One of the questions that I’ve encountered several times is how I could, as a queer Catholic, consider something which is disordered to be a gift. Basically the argument runs as follows: perhaps gifts may come as a result of a disorder, but the disorder itself is never a gift. For example, a cancer patient may receive courage and growth in holiness through her cancer, but the cancer itself is a tragedy not a treasure!
I’m naturally inclined to disagree, but it would seem insensitive to tell a cancer patient that their illness is a gift from God — and to be fair I would never suggest that someone suffering is obliged to imagine their suffering in that way. Grief is normal, including anger and rejection of pain and the desire for it to just go away. But of my own sorrows, I can speak.
In the Pauline Epistles class I teach, we talked today about the “overlap of the ages” that Paul portrays in his depiction of the redemption of the world in Jesus Christ. Believers exist in a present age that is “evil” (Galatians 1:4) and marked by sin and death (Romans 5:12-21), but in the death and resurrection of Jesus the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) has dawned and now exists as an incursion of the future into the present. The light of the new creation’s dawn is diffused into the fog of this present age (2 Corinthians 4:4) in such a way that we have real hope that the light will one day burn the fog away completely. Nonetheless, that day is not yet. And so we groan, eagerly awaiting the consummation of the redemption that has been inaugurated (Romans 8:23). The light has come, but not yet in its fullest glory.