A continuing challenge people with SSA struggle with is personal renewal. We know what this looks like: our desire to love God and to be with God moves us two steps forward in living the chaste life but our sinful actions makes us take a step back. We want to progress but we find ourselves regressing now and again. This pattern keeps repeating itself in our lives, doesn’t it?
Today, let us listen to Fr Michael Schmitz as he discusses how we can renew ourselves as persons and Christians by first accepting the hardships, tragedies and difficult situations in our lives, including SSA. Accepting ourselves as we are, the situations we find ourselves in and the challenges we have to overcome is the first step we have to take if we want to grow and grow up.
Here are some points (paraphrased) Fr Michael Schmitz makes in his talk:
Self-pity doesn’t do anything good for us; it accomplishes nothing. Neither does saying our wounds define us or we are stuck in a bad situation. These are ways we deny the reality of who we are and what we are facing.
Self-acceptance helps us to grow. This means accepting our situation and challenges. It is the first step for spiritual growth. This is necessary for us to grow up. We begin by accepting ourselves.
Acceptance is the pillar for real growth. It means accepting who I am, the situation I am in, what is challenging me. Equally important is accepting where I am meant to go and that I am created to be more than I am now. This attitude can help us overcome resignation. It begins by admitting who we are and what we are challenged by before God; then, everything else we use deflect our reality is revealed to be false.
Accepting oneself as a gay man. Accepting oneself as gay but who God loves. Accepting one’s call to live chaste life and to become a saint. Once people with SSA can accept these truths, they will experience freedom and they will know they are meant for something more.
What gives us the strength to accept ourselves is confidence in and the love of Jesus Christ; he is with us and he gives himself up for us and our salvation, even if we are in a state of sin. This allows us to accept ourselves because God accepts and loves us as we are.
You can listen to his talk here:
Based on Fr Schmitz’s talk here are three points for your prayerful reflection this week:
- Take a look at yourself today — what you are doing? how you are living? Do you have some thoughts and feelings, challenges and hopes, pains and joy in life and about you to accept? Or, are you denying them?
- Take a look at your journey as a person with SSA. When did you first accept yourself as a homosexual? What was the experience like? Who was present and accompanying you at that time? Was God present in your journey then; how so or not so? Do you wish to share with Jesus something about this part of your journey?
- Now, take a look at yourself as a Christian who with SSA is making the effort to reach out to God, even if this means taking two steps to move but sometimes going back a step. Your effort is great but God’s effort is greater! Spend some time in prayer and reflect on how God making the effort to come to you and to accept you as you are. God does this for no other reason because God really loves you. How has God been coming to you, accepting you and loving you through the people and events in your life? Pick one or two of these ways God has been present with you and for you. Then, share these with Jesus, and end your sharing with some words of thanksgiving for how God has been faithfully loving, accepting and saving you.
Words of Encouragement for this week
“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness” – Jean Vanier