#LoveWins

First, let me tell you a few things that will never change: God loves you, and I (as a full hearted Christian-Catholic) love you. Whether you’re black, white, gay, straight, disabled or “able.” God loves you so much He sent His son to be beaten and abused til death on a cross for YOU. He died for your sin, no matter who you are, no matter what your beliefs of Him are, no matter when the last time you walked into a church was, no matter if you’ve never walked into a church before. He died for US ALL , in our brokenness, so we may live and be renewed in Him. Is there any greater love than that?

Yesterday, June 26, 2015 same-sex marriage became legal nation-wide and history was made. Social media abounding with rainbow flags, waving with pride. Growing up in the arts and color guard community, many of my friends are gay or an ally to the LGBT community. Being friends with many other fellow Christians and Christian-Catholics, as well,  my social media was filled with post that varied in views on the hot topic. Most post were very joyful ones, some post were more serious as individuals were taken aback on how America could get this far from tradition, from Christ.

I saw a good friend of mine go through his “coming out” in high school. When I first became  friends with him, I had no idea he was gay. Funny thing was everyone thought we were on the verge of a relationship, before he came out. His friendship was dear to me and that friendship is still dear to me. Things changed, but I still love him the same way. I try to love him the same way God does, even when it may be hard to do so because I don’t believe in some of his actions or life-style choices. He is still an amazing, loving person. He is still loved by God and he is still loved by me.

Looking through social media that day I wanted to be happy for my friends, and their future possibilities with the expansion of their civil rights, but part of me died as I realized how far society is moving from truth.

We are endorsing a lie. As each day passes, society cares less and less about God and His law, and more and more about the individual’s happiness and pleasure. Society’s favorite words are  “me” and “I.” What will feel good for me? What do I want?

What we want isn’t always the best thing for us. God’s law was implemented for us to truly live in His love and joy. The love and joy experienced in Christ is much greater than any of our personal desires or tendencies that our human nature could lean us towards. Lust, pride, money, drugs, partying- these are all short time pleasures. Only Jesus’ love and joy is eternal. Even life is temporary, so why bind your life and afterlife to short time pleasures and the word “me?”

All in all, nothing can justify a lie. And nothing can justify a sin. Sin is sin. A commandment is a commandment. Truth and morality will always prevail. It is important to keep the commandments as God teaches, “If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15.)” What many people outside or even inside the Church see as rules chaining us down from life, are actually God’s protection for us from evil, and God’s love for us so we may reach eternal life with Him.

The most important part of our faith, and most important lesson Christ teaches us, is the one thing that overcomes all: love. Christ’ love overcomes our sin, our situations at home, our problems at school, our depression, our sexual orientation, our race, our BEING. Christ’ love cleanses and heals. Christ’ love is the reason for our very existence. One person overcomes all sin and brokenness with great mercy and grace.

The pinnacle of love is Christ. We see the ultimate love of Christ by His sacrifice on the cross. This love was not easy, it required sacrifice and suffering. True love was not rainbows and butterflies for Christ, and will not be that way for us. When raising children, you teach them discipline because it is what’s best for them, there will be growing pains along the way because you can’t give your children what they want all the time. Without that discipline the child wouldn’t grow to be strong. Tough love is necessary. Christ and the Church teach tough love aka true love. True love is not about always getting what you want. It is about self sacrifice, as God sacrificed himself with the ultimate action of love- death on a cross.

The Church is one of love. But just as Christ can’t give us all we want, neither can the Church. If a person or the Church may not agree with you, it does not mean that the person can’t love you or the Church doesn’t love you. We dislike the sin but continue to LOVE the sinner, just as Christ would. It is not the same-sex attraction that is sinful but acting upon that attraction through homosexual sex (because all sex outside of holy matrimony is sinful).

“Gay marriage” is inherently paradoxical to the Church’s teachings as the Church understands marriage to be between one man and one woman. The Church teaches this because a marriage must be love-giving and life-giving. While homosexual relationships may be love-filled, they cannot produce life. The Church believes that holy matrimony is blessed by Christ, that Christ is in the center of that marriage. Here is some further explanation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

ARTICLE 7
THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.90 Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'”91

1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”92 The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help.93 “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”94 The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”95

In love, we cannot justify that a lie is truth, as we cannot justify a sin is good. No sin is good. We are all sinners.  We all sin, none of these sins can be justified as right or okay. The act of homosexual relations is one of these sins just as any other sexual act out of the bound of holy matrimony is a sin. Let me share with you a few amazing things the Catholic Church teaches on homosexuality, as quoted by The Catechism of the Catholic Church (if you don’t know, the Catechism is an amazing book filled with explanations on the Church’s view, backed up by bible verses, apostolic succession and the quotes of saints and Doctors within the church):

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.

(THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART!!!!!)

They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their same-sex attraction.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

That my friends is love. The Church wants people with same sex attraction to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Even though the Church disagrees with the act of homosexuality, the Church will treat them with love and tolerance. I know several individuals with same-sex attractions who follow the teachings of the Church because they love Christ. I admire them I know they are carrying such a heavy cross having same-sex attractions and not acting upon them. I admire them as they pursue chastity and Christ whole-heartedly.

And we are all heroically called to chastity, outside marriage and even inside of marriage. The Church believes sexual union must be self-giving, love-giving, and life-giving (meaning sex is sinful even in marriage with the use of contraception because contraception takes away all possibilities of life and takes away one the of main purposes and functions of sex.)

Not everyone will follow this teaching of the Church. Very few people follow this teaching because it requires so much self-sacrifice and suffering, but I know these individuals who strive to stay chaste will be rewarded in heaven. If you are a Catholic with same-sex tendencies, striving to follow the Church’s teaching, please know that I love you and support you on your journey. The Church loves you and Christ, as always, will continue to love you and give you great strength. Give your cross and intentions to God through prayer and He will strengthen you to be His warrior in faith. We all fall into sin and have our own cross tobear. Our cross may be very heavy to carry, and we may fall, but we must always seek Christ and continue walking towards Him.

I may not agree with some of my friends lifestyle but I love them the same. Who am I to judge, when I too am a sinner? We are all in need of God’s mercy. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8.)”

Underneath our identities that we’ve created and the sin we have collected on Earth, we are the same to God. We are His child whom He loves unconditionally. No decision, race or orientation can change that. Our identities are: child of God. 

To all my fellow Catholics, we must treat everyone with Christ’ love and not judge them, for we are all sinners. The Catechism says, “(Homosexuals) must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. ”  We are pushing people away from the Church when we judge others or talk poorly of them. We need to be bringing people to Christ’ light and truth, not pushing them away from it. I am not saying to stop defending our faith, but do so lovingly, as Christ would. Be understanding and compassionate to others, as Christ would. As Christians we should strive to imitate God’s’ love. Let’s spread the love and light of Christ in a way that would bring people to His Church.

Matthew 7: 4-6
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold,  the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Romans 2:1
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Let's stop passing judgment on one another. 

As Mother Teresa says “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I invite you to pray for all children of Christ, so we may know the epitome of true love in heaven. Only then can we fathom the reality of love, in the presence of our Lord. Even in our differences, we must strive to love everyone as Christ does because we are ALL God’s children, made in  His image.  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34.)” Remember how unconditional, merciful, and grand that love of Christ is? Let’s also love the same way.

Our God wants us to live in love and break the chains of sin because only then will joy be fulfilled. No matter what your views are on same-sex marriage, please remember that our definition of love on earth is always changing. We can be in a relationship, think we are in love and it turns out terribly. We can end a once joy filled marriage with a tragic divorce. Only one love is never changing, never ending, and true and that is the love of Christ.

Some claim that love won on June 26, 2015 when same-sex marriage became legal in the United States, but love won 2,000 years ago.

Unconditional love is poured out from the cross for ALL. In our sin, in our selfishness, in our distance from God, we are loved by an amazing creator who wants us to let Him into our lives. He wants us to be saved and reach eternal paradise with Him.

Love is being accepted no matter who you are, and no matter what the darkest part of yourself may be. There is only one person I know who is capable of loving that way. Love won and we were set free when Christ so humbly gave himself on the cross.  #Godislove