A few weeks ago as I was getting my bike I noticed a lonely bottle of champagne in the courtyard just sitting there as if Santa had come early and yesterday on the celebration of the epiphany I had an epiphany.

On Wednesday Séamus had cooked some Irish stew for the house and there was so much left over that I decided to invite Brenda who’s just out of hospital up for dinner and champagne.

What better way to open a bottle of bubbly than with friends and especially with Brenda who is only just out of hospital after months of discomfort and upheaval!

Brenda has been a great source of prayer a support to us since we’re met her and although immersed in prayer and pilgrimages from before I was probably even born she has never judged us or shunned us for being LGBT and has always treated us with the same dignity and respect as anyone else.

Not everyone is as wise and understanding as Brenda and some people won’t even go to mass in our church because we are there! Just as Jesus was judged for hanging around with tax collectors and sinners are some judged and criticised for hanging about with the LGBT Catholics.

Yet at the root of all this isn’t so much hatred as misunderstandings. People are afraid and I can understand better than most because often I’ve been afraid too!!

I still remember meeting my first catholic transgender person back in Australia and at the time I was of the frame of mind that she should not be receiving communion while transitioning and taking hormones etc.

It wasn’t that I had anything against this person but in my limited understanding of inner healing and deliverance I was convinced that one could not be genuinely following the Holy Spirit and continue to transition at the same time.

Looking back I would probably have said the same thing about being in a same sex relationship which is why when I meet people who hate me or think that I’m following the devil I say to myself “hey, I used to think like that too” and pray that they receive the grace of understanding like I because this LGBT area isn’t so black and white!

The result of the hard and fast black and white approach is that LGBT people who could benefit an awful lot from the charismatic inner healing and deliverance ministry are terrified of going anywhere near it because of the pressure to convert!

This is undoubtedly Satan’s way of keeping LGBT people away from the heart of Jesus because when it comes to things like inner wounds and inner healing the LGBT people have more than most.

I am convinced that a charismatic inner healing and deliverance ministry is needed for LGBT Catholics and not to convert them into straight people or whatever but to free them/ us into being holy gay people who pray!

I’m also convinced that the demons of hatred and religiosity are far more offense to Jesus and destructive to the church than all the sins of sodomy or what not combined.

And so on that note and on today, Friday, the day we remembered the passion of Jesus we pray for all the LGBT people in need of inner healing and deliverance so that they too can pop open a bottle of champagne and enjoy being gay, being catholic charismatic and being fully alive!

Michael