InFocus Series: Meet Argel Tuason , Phillipines

I am Argel, 34 years old, from The Philippines and currently finishing my Masters in Theology. I have been a WCCC member since 2013 and made my final oblation recently this year. I had been searching for a community I could call my own, I could call my home. That will accept me as I am, no more, no less. That’s why these words of Fr John Main always reverberate in my heart: “When you are meditating you don’t need to apologize for yourself and you don’t need to justify yourself. All you need to do is to be yourself, to accept from the hands of God the gift of your own being.”

Before, I had always been apologizing and berating myself for being gay, always needing to justify in my heart that I deserved a place, too, in the Church as a full member. But this internalized homophobia, this woundedness inflicted by the Church I have learned to love as my mother, was to be renounced when I finally decided to leave my previous community. It felt like I was in exile, jumping from one community to another searching for “home.”

I felt so alone, but in retrospect God was faithful, God was with me the whole time, through the people who journeyed with me during these darkest periods which I now realize as one of the brightest, too, since God’s penetrating light was making something new within my heart. I think it was in God’s perfect timing that I responded to the call of Jesus in 2013 to journey with him through a Christian Meditation community. And just after six months, I got attracted and responded to the way of life and to the idea of becoming a WCCM Benedictine Oblate.

At this particular stage in my journey, I see stability as faithfulness to my calling as to who I really am, to what God is calling me to be. It is faithfulness to my calling to be faithful to the Monastery without Walls wherever I am, because I bring and share this monastery with others, especially to those who are in the margins like myself. Because in the end, this monastery is really within me. And how do I stay faithful to and have stability and stillness in this monastery which can be a place of refuge not just for myself but most importantly for others as well? Through the twice daily humble task of staying faithful to the mantra.

I feel grateful that I still have that link, however fragile and narrow it is, to the “Roman” Catholic Church through WCCM. It makes me feel that I still belong, that I am still “inside.” I resonated so well with the way Fr Laurence described Jesus in his book Jesus, The Teacher Within along the lines that he is the one who is “inside” but always crosses over to the “outside.” Like my master, I guess I will also be someone who forever will be an insider, but an outsider as well at the same time. Someone who will never be fully accepted as an “insider” so long as the church refuses to accept her LGBT sons and daughters fully as they are. Someone who will forever be choosing to be on the side of the “outsiders” as well, to be faithful to his true call to be a bodhisattva to those like him who are pushed to the margins and in need of the salvific message that God resides within and all you need to do is to be yourself, to accept from the hands of God the gift of your own being. No need to apologize for yourself and no need to justify yourself.

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