Wednesday, December 9, 2020
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Excerpt from Today’s Reading:
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
(Matthew 11:28-30)

I won’t sugarcoat it - it’s extremely tiring to be a queer Catholic sometimes, especially when you spend a good portion of your spiritual life trying to carve a space for yourself on an-already uncomfortable wooden pew in a Church that hasn’t always been the most-welcoming. 

If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never understood Catholics’ fascination with discomfort. There’s the constant kneeling and aforementioned pew sitting while at Mass. There’s the sacrament of confession where we’re forced to report all of our wrongdoings to a man supposedly serving as a holy conduit (shrug emoji). And don’t even get me started on some of the Lenten fasting. These are all admittedly trivial observations, but observations nonetheless. 

Now depending on our respective attachment to the Church, a lot of these gestures have already become quite mechanical to us. It’s become second nature for some to not only anticipate the mild discomfort but weirdly enough, embrace it and just go with it as part of the tradition because that’s what’s been done for generations. And I’d argue that’s why several queer Catholics, like myself, didn’t think to challenge the Church’s many offenses towards our community at first. I mean, weren’t we meant to feel burdened by our faith? To actually lean into the uneasiness instead of repel it?

And the answer is a resounding ‘No.’ Part of the exhaustion tied with being a queer Catholic is from trying to make sense of the discomfort our faith has made us feel about ourselves and our sexual and gender identities. That’s all tied to antiquated doctrine and the harsh rhetoric of those somehow chosen to serve in authoritative roles within the Church’s hierarchy. We’ve genuinely been gaslit to think that the shame we’ve attached to our lives is part of that persistent Catholic tradition of discomfort, when it most certainly isn't.

Which is why God has specifically called out to LGBTQ Catholics. We, more than many, have felt labored and burdened by the institution and continue to look for ways to feel strengthened and rejuvenated by God's love. And what better way to do that than to actually find comfort in our God who promised it? To know that “kindness and compassion” are our true rewards and not the anxieties we’ve been forced to carry for far too long. 

Xorje O.

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Out at St. Paul (OSP) is the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans ministry of our parish, The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. We seek to engage our Catholic faith through service to our community, social activities, and the exploration of Catholic spirituality.