Hello again, dear readers. It has been far too long.
I hope June is going well for everyone. June is a significant month for many people. Many are celebrating gay pride this month. During the month of June, many people go to pride parades or festivals, and some people seize the opportunity to “come out of the closet” and tell their friends about their sexuality.
In Catholic circles, this month is often dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated this past Friday. Many churches also celebrated the Sacred Heart today. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has become particularly popular, and associated with the month of June, in light of revelations made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 1600s.
One month. Two messages.
In the modern world, children are now learning from a very young age about gay pride. In a recent video I’ve seen on Facebook, a popular television personality in Canada is seen talking to children about gay pride. People in my generation and earlier generations often had to find great courage to even ask questions about sexuality, their attractions, or the way they feel. The generation that is growing up now will have a new vocabulary with which to talk about these things.
When more people talk, when more people ask questions and struggle with these things, will Catholics have the courage to answer with truth and love?
Asking questions and talking about the way people feel about their sexuality is NOT a bad thing. When people are too scared to ask the questions for fear of the response, we encounter problems of self harm and suicide. For Catholics, there is a challenge to create an environment in which people can ask the questions without the questioner fearing the response. Because the world will tell them that the Catholic response is not loving. The world will tell these people that the Catholic response is perhaps the most immoral and hateful response.
So, how do we change the narrative? How can Catholics courageously respond to what the world says is love? I have an idea, albeit untested for the most part, that we might try. And it involves the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It starts in the home, in our families (which we are fighting to protect in our answer to this question), in the way we pray. This is a war (you are blind if you don’t see that), and prayer is a mighty weapon. We need to mention specifically in our prayer the people most affected by questions of sexuality. We need to pray that these people will encounter the love which comes only from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is the most perfect love. And for those with children, even young children, you must find a way to pray this with your children, because the world is going to give them a different narrative from a very young age, even in many Catholic schools. It could be as simple as mentioning in your prayer those who have struggles with love, or those who do not know the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Take it a step further, and weekly pray the Litany of the Sacred heart with your family, and do it daily, maybe twice daily, in the month of June. We NEED our children to be steeped in and aware of the authentic love of Christ so that if they have struggles with their sexuality or one of their friends does, they have a place to go to, be that to you as parents or to the Sacred Heart of Jesus directly. And when the world does bring this scandal upon your children, which it will, you can more expressly mention it in your prayer, but in a way that puts the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His love first.
Many of us will know people who embrace sexuality in a way that is contrary to Christ. They may be quite firmly set in this contrary lifestyle. I propose we approach these people with the greatest of charity, and courage. I propose we find as many ways as possible of courageously inviting these people into the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Have the greatest of courage, and invite these people into your home, into your family, and make them feel a part of it. We must drown the enemy in love. Be a refuge for their weary souls. I stress again, this is a war, and we must be bold and courageous. Those who are not actively in the fight, especially in our time, are working for the enemy. Souls are on the line. When people who have never seen the love of Christ encounter charity and bear witness to the beauty of the authentic and perfect love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I think we have the greatest chance of bringing souls back from the brink.
Another way to fight and be courageous in this month of June is to take love to your local pride parades and fairs. Many of you might be aware of Joseph Sciambra’s ministry of bringing rosaries to pride events in San Francisco. This is a great example, and I encourage it. If you are so bold, pray with people at these events. Pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart with people, or demonstrate how to use a rosary. An approach with charity may very well baffle them, and cause them to explore the truth more.
Of course, I cannot forget to mention the power of the Sacred Liturgy in all cases of trying to win souls to heaven. The Sacred Liturgy represents the greatest act of love in all of time and space. An encounter with such love has a great chance of bringing souls to heaven. Invite those who are struggling with sexuality to come with you to Holy Mass. Searching souls will often find comfort in beautiful churches and reverent ceremony. Invite them. You may just save their soul from eternal damnation.
I confess that I, especially as someone with same sex attractions, do not do enough to win the souls of those with these afflictions. And so I say and post this publicly for my own accountability, that I intend to go to the pride festivities in St. Louis this year, and pray with those attendees who would like to. I fully intend as well to post about my experience using the hashtag #SacredHeartLoves. If you feel so compelled, please go to your local pride events this month and do something similar, and post about it using the same hashtag.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.