Good evening!Last night with Rayne I watched a film called “Boy Erased” which is about a young gay guy coming to terms with his sexuality. To step it up a bit, his dad was a pastor and he was an only child.A good watch based on a true story and available on Netflix.Yesterday a book also arrived here in London for me from another ‘boy erased’, Anthony Venn-Brown who was a successful preacher with a shameful secret until it all erupted.Both the film and what I’ve read so far of the book have startling similarities with themes of depression, shame, sexual experimentation, secrecy, confusion and healing.Both also have happy endings in that they both accepted that they were gay and realised that God loved them that way.”For us to be friends, one of us is going to have to change and that is you” said the boy to his pastor dad after surviving a gay conversion camp that nearly killed him.Mum who was played by Nicole Kidman made a profound statement:”I love God and I love my son, for me it’s that simple”Followed by”For your dad it’s a little more complicated”.Once again it highlights that those who have studied the word of God find themselves bound to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law.Mum who just instinctively knew they she must love her son found herself far more free and available than Dad who was caught up in rules and religiosity.How easy indeed it is to put head knowledge before love and think one is defending God when actually they are fighting Him.”Why are you persecuting me?” asked Jesus to Saint Paul who believed that he was doing the work of God be killing and imprisoning these dangerous christians!Perhaps Jesus is asking many people in the church today the same question in relation to the LGBT community.“Why are you persecuting me?”And so this Sunday as we pray for unity and an end to things like racism and injustice, let us spare a thought and a prayer for all the LGBT people suffering because of injustices and intolerances in both the church and world so that one day every mother and father can say:”I love God and I love my son, for me it’s that simple”Thanks for reading!Michael
Good afternoon to you all. It’s cold and rainy here in London and so the perfect day to do a little bit of writing.
As you know I started to run and get interested in fitness about 8 months ago. It’s been a gradual process and yet very educational.
The top photo I took today, the bottom about 6 months ago and I must say it’s very satisfying to see the progress that I’ve made.
Up to this point in my life I’ve never been too interested in sport. You see when you grow up gay you can run away from the sports world because of not fitting in and this can cause you to hate sport when actually the issue was never about sport to begin with. It’s not the case for every gay guy but it was for me!
But Jesus is the great healer and restorer and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as we get healed we do things that we didn’t do before….sport in my case!
However as I was looking over the pictures I smiled and said to myself
“I wonder if sin is like fat?”
You see all my life people would say to me
“You’re thin Michael, you can eat what you want and it makes no difference.”
Yet the camera was saying differently as was my stomach!
And so I wondered if this was like saying to someone
“You are such a good person, you can do what you want and have no need of confession ”
What if sin is like fat? What if it sticks to your soul just like fat sticks to your body and what if it builds up subtly over time to the extent that you don’t see it?
And what if your friends are like you and they say “you are fine” when you’re not because they don’t see their sins either?
What if sin is stubborn to remove like fat and requires a total change of diet and lifestyle?
What if it takes months and years of hard work to get rid of years of sins just like shedding fat?
What if some sins are harder to remove than others just like some areas of fat are harder to get rid of?!!
What if everyone around us was fat and unfit and so we all thought that it was just normal?
And what if there was nobody to tell us the truth and to get us into shape?!
These are just some of the questions that came to my mind as I look at my progress and while I’m delighted with the results, I’m even more delighted that it’s not just my body that I’m looking after but my spiritual soul too.
Prayer is the exercise of the spirit and charity is the out working of prayer and yet we live in a society where we are so focused on looking after our bodies that nobody hardly mentions the soul.
What is the point of being fit and healthy and then dying and going to hell?
What is the point in neglecting our souls just so we look good?
Perhaps St. Thomas of Aquanis could answer this question for us as he is a doctor of the church and was as fat as a whale!
That said I do believe that God is calling us to look after our bodies too and not to justify laziness, sloth or gluttony by claiming we don’t want to appear vain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking good and giving all the glory to God!
And so as I continue my journey of holiness, wholeness and health the key word is balance. Balancing a healthy prayer life with healthy eating habits with a healthy exercise routine and for those of you who like sacrifice and hard work, let me assure you that there is plenty of it!
One has to sacrifice things like chocolate, fatty foods and has to overcome laziness and sloth on those days when exercising feels like hell!
Yet the rewards are great and as we grow more and more in self-mastery and health we can’t but give God even more thanks for the wonderful gift of life and marvel at how He created us.
So ya, let’s get the balance and let’s look after our minds, our bodies and our souls and show the whole world what it’s like to be fully alive with Jesus!
Thanks for reading and may God bless and inspire you in new ways to have even more of the abundant life that He wants for you and for your families, friends and the whole world!
St. Thomas of Aquanis, pray for us.
Hello from the church where I sit and pray in front of Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.
If He wasn’t so hidden would He be more popular? Would the church be full?
At this stage of my journey with Jesus I believe that the answer would be no!!
Even if Jesus made Himself visible to us all I think He’d be just as unpopular as soon as He mentioned things like “convert”, “pray”, “forgive”, “atone”, “reparation’, “hell”…..
People are simply not drawn or attracted to anything that sounds like hard work and putting it very bluntly, following Jesus is hard work and is indeed very hard and requires a lot of perseverance, determination, integrity, honesty and humility.
Anyway, that aside let me share something more encouraging that happened earlier.
(That’s me with Rayne’s uniform….Nurse Moloney doesn’t like blood, vomit or cleaning. He has limited patience, hates blood and can’t stand whingers!!!!)
Ok, so this lady who regularly visits our church and prays a lot has been going through a hard time. I always go out of my way to say hello to her and chat for a few minutes because I know what it’s like to be in her position.
Usually I simply listen to her and encourage her to keep on going and trusting in Jesus despite the trials that she is experiencing. Some people find it easier than others to accept that the Jesus who loves us is also the Jesus who allows much suffering to come our way and some people can get discouraged by such trials. When it comes to trials and trusting I think I’m a pro at this stage and so find myself in a position to encourage others.
I offered to say a little prayer with her and then she said a prayer for me. It went something like this:
“Thank you Jesus for dear Michael who you are using to help me and talk to me in this darkness where it feels like you have left me. Thank you for sending him to step into the breach, he is such a nice and kind young man”.
To be honest I am so used to being insulted by people that I was speechless and deeply touched by her words which came spontaneously and from her heart.
In many ways I’m simply paying back what I too have received over the years when Jesus used others to help me when things were blacker than black and yet how nice it was today to be thanked and appreciated.
You too may be reaching out in love to others, offering a kind word and a listening ear and at times you may be wondering if it’s doing any good and you may feel discouraged and sick of the lot of it…..Yet, keep on going!!
If we were to get too much encouragement from human beings we might get fat heads with pride. God calls us constantly to act and move in faith by doing what is pleasing to Him regardless of whether people appreciate it or not.
Every now and then (like today for me), He will speak through someone so as to encourage us to keep on going and that what we are doing has great meaning and significance though it be hidden from the eyes of the world.
And so as I sit in this empty church today I have a choice. Do I look backwards at the empty seats or do I gaze forwards to the fullness of love?
“Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith, thank you for your presence all around us regardless of whether we feel it or not. Strengthen the souls of those who are struggling with doubt and despair. Send them love, support and community and inspire each one of us in what we say and in what we do to bring love and hope to every soul we meet today”.
Thanks for reading!
After reading my blog yesterday a friend from France asked me to pray for the young people there struggling with the lockdown. Confined to their apartments day after day she told me that many were falling victims to suicide.
Lockdown of course has the potential to turn any of us a bit fruity…
But on a more serious note, for some it is too much.
As someone who’s had my fair share of emotional breakdowns I know all too well how something like lockdown could push people over the edge.
Many people have very little social contact and small things like sitting in a coffee shop and maybe a chat with a stranger can be life and death.
Others have very difficult situations and relationships at home and so getting out of the house is paramount to maintaining good mental health while for others the gym and sport is a key factor.
Lockdowns came on us all unannounced and many people, perhaps more especially younger people were unprepared and not equipped to deal with such a thing. I know that I wouldn’t have been back in the day.
Perhaps the most depressing thing from a younger person’s perspective is the fact that nobody knows when it will all end. Having an ‘end time’ often allows us to get through hard events because we can reason with ourselves that things will be better afterwards. However having no end time is a bit like being diagnosed with a terminal illness …things can feel hopeless.
And so what to do to iron out these difficulties?
(See how Rayne has domesticated me….my mum would be so proud!).
Well often what is needed is a change of perspective and things like counselling, prayer, meditation and coming up with creative and alternative strategies to achieve our ambitions and goals.
This is where those of us who are a bit older or who have already navigated through stormy waters in life can reach out in love to those who are a bit younger and in need of help.
Sometimes something as simple as a regular phone call or message or sending a little gift can make all the difference and break the cycle of depression and loneliness.
As we befriend others they may well share their inner struggles with us and this is a ‘sacred conversation’ where we can really be God’s instruments of both healing and hope.
And of course we can then pray for these people too and bring them in our hearts to Jesus until such time as they learn how to pray for themselves.
Yet however must take care to look after ourselves too and not let ourselves get swamped by other people’s problems and fall into a depression ourselves.
So today let us once again embark on the journey of love and hope, of spreading joy, of being a listening ear, of sharing a kind word, of praying for one another and of setting time aside for ourselves too. Let us reach out in humility and in love to those younger people who may be struggling and who may simply need a caring friend during this time.
Have a day filled with love and care for others!
Good evening from London as Lockdown continues to force us to find alternative ways of staying healthy in mind and body.
One of these ways has been a home gym.
We are blessed here at the church to have two large halls that are now free due to the lockdown and what a perfect place to do some sport.
This morning we had a group session and it was a lot of fun! “Pray hard and play hard” as they say and it certainly was that.
Seamus continues to work at Nando’s as they are doing delivery so this morning he had a workout, mass and then off to work. Well done Seamus, you’re killing it!!
Toni continues to develop his art and prayer gifts along with now being the sacristan at St Mary of the Angels and little be little his transition is moving forward. One day Toni’s story will inspire multitudes, I’m certain!
Rayne continues to work full time on the front line as a nurse. He deals with covid patients every day and never complains or grumbles. He trusts in God with all his heart.
And I continue to crack the whip and help everyone along in whatever way I can while continuing with the ministry of evangelisation and prayer…..
We are so fortunate here at the church to have eachother, to have the hall and to have daily mass. We are truly blessed by Jesus and it’s like He has put a protective shield around us that has protected us from so many of the difficulties that others have faced such as not having mass, loneliness, depression etc.
As I reflect on this all I can say is that prayer works and the promises of Jesus are true. When one places one’s life in His hands, He really does look after things in extraordinary ways.
And I know that some of you out there are receiving similar blessings and are continuing to prosper in spite of the current difficulties while others may be struggling to adapt and adjust and perhaps feel abandoned be Jesus.
To those I would say, TRUST, perhaps God is stripping you of certain things and it’s hard but continue to pray and trust while surrendering all to His plans and ways. Trials are part of life and are the best teachers if we allow them to be!
Remember that there is nothing wrong with needing and asking for help from both God and from others. That’s what being a Christian is all about.
And of course if anyone one like us to pray for them then please get in touch a and we will be more than happy to do that. It is our ministry after all!
And so as I prepare for bed tonight I thank Jesus for all the blessings in my life and my prayers are for everyone out there, that they too may come to know the supernatural gift of knowing and following Jesus and allowing Him to bless and transform their lives in extraordinary ways!
Bless you all,
As I sit here this evening I have a rubik’s cube in my hand.
As you can see it has 6 sides and 6 different colours.
To go about fixing it we have to take these two simple facts into account. We can’t say “I don’t like yellow or the number 6 so let’s pretend that the yellow doesn’t exist and that there are only 5 sides”!!
It won’t work because it’s just not true.
Now our lives can be like the rubik’s cube with different colours and sides and often equally messed up and we may be praying to God for the gift of happiness while simultaneously shouting at Him “don’t touch the yellow”!!!
In other words we may want God to give us happiness and yet not be willing to allow God into certain areas of our lives.
I see it all the times with repressed homosexuals in the church. They want happiness and yet they don’t want to accept their sexualities.
All the rosaries and the novenas in the world are no good for such people until they accept and open up about their sexualities and integrate into their lives.
God is a miracle worker and not a magician. He’ll work miracles to fix up our lives but He won’t wave a magic wand and change who we are.
Gays are just one example of this. There are thousands of others. People want happiness without putting all their cards on the table, especially the dark sides and so they block God from working.
It takes courage to accept all of who we are, it takes even more courage to tell others and it takes even more courage to surrender it all to God and to talk openly and vulnerably about it!
Yet one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is courage and so today let’s live up to this gift of the Holy Spirit and let’s have the courage to be honest with ourselves, to be honest with God and to be honest to the people around us for it is in being and integrating our true selves that we will find the full freedom and happiness that we are praying for.
Good afternoon from a beautiful and snowy London. Rayne is at work but he escaped from the hospital for a few minutes to enjoy the snow!
Earlier this morning I was doing some sport and without meaning to I woke someone in the house up. Angry and quite grumpy he gave me a good piece of his mind which to be honest I kind of half deserved.
Yet about 20 minutes later he messaged me to apologise for how he’d spoken to me and it really touched me. We forgave eachother and moved on!
But you see he could have reacted differently. He could have said nothing and then kept the anger inside and then let it turn to bitterness without ever telling me.
Sadly many people do this. Instead of telling you what you did to hurt them they go silent and cold and bitter. They close their hearts to love and true relationship and often never explain why.
It is impossible to ever have a true relationship with people like this until they decide to open up and share what’s going on in their hearts.
This is why prayer from the heart is so important and why letting out the pain and grievances of our hearts is so important if we want maintain good relationships!
Just as at times the earths atmosphere needs to release pressure through rain and snow so too do our hearts need to put words to the feelings of anger and pain. Only afterwards can we work on forgiveness.
And so as the snow falls today and washes the place white and clean, I pray that whatever cold is blocking our hearts from loving may also be released so that we may move from anger to love and from bitterness to happiness.
Pick up that pen or phone and reconcile with your brother today, unforgiveness is not worth it!
Have a holy and snowy day!
Today’s gospel was super short, here it is:
Gospel, Mark 3:20-21
Did you notice that it was Jesus’ relations that thought that Jesus was nuts and not the crowd?
Well obviously to the crowd Jesus was less known but to his relations He was acting differently.
His relations saw him growing up and being a good little boy, son and carpenter and now, all of a sudden he was behaving like a madman.
Crowds around Him, ranting and raving about God, performing miracles…what happened to the ‘old Jesus’ and who was this guy?
Did he overdose on magic mushrooms or take a bad trip on meth or something or was he on psychotic episode?!!
And yet we know in faith that Jesus didn’t go crazy, He had simply changed!
Changed how? He changed once He was baptized and went on His mission. Up to that point he was just the boy next door but the Holy Spirit changed everything about Him.
He had a new mission, he traveled around with no permanent home, he talked about God with authority despite having no formal religious education. He performed healings and miracles and crowds were running after Him hungry for His next word.
To His relations the change was so dramatic that there seemed to be no explanation other than that He had gone mad!!
Now of course some people actually do go mad for various reasons but 2000 years later the Holy Spirit still dramatic changes lives like He did with Jesus and very often their relations think that they too are barking mad!!
I am one of those people and I smile now as I look back on my conversion 13 years ago!
Both my mother aunt auntie (who was like a second mum) were convinced I was psychotic. It took them 8 years to stop talking about my imaginary psychosis and how I might be healed!!!
And so the sad reality was that I had to disconnect from them while hoping and praying that they would actually be healed and their eyes opened.
Yes, following Jesus and following the Holy Spirit and living the gospel is just as counter-cultural nowadays as it was with Jesus.
Miracles, visions, hearing voices, seeing things, living on providence, exorcisms etc. all still exist and to those that don’t understand it looks like mental illness!!!
It’s comforting to be in the a similar position to Jesus and it’s actually very funny too when people think you are mad and are trying to heal you while you are trying to heal them.
And so today as we pray and give our lives to Jesus, let us do so cheerfully and not take it too seriously when people think we are nuts.
We will never be ‘normal’ to some people and so while getting on with our lives we can hope and we can pray that our relations might also have an encounter with the Holy Spirit and that they too may join our crazy club!!
“Will you pray for me” a friend from a few years back asked me today.
It deeply touched me because I had spoken to this person many times about God and I felt that I may as well have been talking about a man on the moon eating cheese!
Yet very humbly and honestly he explained how he is going through a hard time and that he would really appreciate my prayers for his healing.
Of course my prayers for him are guaranteed but what really surprised me was that he asked!!
Once again I felt Jesus smiling on me and encouraging me.
This guy has been following me on facebook and saw that I’m doing well with church, with sport and in a relationship.
Now he’s never really ‘liked’ any of posts on Facebook and to be honest not many people do. I guess people don’t know what to think….I’m too gay for a lot of the catholics and too catholic for a lot of the gays.
At times I truly feel very discouraged with it all and wonder if I’m not just wasting my life and wasting my time!
Which is why a message like this encourages me so much. It reminds me that my life does make a difference, that people are observing and that even though they might not say it, some of them even like and respect me.
And so as I ponder on this today and pray for my friend, I encourage all you people of prayer out there to persevere with Jesus and to let your light and love shine no matter how much or how little encouragement you get!
Please continue to pray for all those in the LGBT bracket who have not yet experienced the love of God and struggle to fit in the church.
May they be set free of addictions, depression, anxiety, self-hatred, fear and rejection and may they come to know the loving Lord Jesus who has good plans for them in both this life and the next!
Thanks for reading and thanks for praying for me too.
God is love and we all know that love is expressive and is something to be lived in the open rather than hidden.
However for us gay people the opposite is often the case. Our love gets labelled as sin and and any expression of this love from holding of hands to an innocent kiss on the cheek can cause quite a stir.
Earlier today Rayne showed me a Filipino Facebook page where a gay filipino couple posted quite a nice and tasteful picture of them together. What was quite a shock was the reaction of the Filipino community who quite literally tore them apart in a very vulgar and homophobic way.
That said Jesus calls us to be free and to love and to rise above and beyond fear and intimidation and so with this in mind after praying in front of the blessed sacrament I felt Jesus inspiring me to buy some flowers for Rayne and not to be afraid!!
So I went to the shops and got some red roses and a card and the guy at the shop was so helpful that he offered me a pen and told me I should buy some condoms for ‘her’. I smiled and thought of replying “the flowers are for ‘him’ actually ” but he had left.
Rayne liked my gesture so much that he posted it on his Facebook and got over 150 ‘likes’. I reposted it on mine and got less than 10. 😥😥
Such are the trials that us gay people face. The more God frees and heals us the more some people hate us and hate our love, especially in the church.
Yet the church is our church too and our love must be accepted too rather than condemned.
At times I hold Rayne’s hand in the church. I feel the looks and the intimidation of some people and while outwardly I seem calm, inwardly my heart is beating and I feel both fear and anxiety and yet I feel empowered by just being me.
And yet it’s sad that the church does not understand this love and that many church-going people are afraid of love…..the very thing the church is all about.
And so as I continue my journey with God and with Rayne we are growing and learning so much and learning to adapt to the church and the world around us.
We are planning to visit the Philippines later this year and that could be quite an interesting experience and perhaps a steep learning curve!
In any case everywhere we go our lives and witness will say and promote one thing, that we are gay, we are loved and we are part of the catholic church and of the family of God and our lives can give other gay people all over the world some hope, love and encouragement that they too are precious children of God and have a place in the church.
Please pray for our mission, our relationship and our witness and may saint Michael the Archangel protect and defend us from all evil!!
Love, peace and blessings to all,
Michael & Rayne