03 July 2015

Evangelism and Mercy

By chance tonight I remembered Courage International's wonderful film Desire of the Everlasting Hills.  What is this film about, really?  We want to say it's about three homosexual Catholics telling their stories.  But I think this grasps the matter cheaply, using superficial tropes just because they're ready at hand.  Really the film is about three very brave and beautiful people, and it's about them as people.  Brave because all of them have explicitly come to terms with their own weaknesses and incompleteness, and the suffering set before them, and have accepted these things.  Beautiful because all of them display the luminous clarity of soul that comes from the virtue of honesty, which St. Thomas calls "spiritual beauty".

I was astonished after watching the film a second time, and struck to the core (again) by the unpretentious and unforced truthfulness with which these three speak about their lives.  There is the most wonderful self-knowledge here, and incredible mercy.  For all the chaos and anger after Obergefell, I think this film expresses the Gospel as well as anything else I've seen or read this week.  And what strikes me in the end is that the struggles of these beautiful people are not limited to the homosexually inclined.  Who doesn't recognize that the misplaced longing for completion we place in an idolized image of ourselves or others, the perfect romance, or promiscuity, is leading so many sad people in our society down a path of futility and fruitlessness?  But God is always there.  "He has caught us," in the words of Fr. Brown, "with an unseen hook and an invisible line, which is long enough to let us wander to the ends of the world and still to bring us back with a twitch upon the thread."

And remember, it's not really about Catholic homosexuals.