by Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS (CBCP for Life)
“Are you ready for a changed life?”
These are the words of John Zulueta addressed to those who want to get out of the homosexual lifestyle. John, Director of Bagong Pag-asa, a support group for men and women who want to step out of homosexuality and who is himself an ex-gay, knows the difficult transition that they have to undergo. It is important that we who work in the Family and Life Ministry strive to truly understand what homosexuality is all about and the struggles homosexual people go through. Allow me to quote lengthily from his article published in the group’s newsletter because it is only when we hear them speak of their own experience that we can rejoice with them.
“We often ask God to change us. But when change seems remote, we either grumble or build a case against Him, particularly when we experience the same temptations again and again. I remember Jesus asking the invalid at the pool in Bethesda: ‘Do you want to get well?’ Seemingly, Christ asked a silly question since the man has been there for 38 years hoping that one day he’ll get the chance to get into the pool first when it gets stirred for healing. Why then would Christ ask such a question? Could it be that the man has been used to lying down on the pool side having his food served to him and living the life of a crippled man? Could Christ be asking: ‘Are you ready for a changed life? If I heal you, your life will never be the same again. You will have to work for your food; it will not be served to you anymore. You will have to move away from the pool side where you have comfortably lived the past 38 years of your life.’”
The following message is not only applicable to those in the homosexual life but to many of us involved in some form of addiction. John writes:
"Have we asked ourselves what is involved in being healed/changed? It means life will not be the same. You can’t be doing the things you used to do. You can’t be going where you used to go. You need to live life differently. Are you changing patterns and habits – sleeping, fun and recreation habits, texting habits like texting ‘sweet nothings’ which can actually be seductive scheming in disguise? Are you willing to change your choice of clothes, fashion style, relational patterns and whatever you have been comfortable with yet you know is identified with the homosexual lifestyle?"
Are you willing to embrace your cross? Embracing something requires you to bring it close to your body. Imagine carrying a load of books with outstretched arms. How would that feel compared to carrying the same load by embracing it? Truth is, when we embrace our burdens they become lighter and more bearable than when we try to do away with them. In the same manner, identify your cross and embrace it. Could it be loneliness? Sexual torment? Neediness? Do not deny your cross. To follow Christ is to suffer and be like Him. Only when we die to ourselves will we experience resurrection – a new life.
Lastly, a changed life involves giving. Healing and change usually happen in the context of community. God changes us not just for ourselves but to impact our community, our society, our nation and the world. The sooner you give of yourself in order to change your community, the easier it will be for you to maintain that change.
Remember, you do not manufacture time. You spend it. You do not create a blessing, you receive it. You were not endowed with talents so you will be above the rest; they are meant to serve others. One’s healing should reflect the character of Christ, the Healer, to the world at large.”
The members of Bagong Pag-asa, a non-Catholic Christian Charitable Foundation, and Courage, a Catholic support group for ex-gays, can be contacted through Pro-life office at 733-7027, 0919-2338873 or www.prolife.org.ph. They are available to give talks, seminars, and counseling.
You can also contact Bagong Pagasa through their website at www.bagongpagasa.org and Courage Philippines through our contact details displayed on the sidebar of this blog.