FIT FOR GLORY

March 27, 2019

 

 

This blog was originally posted on The Catholic Woman.

 

Dear sister,

 
What do you do when things don’t fit? When you don’t fit?

 

Not too long ago, if you had asked me about my sexual orientation, I would’ve told you I was straight. I wouldn’t have told you about the shelf in my mind labeled “weird.” The shelf held a growing collection of not-so-straight moments. I rationalized these experiences of attraction to other women as “outliers,” “flukes.” To call them anything else would have complicated things unnecessarily.

 

Then one day, while scrolling on social media, the weird shelf gave out. It crashed to the floor and took me down along with it. A video showing a close-up of a notebook started playing. Through my headphones, the narrator seemed to quote directly from my own journal:

 

“It sounds dumb but I was considering not writing this in here because I’m embarrassed. I really don’t want to be a lesbian; I’m more bi than that. I need you to help me. I need someone to talk to about this. I don’t know. Help, God. Please.” 

 

Tears streamed down my face in that public campus study area as I watched this woman—this Catholic woman—speak the unspeakable. At 26 years old, I was faced with raw honesty from a fellow Catholic. It was time to sort the shelf.

 

Given that I could no longer pretend I was totally straight, I set up two options for God. Either God loved me, same-sex desires and all, and I no longer fit in the Church. Or, God loved me in spite of my attractions. I could fit in the Church as long as I sufficiently detested that part of myself. God opted for “none of the above.”

 

One morning after Mass, I sat alone in the chapel. The Gospel had been the Transfiguration. Jesus was in front of me in the tabernacle and within me in the Eucharist. And from the depths of my heart, Someone spoke—not with words, but with clear meaning:

 

“Glorify me in your body.” 

 

Almost immediately, I protested. In this body? But what about Church teaching? What about natural law? What about—?

 

“Shhh.” I was silenced. “Not now. I am the law. Come with me.”

 

The joy of homecoming was unmistakable.

 

In that moment and since that moment, I’ve been slowly learning that the only place I will ever truly “fit” is in the presence of the One who made me. In daily prayer, in Mass, in Confession, on retreat: He looks me in the eyes and tells me He loves me, all of me, and that I belong with Him.

 

Glorifying God in my body means admitting my longing for intimacy with anyone, woman or man, to Christ. He has never asked me to shelf it. Rather, the Light who casts out shame says: let’s look at this together.
 

In looking, I’ve learned that attraction is multivalent and mysterious. Sometimes, underneath my unwieldy desire is the fact that I’m overworked, emotionally exhausted, or just needing a hug. In any case, Christ invites me through my desire to be transfigured daily: He illuminates my aching heart with His love and ordering wisdom. 

 

Looking closely at my own nature has helped me look closely at all of creation. And I’ve found sexual complementarity to be a beautiful and miraculous thing. In this light, same-sex desires are a real mystery. But so is God. When I feel that my own longings don’t fit, as long as I am in the cloud of unknowing, I am not far from Him.

 

And out of uncertainty, a Way unfolds. Jesus consistently receives my mysterious desires and prepares places carefully designed for me.

 

Authentic friendships, joyful community, work that draws on my unique gifts. Glorifying God in my body means saying “yes” to my life. It means throwing myself into the tasks and relationships I have been given instead of lamenting the ones I haven't.

 

On days when I’m tired—the glow of Mt. Tabor only a distant memory—I can lean into community. I have found fellow travellers who hear me out and pull me in, friends of Jesus who listen to my sorrows and remind me of His promise. Quite beautifully, some of my deepest joys have come when they humbly let me return the favor. From these faithful companions, I’ve learned that the everyday reality of my life is less about forcing it all to fit and more of an unpredictable adventure with the One who loves me. 

 
So, sister, what do you do when things don’t fit? Do you trust that He has a place for everything—every unspeakable thing? Do you trust that He has a place prepared for you? 

 

Your sister in Christ,

Raquel

 

 

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