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  • Writer's pictureMarco Casanova

No Gimmicks Part II

Ania and I bonded over our mutual affection for the whole Body of Christ, in our case, the Catholic Church. Why? The Church was healing us. Not a gimmicky program, but the good ole Church. Sacramental and communal, the Church freed us from sin-sick living and confused identities. We were disciples alive in Jesus. Giving ourselves to each other was evidence of our spiritual formation and renewal.

“Healing is an essential dimension of the apostolic mission…when understood at a sufficiently deep level, this expresses the entire content of ‘redemption’” (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth 176). 

Benedict is speaking here about the redeeming effect of Jesus’ presence. He is the healing. When His Kingdom comes into our lives, He “disempowers” what divides us, then rouses faith and empowers reason in “the service of healing.” The healing of Jesus is essentially reasonable. He heals us to make us more ourselves, more human.

Healed from what? 

Ania’s abuse and my “gay” stuff were windows into our wounds: they revealed the deep need we shared for healing. Though different, our fractures felt threatening to our individual personhood. These wounds tried to name us; they made anthropological claims upon our lives. Who am I? What am I made for? Abused and “damaged goods”? Gay and “differently ordered”? 

Unhealed, we attempted to answer these questions badly. We stalled in route to becoming whole-enough gifts. We needed more than recovery gimmicks. We needed redemption in Jesus through His Church.

The saving, healing work of the Church invited us to make peace with who and what we are.  

Ania writes, “My abuse magnetized an assault on my femininity. As one used for sexual pleasure by adults, I came to believe that my value was in my body. In confusion and pain, I sought security through sexual means. My feminine gift was crushed, but not destroyed. Through the Church, I learned God's true vision of womanhood, as well as hope for healing the effects of my abuse and sexual sins. The sacraments, community, and prayer continue to be sources of deep healing.”

Abuse is deep. Loving Ania through her healing process helps me keep my little cross in perspective. Same-sex attraction runs deep too. My struggle invites Ania to grow in her gift-giving as well. There’s something healing about being outer focused in our vulnerability. We heal as we become healing agents for those we love most. 

My inclination to homosexual feelings left me confused about the nature and purpose of my sexuality. I was tempted to conclude that I was disqualified from opposite sex relating. Marriage and fatherhood seemed out of the question. I side-lined into “celibacy” and failed to resolve my inner conflict, which included addictive behaviors. Messy and complicated in my surrender, the Church welcomed me. I discovered her vast resources for sexual healing and wholeness. 

Church men and women walked with me in my unsteady healing; wholeness became real through faithful Christians. I needed orthodox teaching fleshed out in members of Jesus: accompaniment with the goal of robust chastity! 

I didn’t become chaste in isolation. Does anyone? We need Jesus’ people to clarify the way and help us get there.   

I’m grateful that the Church never lost sight of my healing. But I dare say, the Church has become a little sleepy in her God-given mission of healing. Desert Stream/Living Waters wants to wake her up! That’s not a gimmick. We help to raise her age-old foundations. She’s made to heal. 

Join Marco on Desert Streaming as he dives deeper into his blog. Watch here or listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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