Gay and Christian. The story of a soul who did not feel he was loved by God
Personal story sent by Riccardo, October 2012. Translated from the Italian by Peter L.
“One time our good Lord said: ‘All manner of things shall be well’. For He willeth we know that the least thing shall not be forgotten.” These are the words Christ spoke to St. Julian in Norwich, a female mystic and recluse who lived from 1342 to c.1430. Before being pronounced unto her, these same words were proclaimed loudly to all people from the heights of a mountain.
In the past, I would never have believed something like this. Actually, I was sure that the love of God was reserved for the good, for those who were perfect and without stain of any sort. But now I have come to understand that Christ says “Look how much I love you” to me as well!
I have come to hold this certainty only after walking down a path of suffering. Just like the prophet Jonah who had to wait out his time inside the belly of a fish before he saw the light.
I remember the day I understood my homosexual nature, as if it were yesterday. At nursery school, there was a cute little boy with blond curly hair, blue eyes and freckles on his face. He was the strongest in the class and all the children went to him when they couldn’t open their jars of Plasticine clay. He defended us from bullies. And if I remember correctly, he was the first person who brought out innocent feelings of affection in me. At the age of three, I certainly did not recognize my homosexuality, but I did have some sort of spontaneous feelings.
I was a very lively child, often happy and smiling. I was brought up on biblical values since my family believed that charity was first and foremost in all things. My mother was always sweet and loving with us; she was ready to be anyone’s neighbor. On the other hand, my father was less willing to show his emotions and was busy at work, but he was always an example of dedication and sacrifice for me. I admired every person who worked towards God’s calling to us: to honor our Lord Jesus Christ as the source and model of love and to serve him physically and spiritually by serving the poor and oppressed. The Gospel was the basis of my upbringing and it taught me to be attentive to those who suffer.
My homosexuality began to stir up problems in elementary school. I became an easy target for classmates due to how I held myself, to my toys and to my imagination – which many read as feminine. “Girl”, “queer”, “fag”, these were just some of the words used at times to make fun of me.
I remember a boy (most likely gay as well) in a different class who often went home crying after being called these same names. One day his father came to school in tears. He was visibly upset because of the mean-spiritedness his son was subject to at school (and which I also participated in).
As a matter of fact, I was immature and I took part in bullying this other boy. This was a way of focusing attention on him and not on me. I was sick of having to scratch words like “fag” and “queer” off my backpack. I once remember saying something like “Yeah, you’re right, he carries make-up and dolls around!”
Perhaps our teacher understood that I was gay, and that day she decided to teach me a lesson. What she said something that may seem harsh, but it had a truly positive effect on me. In front of all the other children, she said to me “And what about you? Don’t you play with the same dolls? Don’t you like the same things this other boy does?”
I was struck silent, frozen still. And that’s when I realized that I had to stand up for others like myself and for anyone who felt marginalized or discriminated against because of who they were.
Over time, this realization turned into a vocation. This idea became deeply rooted in me when I began Sunday school. Our catechism teacher was a somewhat tough and unfriendly single woman, but she knew how to guide us through the more sublime values of the Gospel.
When she taught us Jesus’ words “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4), I understood that Christ meant that to refer to me too. It applied to that little boy who hid in his room playing alone to stay away from bullies. I sensed that the Beatitudes were not to be interpreted as rewards in the afterlife, but as acts of love by those who follow Christ and those who receive the faithful love of God.
I was in fact “mourning”, or crying, and when I heard that Beatitude, I knew that soon enough I would be consoled. […]
Original text: Storia di un’anima che non si sentiva amata da Dio