“…evil is removed, not by removing any nature, or part of a nature, which had been introduced by the evil, but by healing and correcting that which had been vitiated and depraved. The will, therefore, is truly free, when it is not the slaves of vices and sins.” ~ St. Augustine
“Man will rise again without any defect of human nature, because as God founded human nature without a defect, even so will He restore it without defect. Now human nature has a twofold defect. First, because it has not yet attained to its ultimate perfection. Secondly, because it has already gone back from its ultimate perfection.” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
“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.” (Rev 21:4) No story of a gay man or woman “coming-out” or succumbing to the homosexual orientation is complete without heart wrenching recollections of great sorrow and inner struggle; for example, Country Music artist Ty Herndon recently said of his childhood: “I was 10, sitting in church and horrified that I might be a homosexual.” In 2013, actor Wentworth Miller revealed: “The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15. I waited until my family went away for the family and I was alone in the house and I swallowed a bottle of pills. I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of days but I’m pretty sure come Monday morning I was on the bus back to school pretending everything was fine.” In fact, studies have continually found high rates of psychiatric consultation (48%) and attempted suicide (31%) among teenage gay males. Who would want to take all this pain and suffering into the afterlife? For in Christ, as St. Augustine put it – we will “be restored by Him,” restored to an earlier “state of being:” one of perfection and purification. Therefore, if we all long for a sort of bliss in eternity, why do we settle for less while here on Earth? Yet, we still cling to the material, the transitory, and the putrid: “gay” men are 140X more likely to contract HIV than heterosexual men; in comparison, according to the American Cancer Society, men who smoke are “only” 23X more likely to contract lung cancer than non-smokers. Rates of syphilis are reported to be more than 46 times higher among gay men and other MSM than among heterosexual men and more than 71 times higher than among women. What drives this dirge towards death? Gay men resoundingly say that a desire for “intimacy” is what led them to put their lives at risk. Only, tragically, the greatest intimacy that Man can experience is awaiting them: as “God calls us all to this intimate union with him…” It’s not immediate, and the gratification not as casually accessed as sex, but unlike physical encounters, intimacy with Christ is never ending. And, this “Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ.” (CCC #2014) So, in heaven, we will be finally free from all those old wounds, that we restlessly attempt to heal, by our own means – and by following the directives of this world; our desires for understanding through sex will be gone; because, we will no longer have those hurt longings – all will be fulfilled in Christ; as “Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.” (CCC #1024)
On a personal level, “gay” was a nightmare: I entered the homosexual world as a rather naive and terrified 18 year old; up till then, I had spent my life in a constant state of anxiety; at a small Catholic school in the 1970s, it was thoroughly not cool to be “gay;” the bent-wristed character of “Zorro: The Gay Blade” was “gay;” the swishy Billy Crystal on “Soap” was “gay;” the highly effeminate alter-ego of Jack Tripper on “Three’s Company” was “gay;” and I, nor any other boy, wanted to be that; at the time, none of us were sophisticated enough to really figure out that the more-macho Village People were “gay.” In the 1980s, things only got worse; then, if you were “gay,” you were AIDS infected; at that point – “faggot” meant diseased vermin; I can’t recall how many times I heard: “Hey, what do you call a fag on roller-skates?” “…Roll-Aids” Therefore, when I showed up in San Francisco, in 1988, despite the smell of death in the air, I felt liberated, safe, and finally at home – I thought I was in heaven. After years of bullying, it was incredibly amazing to have a man, oftentimes a very handsome and masculine man, put their arms around me and tell me that I was actually worth something; I never wanted to get out of that place. Only, slowly, I began to realize that this all came at a price: it hurt to have sex, friends who arrived in San Francisco with me – began to get infected, and then die, the inebriation of security that I initially experienced with another man began to fade, boyfriends got bored, then I got bored, despite the constant comradery, what was once enough – was no longer enough, I got older – and sicker, and suddenly I wasn’t really wanted anymore; when it all got worse – I sort of finished where I began: a desperate and scared boy. Because “gay” only covered over what was truly hurting inside of me: that, as a child, I felt rejected and unloved. After years of being and doing “gay” – nothing had changed, in fact, it had only exacerbated the situation; because, now, I was still that hurt boy, and, on top of that – I had become an angry, bitter and very ill man. Today, I am haunted by memories: of a stunningly beautiful golden-haired god with the body of a Michelangelo, who, almost overnight – turned into a stinking living corpse wearing dirty adult diapers; of my fully drunk friend telling me that his father had molested him – and, me, arrogant and conceited, telling him that I didn’t believe it, he’d be dead in a few years; and of myself – dancing the night away, slipping into the public bathroom stalls, kneeling down in front of the idol of manhood that I created; it was sick, and I was sick. Do I want to be THAT in the afterlife – Hell NO!!!
Honestly and beautifully written. “intimacy with Christ is never ending”. Worth remembering for all humans.
Evil doers will be as uncomfortable in heaven as saints in hell would be.