Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Antidote

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.

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