Sometimes I find myself feeling gypped in this faith.
I catch myself thinking how inconvenient, almost rude, it seems that I would be expected to give up things that make me happy. How can I be expected to sacrifice my deepest desires? It hurts to deny myself. Why?
Why can't I decide who I want to have sex with? Why can't I decide how many children I want? Why can't I lie when it seems warranted to me? Why can't I sleep in when I want to, watch what I want, and say exactly what I think on occasion?
Why am I not even allowed my basest self, my own selfishness? How can I possibly be expected to give up, to deny myself?
I'm not the only one who feels this way. I have seen downright outrage at the idea that homosexuals should live celibate lives. Who has that kind of nerve, to deny someone sex and a lover for the rest of his life? Who could possibly ask that?
I feel the outrage in myself, at the thought of living without contraceptives. How on earth can I be expected to give up sex with the man I love for several days each month, or to welcome child after child into my family? It's my life! How can I be expected to suffer so?
But over and over I've noticed something when I sit in Mass or kneel in Adoration. When I look up at the crucifix, my outrage vanishes.
When I look up at the representation of Jesus Christ in the Crucifixion, I understand in ways too deep for words how I can be expected to deny myself, to suffer for the sake of holiness.
This, then, is the antidote to the poisonous rebellion of the self: the cross, and the one who gladly bore it.