The Homosexual person in light of the Orthodox Faith
My heart goes out to homosexual men and women who face a life of rejection and loneliness. I do not believe the majority of them chose to be homosexual. A person would have to be insane to chose a sexual proclivity that fosters hatred and rejection, and in many cases, being ostracized by their friends and family. Many believe there are genetic and environmental influences that cause homosexuality, but this is not provable scientifically. I believe same-sex attraction is the result of the fall, just as is all sin. And, just as all sin requires repentance and the acquisition of a contrite heart, so must the person who is actively involved in same-sex intimacy, repent, and turn to a life of chastity, with the aid of the Church’s sacramental life.
During my years as a priestmonk I have counseled many young men and women who were struggling with same-sex attraction, and trying to live chaste lives as Orthodox Christians. I have come to believe that without the support of the Church, and the Christian community, the struggle these people face will be devastating, and will often end in alienation and defeat.
Many years ago I attended a conference in which one of the speakers presented a hate filled lecture on the subject of homosexuality. Among the people attending the conference was the son of this priest. The young man had been receiving counseling from me, trying as he was to find hope for his future. He was lonely and fearful, afraid he would one day succumb to the strong sexual desires that were rising up within him, as he struggled with one of the strongest of human urges. The young man loved his faith and loved his father, but was filled with self-loathing and afraid his family would one day disown him, should they find out about his sexual proclivity.
Sitting on the platform I had a clear view of the young man, and could see the pain in his face upon hearing his fathers words. Sad to say, this young man did not remain in the Church, and eventually gave in to defeat and despair. Had his father known of his son’s struggles, I have no doubt he’d have given his son the loving assurance that he would always be his son and would never be rejected by his family. I am convinced this young man, had he stayed in the Church, would have received the support and love that was necessary to live a chaste life.
The answer to ALL passions of the flesh can be found within the Church. Just as Her founder, the Church is the fountain of compassion and mercy. It is not Christ’s Church that fails people, but sometimes the very therapists (clergy) who can get caught up in the letter of the law rather than being grounded in the mercy and compassion and love that is the foundation of the Church. Christ is the head of His Church, and we need to mirror His image when dealing with the fallen nature of ALL people. Sin, whatever form it takes, is equal in the eyes of God. We must look only at our own sins and be quick to overlook the sins of our neighbors. As priests of the Most High God, we are called to be agents of His mercy and love, ever offering encouragement to those whom God has placed in our pastoral care. That some must learn to live their lives in chastity, requires the support of loving and understanding clergy, and strong Christian communities.
Finally, I would like to say that the need for intimacy is often the driving force behind sexual promiscuity in all its forms. We all need intimacy, but to confuse this need with sex is the main reason why so many people succumb to sexual sin. The need for intimacy can be fulfilled in deep friendships, but must ultimately find true fulfillment in an intimate relationship with God.
We must submit to the Gospel of Christ, and the long tradition of the Orthodox Church as a hospital for the soul. We are ALL in need of healing, and we all need God’s love, and if we are to bask in the mercy of God, we need to be merciful to others. That Christians are being persecuted and discriminated against in this age of Islamic extremism, and leftist suppression, in no way excuses us Christians from acting in the same merciless way of the unbelievers. We must walk in the Light of Christ, and, with God’s help, serve as agents of His mercy and love, letting the transformational power of His grace change us, and through our acquired love, all those around us. Saint Seraphim of Sarov told us that if we acquire inner peace, a thousand around us will be saved.
With love in Christ,
Thursday September 7, 2017 / August 25, 2017
14th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Return of the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew from Anastasiopolis to Lipari (6th c.).
Holy Apostle Titus of the Seventy (1st c.).
Hieromartyr Moses (1931).
New Hieromartyr priest Vladimir Moschansky (1938).
Sts. Barses and Eulogius (386), bishops of Edessa, and St. Protogenes, bishop of Carrhae (4th c.), confessors.
St. Menas, patriarch of Constantinople (6th c.).
St. John the Cappadocian (520) and St. Epiphanius (535), patriarchs of Constantinople.
Synaxis of Hierarchs of Crete: Andrew the Wonderworker; Cyril, bishop of Gortyna; and Eumenius, bishop of Rome. (Greek).
St. Aredius of Limousin (591) (Gaul).
St. Gregory of Utrecht (775) (Neth.).
Translation of the relics of St. Hilda of Whitby (680) (Celtic & British).
St. Ebba the Elder, abbess of Coldingham, Northumbria, England (683) (Celtic & British).
The Scripture Readings
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Only One Gospel
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) 21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me. 1
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.
A Demon-Possessed Man Healed
5 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.