Growing up, I didn’t feel like I belonged in the Catholic Church. Since I experienced physical attractions towards other men, I felt far too broken and “dirty” to ever find myself sitting in the pews at Sunday Mass. I despised God. I despised His Church and its “restrictive” teachings on homosexuality. And yet, even amidst the deep distance that I drilled between the Lord and I, Jesus patiently waited for me to return home to Him.
The anticipated return into His arms didn’t happen immediately, though.
For some time, through my late-adolescence and early college years, I decided to embrace my same-sex attractions and made “being gay” who I was as a person. I identified with the LGBT+ community: pursuing guys both romantically and sexually, attending drag shows, going out to gay nightclubs and even wearing makeup from time to time. Along with this, I was partying, drinking, and smoking on a regular basis.
I was in active pursuit of who the world told me that I was, living my life openly as a “gay man,” searching for the freedom which the world promised I would find when embracing such an identity. The irony of it all is that, rather than feeling free in myself and my sexuality as I had been promised, I only woke up each passing day feeling more and more empty within. Over time, my heart was hardened and a gaping hole remained in it.
I continuously tried to fill the hole in my soul with anything but the only One who could ultimately fit perfectly into its shape: God.
One late night, however, my life was changed forever.
Long story short, the Lord called me out of the rotting grave which I had buried myself into and into new life with Him. My eyes were opened to the darkness I had then chosen for myself, and I trembled with great fear at its sight. I knew that I was created for far greater than the life I was living, and on that very night, I got a glimpse of the Light.
But I’m going to be honest here…
It took a little while after that initial night, when Jesus called me out of my grave, to commit myself to rising up from death and into new life.
Thankfully, after a few more months of internal wrestling and ongoing self-destruction, I eventually decided to fully devote myself to Him through not just my words, but my entire existence. I finally said “yes” to the Lord and freely handed myself over to Him: body, mind, heart, and soul.
It has now been a little over two years since I gave my fiat to Jesus.
The last two-plus years of carrying my cross alongside the Lord has been a wildly beautiful adventure to say the very least. I no longer act on my same-sex attractions and freely choose to live a chaste life in accordance with Catholic Church teachings on homosexuality and abstinence.
Yes, I still experience same-sex attractions. After all, Jesus made me born again, not exempt from temptation.
However, I no longer live as a “gay man,” because that isn’t who I am and never was. I now truly understand my worth as His beloved son and choose to direct my life choices accordingly.
Quite honestly, I have never felt more joyful than I do now living in Him. I have finally discovered healthy, God-centered friendships with other men, some of which I am blessed to call my closest friends. I am surrounded by a strong community of brothers and sisters who are constantly building me up and helping me carry my cross on a daily basis. I am constantly encountering faithful Catholics like myself who share in my specific struggles, proving to me that I am not alone in the Church and do have a place in her, in the Body of Christ.
My cup has never been so full.
It isn’t easy and the cross can be awfully heavy at times; but true freedom is found here. True freedom is found nowhere else but with Him. I have found it—and so can you, beloved.
Thank You for setting me free, my sweet Jesus.