Many of our youth may find themselves falling into a world of mixed emotions and experiences that are both astounding and confusing. Since they have not yet acquired a solid and mature skill set, they often don’t know how to negotiate and express what they are going through.
Sadly, these experiences could trigger deep-seated and life-marking passions that strongly affect and shape their self-perception. Moreover, it is not unusual that, as they are tossed in these emotional tempests, they don’t have anyone beside them to help them navigate through the tumultuous waves, people with whom they could properly tackle these issues with.
In some cases, such difficult and trying experiences leave them wounded and scarred for life. We only have to consider the devastating effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family, of suffering early sexual and physical abuse, and of constant exposure to pornography or to illicit drugs are just a few of the tragedies many of them face today.
However, a good number of these young souls miraculously survive this psycho-socio-emotional battlefield without the need for extraordinary intervention. A few, however, may not count among the casualties.
Still, no matter how wounded a person may have been in life; no matter how distorted one’s vision of life, persons, and relationships have become, the heart remains steadfast in its continuing search for the truth and it doesn’t rest until it finds genuine love and understanding.
When one lacks formation in truth or is not in possession of an upright disposition, the tendency is to take on an “identity” to tailor-fit the conditions life seems to have unfairly dealt him. There is a tendency to create an identity he feels will suit the conditions that life has tailored for him. This is especially true for those who strongly believe in identity-labeling their sexual tendency or inclination.
But such identity redesigning may simply become an inner mask clouding our hearts from facing and accepting our true identity and not the identity we fashion based on performance or others’ expectations (e.g. having a good boy attitude, success, maintaining one’s physique or meeting parents’ goals, etc.) that are flimsily changing.
The identity that one should aim for must be based on stable reality, which encompasses the entire person, whose intellect naturally (i.e., according to human nature) tends toward the truth and whose will tends toward the good. One cannot settle for a label that only defines one condition, whether positive or negative, about the person.
It should also be pointed out that the person’s true identity is primarily one of relationship. No man is an island. Identity is always in relation to someone, because the human person was created for Love, to love and to be loved; to share and benefit from the good of others.
And the greatest relationship that every person must humbly acknowledge is his being a creature made by God in His image and likeness. It is toward this identity that every young man and woman must strive to pattern his entire life on.
* * *
“But is that all who you are?” I asked the young woman. She was quiet. Then she looked at me with her tear-stricken cheeks.
Then a light came into her eyes.
She had understood.
“Surely, that is not all that you are. In fact, it only tells you what more you can become if you open yourself to be someone who was called to be more than what any other human being has ever imagined!”
“What would that be, Father?” She wiped her eyes.
“We are all children of our Father God. As a daughter of God, you are called to be another Christ. Yes, in spite of all our the defects, limitations and weaknesses, against which we struggle against sincerely.”
“You’re saying that I should just push this tendency aside?”
“Nope. I’m saying that you become more aware of it, struggle to be mature in dealing with it as you correct the disorders that such tendency may bring with it. And in the process, you could grow in virtue and learn how even to apply the same attitude in battling to other weaknesses that may not even be related to your attraction to the same sex; for example, such as anger, laziness and being judgmental.”
“Wow! I never saw things that way, Father!”
“Look, it’s like when a child goes to his mother saying: ‘Mom, I don’t want to go to college because I’m no good in math!’”
“Do you think the mother would simply shrug her shoulders and be resigned to the fact that her son is to be known as someone who is no good in math?” I said.
“Of course not!” she adamantly said. “I’m sure the boy would have other talents, and besides math isn’t everything!” she added.
“There you have it!” I snapped my fingers.
“Open your heart not to that tendency, but to all the other richer facets of your person. With prayer, constant sacrifice and the sacraments, and of course seeking advice, you will pretty much handle this matter well.”
“So this is like seek and you shall find?” she asked.
“More than that, ask Him, and you shall findentity!”
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