As you all know or if you don’t you will if you continue reading, yesterday was the feast day of Saint Therese of the child Jesus.
The thing that we often forget about the saints of the church is that they were nearly all far more loved by the church after their death than before!
Then again, the same could be said about Jesus himself.
From Therese to Padre Pio whom we’ve just celebrated to Faustina who we’ll celebrate on Tuesday, none of them were particularly loved or respected by the powers that be.
Why is this? Well there are a few reasons, one is perhaps the corruption in the church that fails to see holiness even when its staring them in the face but it’s not just that!
The main reason is actually because Jesus wanted it that way! Just as he chose to himself to be born into a simple family and to become a carpenter, he disguised himself on ordinariness so only the ordinary could recognize him.
It seems that no matter how much study and books are written by the church that time and time again the Holy Spirit is able to raise up saints and holiness in new and wonderful forms.
I was at two masses yesterday. One was at the polish church with the divine mercy apostolate in Ealing and the second was a solemn and sung mass at the Carmelites to honour Saint Therese who of course was a Carmelite too.
At both masses I felt so strongly to pray for the LGBTQ community. Especially the fragile and sensitive souls just like Therese who have perhaps been kicked out of home or are struggling with anxiety and depression relating to their orientation.
I thought of my own life and my own mum who you see in the photo.
When I told her I was gay 14 or so years ago, in shock and panic she said she’d kill herself. When I told her that I was having visions she was convinced that I was nuts and yet Therese of the child Jesus taught me to pray, to trust, to wait and to believe in miracles.
And now my mum is perfectly ok with me being gay and having visions etc. and I even send her my daily blog!
But it was a long and very painful battle and the main obstacle wasn’t hatred or homophobia. The main obstacle was fear!
My mum loved me immensely and despite being a bit of a troublemaker I was probably also her favourite. I was the one that “got away with murder”.
So when I announced that I was gay and having visions, quite naturally fear paralysed her. Fear that I’d go to hell, fear I’d die of aids, fear I’d be beaten up and bullied, fear I’d have no future.
As another mum said to me once:
“I’ve nothing against gay people, I love them all the same but I’d rather that my kids weren’t gay because of all the injustice and bullying that gay people get in society”.
And you see as I prayed yesterday I smiled and asked Therese if she knew anything about LGBTQ people before she died!
Probably not is the answer but one thing is for sure and that’s that she knows all about them now and loves them very much.
And so today as I thank God for the gift of Therese, I also pray that the barriers of fear and the walls of rejection will be broken down in our church and in our society so that young gay people and their parents can grow up with hope and joy and aspire to holiness and happiness just like everyone else.
Saint Therese, pour down many roses from heaven on all families with LGBT children and deliver our church from all fear of embracing and loving her LGBT children.
May the Holy Spirit raise up many new and unexpected saints for the future from the LGBT community just like the Pio’s and Faustinas and Therese’ that we have already for the glory of God and the healing of the church and world!