wouldn’t share this most precious gift of his, to the world.

Avoiding the gazes, she’d wear sunglasses outdoors, even as the rainy season began in spurts. And she kept wearing them as the years passed, half the time quite appropriately.

She took an interest in the Bible about five years after, and took to thinking in bliss of how, in her old age, upon her passing, she would finally release the whole poem, all 2,233 lines of it, for the world to see. She read Matthew 22:23-33 knowing that the love he would have for her in Heaven was even greater than any he had known on Earth all those Rosaries ago. Any love she had known, for that matter.

How strange, Len realized, to finally love this man when he’s gone.

THE END

Kierkegaard, gateway to Christianity

In my mind, Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and German composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) are the same person. Just look at pictures of them and you could see the facial resemblance. And it isn’t all that necessary to know better in that regard.

mahler
Yes I know don’t tell me.

It’s easy for artistic types to imagine that the pinnacle of human life is aesthetic contemplation. Much of the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, the at-heart pagan Greek, assumes such, and when I read Kierkegaard place art at a lower level to ethics, which is lower yet to religion, which is lower yet to Christianity, I resisted such an idea. Without realizing it, I was caught up in a materialistic, naturalistic manner of understanding things, something affirmed by those I once thought of as the wisest of men, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Immanuel Kant.

I couldn’t quite get how so many philosophers, atheists needless to say, were indebted to Kierkegaard, a Christian. I liked his moral discussion — of the imitation of Christ and how this involves suffering and yet more suffering — well enough, but to take this Christ as a historical figure on whom the fate of the world rested! Even the beginning of ‘Concluding unscientific postscript’ seemed to reject that notion, which prompted me to continue reading it at all, and thank God I did, for it bore lasting fruit and continues to bear lasting fruit to this day.

This awakening is only hinted at towards the end of my ‘Depression and other fictions’ (Sept. 2019), and even then, with an appeal to something ‘substantial,’ an attempt at grounding faith in impersonal observations, such as in etymology, as opposed to discovering the essentially personal.

But even such a poorly balanced ‘leap,’ for lack of a better term, made a world of difference, the difference between a “No” and a “Yes” to Christ.

Kierkegaard has helped me glean that Christ’s dying and rising from the dead are mysteries that are meant as mysteries. They’re not for us to solve. But that does not mean believing in Christ is arbitrary.

What we do know is that to be with Christ is to be rejected, even killed. Funny how in ‘Depression and other fictions’ I spoke much of adhering to an ideal, when Christ is the only true ideal, and Catholic doctrine is the only doctrine that holds on to such an ideal, however the world goes.

As terrible as the world is depicted by those who hold to the one true faith, we also know that Jesus in being God is the one true life. And how assuring is it that true life is also true love! Put this way, the Resurrection and its defying of what little we understand of the world is hardly the hardest thing to believe.

As grateful as I am for Kierkegaard’s influence, I do consider him more as a gateway to Christianity, rather than ‘the way’ so to speak. Kierkegaard let his understanding of ‘truth as subjectivity’ get in the way of community, misassociating the social aspect of religion with a herd mentality that deviates from God and godliness. But the Church is of souls whose fundamental union is of Christ, however corrupted the events in Christendom and history in general may be.

I’m just glad certain books of Kierkegaard came into my life at times that I was receptive to some of his message, soon enough leading me to, of all things and quite anti-climactically to everyone else, Catholicism full-circle. That’s the thing I noticed about the truth that is Jesus. However distorted your understanding may be in this world of materialism and ‘objective’ science, He will reach you, He will speak your lingo, if only you want to believe. All you need to get started is something as simple as, “Jesus, please let me know You are with me.”

An Easter confession

An Easter confession. What is the significance of confessing one’s love on Easter Sunday? Those who have had the experience testify that any progress necessary to become friends from mere acquaintanceship is attained immediately, with Christ as sanctifying power involved in such a unity of souls.

And since the man finds satisfaction in being just a friend, the woman sees confessing as an effective determinant of the man’s true intentions, so as to forgive any forwardness implied by stating one’s desire to serve another as long as possible (Revelations 21:1-5).

This is precisely what Catholic monk Epaenetus Ragagnole (1687-1745), the great statistician, experienced when he wooed Mme. Aloysia Veneses, 12 years his senior, on Easter Sunday 1723.

TheResurrectionOfChrist
Carl Bloch, The resurrection (1881). Image from Wikipedia.

Or closer to home, that is supposedly how Ryan Fakeyname figured things out with Judy Fakey Fakeyname. He felt especially ebullient about it being on Easter Sunday 2007 that he first really felt the love he would forever have for Ate Fakeynickname.

Whatever Christ’s sanctioning power as exhibited in the Resurrection has, it seems to have rubbed off on the holiday, which is often taken as a matter of chocolate and rabbits. It would pay off to have a Bible quote in each package, as you could see.

The underlying principle, as principled we could get about Kierkegaardian-subjective matters, is that we are truly spiritual brethren first and foremost, and this is what the Kingdom of Heaven resembles, with no marriage to any one, a love so true it gives itself so freely, as Jesus does to us already nowadays.

I await the day in Paradise with her, whether or not she accepts this simple plea for friendship.” — Abbe William Sorenson, (1892-1999), recounting his experience of marriage during the Great Depression (1929-1945).

If you liked this article, please check out my Catholic encounter last January.

A sequel more beautiful than ‘Depression’

Four months since publishing ‘Depression and other fictions,’ and much has changed. As would be evident if I’d post more, I now consider the ‘Declaration’ in the ‘My neurofeedback experience’ essay to be hopelessly heretical.

Qualifications are the killer of faith. When proclaiming “I believe…” there is no room for  words such as “seem” or “appear to be,” as I have been guilty of.

John 14For all the parallels made between Christianity and other religions, scientific principles, and myths, what is essential of the world is The Father The Son The Holy Spirit. (TFTSTHS). All else is creation. This realization about the Trinity points specifically to Catholicism as true religion.

And betraying what remnants of Nietzsche’s critique still influenced me, I characterized Jesus’ teachings and death as a matter of resignation. No, trust in God is a different animal from mere negation or world-weariness, though I understand how it could look that way to those who yet overlook our spiritual, subjective natures.

My conversion or reversion  is based on my being more immersed than ever in the Gospel, of which the Book of John has catered to my philosophical proclivity. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.

I’ve found a chapel, and for the first time in my life enjoy going to church and the Eucharist.

I think Saint Paul’s letters in the New Testament are love letters to Jesus, of which we could yet get more pumped up about. Romans has to be the best of all the letters, and I say this mainly on account of Romans 6 (Wages and slavery of sin), Romans 8 (Nothing keeps us from Jesus), and Romans 13 (which gave me the strength to devote myself in a miraculously different way, to one great thing, rather than many things).

Aside from Jesus, I have people I love to thank.

I estimate that I’ve already collected about half of the ideas to be presented in a sequel, yet don’t see myself publishing this for many years yet.