My name is Avera Maria Santo. We've never met before, but we are Sisters in Christ. I'm feeling lead by His Holy Spirit to write you this letter.
I write to you as a sister in faith, I write to you as a beloved Daughter of God, I write to you as a friend.
As a friend, I wanted to reassure you of God's goodness, of His trustworthiness, and of His unfathomable love for me not only as His beloved creature, but also as someone who experiences same-sex attractions.
I didn't always know what the Catholic Church taught about homosexuality, when I found out later on, I didn't understand.
I didn't ask for this, I didn't ask to feel this way. But I did, I still do. And these feelings don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
I wondered, what does this mean for me? What does this mean for me as a person? As a Catholic Christian? As a person living in 2019?
What was I to do?
Simply put, I was to let God love me. I was to let him whisper from the cross, with heavy breath and bloody lips, that he loved me. I was to let Him tell me that He is good to me, and would never withhold anything that I needed from me.
“Good when He gives, supremely good,
Nor less when he denies;
Afflictions, from His sovereign hand,
Are blessings in disguise.”
(Br. Lawrence, Practice of the Presence of God)
This is the cross for me, the cross His sovereign hand has allowed me to carry. My cross is not my identity, nor was my Savior's cross His. For His Cross could not hold Him, and the grave could no longer carry the weight of His glory.
My Savior lives; He lives, and now He lives in me!
When I hear the term “gay,” I hear a lack. I hear an unfinished valid, a story with no sufficient ending.
I hear the cries of Good Friday with no rejoicing of Easter Sunday, I hear no promise of the Resurrection, no promise of being made new.
Calling myself or anyone gay is a reduction of our human dignity. It's a label that doesn't say nearly enough about me, nor the sovereign hand that created me.
It says that my value, my worth, my identity lies in who I find myself attracted to, not Who created me to love, for love, and out of love.
It simply isn’t enough. It sees only part of the picture, hiding away the full beauty of my personhood; it disregards all else that I am, and all that God wills for me.
As a Catholic, I don’t stand under the banner of Gay Pride. I stand under the banner of being humbly man, made in the image and likeness of the Creator of the Universe, of the human heart and soul, of all of me.
Today and everyday, especially during this month, I heed the call to celebrate my humanity, my being created by the hands of the Divine Craftsman, brought to life out of the fires of His Love, and left burning with the desire to come back to Him.