Reports from Ecuador are that Pope Francis is encouraging “intense prayer for a miracle” at the 2015 Family Synod. Frank DeBenardo notes at Bondings 2.0, it’s not obvious just what the pope is referring to, except that he clearly has high hopes for the synod. However, I think we can read more into the words than only that. First, he make a clear admission that many families face difficult circumstances. Real life circumstances, he says, are often not ideal – but we must work with what we have. He goes on to state that the miracle he is asking for, is that God will transform that which “seems” to us to be impure and scandalize us.
He will not have been speaking specifically about LGBT families, but his words will have direct relevance to ourselves. I was particularly struck by these words, with their (unintended) echo of the “It Gets Better” campaign:
“In the family, miracles are made with what we have, with what we are, with what is at hand,” the pope told the crowd. “Many times, it is not ideal, it is not what we dream, nor what it ‘should be.’ “
The pope then poignantly called on those present to believe that things can always get better, that the best always lies ahead, while reflecting on how people in the Gospel story express amazement that the couple being married served the best wine (provided by Jesus) last.
Also included in his address, was the important reminder that God is always on the peripheries – and the obvious implication that that is where the Church should be, too.
“God always moves out to the peripheries, to those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement,” Francis said. “Jesus feels weakness to squander his best wine with those that for one reason or another already feel that their jars have been broken.”
Let us pray that the “miracle” at the Synod may be recognition by the bishops that LGBT people too, are at the peripheries, drinking only of discouragement at the hands of the Church. Let us pray further, that what at present seems to them scandalous, that loving same – sex couples should wish to publicly commit their love in formal marriage or civil unions, is a cause of celebration not scandal, a strengthening of family values, not a threat.
- Pope lands in Ecuador, calls nation to continue in Catholic identity (catholicnewsagency.com)