“Those who can cry out from the abyss are not in the very depths of the abyss. Their very cry lifts them up.” ~ St. Augustine
When life becomes its darkest, when we succumb to the weakest part of ourselves, when we have apparently made all the wrong decisions, when we seem to be at an impasse and have nowhere else to turn, when the world crashes down around us – at those moments, the Lord is closest to us and we are closer to true and lasting salivation than we would ever think possible. For example, the very day that Our Lord Jesus Christ Saved me from the hell of my torments, was also probably the moment of my greatest and lowest depravation. In retrospect, there was nothing extraordinary about how that day began; I was going about my business as I usually did, rather oblivious to how sick and perverse things had gotten for me; for, at this point, I was so comfortable with all types of sexual excess and violence that I regarded those actions no differently than I would eating or sleeping; it was just part of my regular biological functions. Therefore, it was out of character, for me to have second thoughts, when the opportunity arose – to take part in an extreme “gay” fetish party. Only, deep inside of myself – I knew I was dying; I had spent over a decade in the “gay” world: I had known times of happiness – being with friends who knew and appreciated me; but, I had had also experienced profound periods of incessant sadness and remorse – seeing the same friends succumb to AIDS, depression, and addiction; never really finding lasting companionship; suffering from a varied and always growing list of physical ailments; although I still fully believed in the “gay” lie – subconsciously, I knew that things were never going to get better. So, I decided to attend the “party;” as desperate as it was – this was really my last attempt to escape the ugly reality of what my life had become.
After it was all over, I almost immediately became sick; I wasn’t surprised by this, because, I was actually hoping to die or be killed (albeit accidently) that night; that didn’t happen. Stupidly, I thought of death as merely a quiet place of rest; where I would simply slide into oblivion. Yet, I was gripped by fear; now, that death become something tangible and not just a thought – I was scared, because I realized that there was something ahead of me: an infinite tunnel of darkness. Then, I imagined that death would be just like my life: hopeless, lonely, and uncontrollably horrifying. I didn’t know what to do; then, a wave of despair enveloped me like a cold wet shroud. I was being suffocated by evil – and, I instinctively panicked; my mother, who was at my hospital bedside, began to pray; “How dare she do such a thing,” I thought. From then on – only blasphemies filled me mind and my mouth. But, my hate made the blanket of damnation heaped on top of my chest feel even heavier; in a few seconds, I somehow realized that the nothingness of death, that endless sleep that I could conceivably embrace, was actually turning into hell! Without warning, and I will never understand why I did this – I called out the Name of Jesus; I begged Him to save me; and, very quickly, He did just that. And, unlike most my life, that act of Mercy was completely undramatic. It just was.
“As the soul continues to immerse itself more deeply into the abyss of its nothingness and need, God uses His omnipotence to exalt it. If there is a truly happy soul upon earth, it can only be a truly humble soul. At first, one’s self-love suffers greatly on this account, but after a soul has struggled courageously, God grants it much light by which it sees how wretched and full of deception everything is.”~ from the Diary of St. Faustina
God can work very swiftly in our lives – if we allow Him in. It’s still remarkable to me, that in less than a few hours, I went from a satanic gay sex hustler who was used as a human toilet to a believer in Christ; I went from the darkest of all imaginable worlds to fully embracing the Light of Hope. Yet, for many, I think this is exactly how God reaches us: in despair, we can see that salvation is within reach; in perversity, that we can be born-again, and, in confusion, that the Lord will give us clarity. How does this happen? Part and parcel with true repentance is humility. Depending upon our hardness of heart, some of us will push ourselves to the very edges of hell before even an ounce of humility will enter our being. I was one of those prideful, obstinate, and wholly willful people; as much as things went wrong in the “gay” life for me, I wouldn’t give it up; I usually just tried something else: when the bar scene didn’t work, I tried “monogamy,” when that failed I went back to the bars and tried a little harder – maybe I wasn’t being “gay” enough; when that bombed, I tried even harder and went full-tilt “gay” whore – exploring every sexual avenue that was available to me. Yet, I always ended up at a dead end – still, I couldn’t admit that I was wrong. What finally did it for me – was hitting rock bottom; this is the same type of terminology used by psychologists when referring to the crisis stage of high-functioning alcoholics; and, in this context, I think the “hitting bottom” theory to explain how, why, and when many alcoholics come to a point where they finally seek out treatment is crucial when discussing homosexuality. Because, for the most part, homosexuals are “high functioning” addicts – on account that, they otherwise led outwardly successful lives; they seem happy and content. This is why so many relatives and friends often aggressively defend the lives and lifestyles of their loved ones, because, from the outside, to them, the “gay” person appears to be completely grounded and healthy. Only, everywhere, within the male homosexual community, even within those imagined safe confines of “gay” monogamy, is the continuing specter of disease, drugs, and depression; eventually, everyone gets hit. Unfortunately, because of the cultural and societal pressure to stay “gay;” namely because opposing societal institutions and religious organizations have often failed to offer any alternative to the loud and almost deafening call that “gay” is good – even a preferable orientation. Therefore, those who sometimes reach a crisis just look at it as another little bump in the road of life rather than a sign that perhaps “gay” isn’t all its been built up to be.
For those who have some religious training to fall back upon, and, even more importantly, a stout and stubbornly stalwart Christian friend, who, when everyone else capitulated and celebrated all things “gay,” held film and remained somewhat distant – this is the person, that in the midst of crisis, the homosexual can turn to for stability and the Truth. Part and parcel with this reaching out to God, or to another person, for help is a realization of our mistakes: what I call a lesson in humility. It is in these lowest moments of humiliation and apparent defeat that the Lord will win and He will raise us up. Because, when we fall, the devil would like nothing better than for us to just lay there in our own sweat and excrement; then, he has beaten us down so much that we simply can’t get up. Yet, like Christ, who repeatedly tripped and came tumbling down to the earth, on his way to eventual Glory on Calvary, we can either make the Fall our end or our beginning. So, when you feel like everything is collapsing around you, that you have no control over your passions, that everything seems to be lost – yes, that is exactly what is happening; He is stripping you of your illusions – for, the old world, and your old crippled and selfish self, is fading –
“And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.”