There has been a lot of divisive talk among Catholics regarding Pride Month. Some are taking the extreme stance of suggesting we don't celebrate Pride month based on our Moral Principles. Some are suggesting we honor the dignity of the people regardless of orientations. After all, the Catechism of the Church directs us to honor, respect, and accept these people in love without distinction from God.
Let me be blunt. Pride month is a way for an entire segment of our society to express PART of who they are in identity. The whole idea of Pride month from my heterosexual standpoint is about inclusion. Being included in part of the story of our culture is something every living and breathing human has a right to express, especially after long periods of persecution.
Now, pride in the sinful sense is when we are too full of ourselves that we push God out. EGO-Edging God Out is where sinful pride drives its power. I will admit, I am guilty of prideful boasting. I would assert that when the Pride community shows up en mass they aren't boasting, they are sharing their life in a way that we would be blind too.
Does real love exist in the Pride community? OF COURSE! Love exists in all areas, even in the darkest of spaces. Should we not recognize the gifts the Pride community has offered us as a culture? If you say, no, then turn off your radio, burn your books, shoot, stop going to Church because someone of different sexuality than yourself has contributed to all facets of our lives.
Now, do not twist my intentions here- I am attempting to build a bridge.
St. Paul, in his message to the Corinthians, explains how each of us blessed with the Seal of the Holy Spirit is also blessed with the Seven Gifts of the Spirit's nature: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Awe of the Lord can be used to navigate this 30 days of Pride month.
Wisdom- Critically think about what we know to be true and lovingly express this.
Understanding- Walking a mile in closeted person shoes might bare us some greater compassion for the need to have a Pride month.
Council- When we see hatred, bigotry, and malice toward God's children by our brothers and sisters in faith, we should counsel them in the tenderness of conscience and not the hardness of heart.
Fortitude- This gift of endurance is uniquely present in the Pride community. They have to endure a painful process of self-discovery and acceptance, along with a history of persecution and hatred.
Knowledge- Let us remember that we strive to see things from Almighty God's perspective, that is knowledge. We can NEVER assume to know God so well that we can dictate how things will shape up at the end of time.
Piety- This is a gift of surrender to God. Trusting in this universal force of love that shapes and creates all things, and lives between us is what might help us ease the anxiety and pain Pride month might open for people.
Awe of the Lord- If the previous gifts are active in your life, this last one is the natural bi-product and at the same time, the source of all gifts when we shudder under the immensity of the Lord from love beyond any limit.
I would encourage any of us who hear messages of fear, or condemnations by our leaders to strongly think about what we know in experience, what we love in our hearts, and what these virtues tell us about our brothers and sisters. Celebrate those who are different and embrace the gifts the Spirit offers to us in those relationships. That's how I think we build a bridge of love in an otherwise disordered world.
If we put these things into practice, we may find the peace that only Christ can give. Wouldn't that be something?