The other reason for going out briefly this afternoon was personal spiritual comfort. I know: its deeply unfashionable to be gay or trans or any sort of progressive and still retain some vestige of childhood religiosity. But i do: and despite the easy cliché that has all religion as evil and us as its target, i think we are far better served than perhaps we know.
(Those who just won’t hear otherwise, do skip this if you really must – though the punch line is worth hearing).
One issue, over the last year, has been my not receiving communion since i “came out”. Ridiculously, nothing directly to do with my being trans: everything to do with the fact that i am living with someone when my previous marriage, contracted in a catholic church has not been annulled. That has been a source of irritation over the last twelve months – espesh as it is not a dogmatic position.
It is up to my parish priest and my current priest is that bit more traditional than some.
Still, today and for a while i am in the Brighton parish and i spoke to a local priest (ok: he is Westminster diocese, but still, he’s local for purposes of this) and he was very happy to take confession and give communion.
I don’t think it particularly on for me to discuss in any great detail what was said. Still, we did touch on my transition and he was cool. I said i understood it was problematic in dogma terms. He said it was a “grey area” and “fast evolving”.
He also added a comment that i felt was very worth repeating. “God is beyond gender”. Yep. Oh, yes.
Anyway. Confession. Absolution. And finally, I took communion.
Andrea commented after that i seemed a lot lighter. I hope so. I think – i hope – it is not inappropriate to mention the nature of my penance: to contemplate a text that has meaning for me. I chose (naturally) the prayer of St Francis, which i first read, publically, many years ago in Italian on the anniversary of his feast day – 4 October.
I think it has resonance for far more than the purely religious…so i reproduce it below in the hope that some readers will appreciate it for its beauty, irrespective of anything else:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.