By Pete (not his real name), an anonymous Courage member
“So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first.” John 20:3-4
I have always been a reluctant person, whether it’s something as trivial as choosing what to order at a restaurant to something more life-changing such as deciding between studying medicine or economics. As I grew up, this reluctance became more intense especially when it would involve choosing to serve God and to stay in the Catholic faith. Because as I grew up, I slowly realised that I am attracted to the same sex and some Catholics would strongly emphasise that this is wrong.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I was taught and have grown to love God. It is fortunate because this deep love for Him gave me the desire to serve Him in many ways. From serving in Mass to going on mission trips abroad, I always tried to find ways of sharing the Good News. It is unfortunate because it also created an intense internal struggle, thinking that my sexuality is a hindrance in serving the Lord wholeheartedly and truthfully.
So I became reluctant to serve in my parish and in my community. I would sit at a discreet corner of the Church every Sunday. I would decline invitations to teach Catechism. I even distanced myself from friends who I joyfully served with for years. I just couldn’t reconcile how I can talk about obeying God and doing His will when I myself am disobeying Him and going against Church’s teaching with my same sex attraction.
Every Lenten season, my disposition to be reluctant goes on overdrive. I am reluctant to face my sins, my shortcomings and myself. I am reluctant to go to confession, knowing that I will fall into the same sins over and over and over again. I am reluctant to choose God over worldly pleasures and material desires. But ultimately, I was reluctant to stand before God with a sexuality that has been identified as wrong and unacceptable by my faith.
However, this Easter season will be different. Among the many characters of the Easter gospel, I was drawn to Peter. As much as he was excited and curious to see if Jesus had risen, he wasn’t able to keep up with other disciple in reaching the tomb. Did he slow down his pace on purpose? Did his fear suddenly overcome his excitement? How could he face the man he denied three times just a few days before? Will he even be forgiven if he asked forgiveness?
Today, after many years of greeting the risen Lord with reluctance, I choose to meet Him with a heart full of confidence. With the help of the Courage community, I have learned that my relationship with God should not be hindered by how I identify myself as. Being someone who experience same sex attraction should not become an obstacle to serving him, fully and whole heartedly. This Easter, I choose to experience the joy that the resurrection of Jesus Christ brings. I choose to have the strength of a God that never stops forgiving. I choose to believe in a God that has given me that talent to serve Him and to share the joy that Easter brings to others too
* * *
Pete is a Courage member who now happily serves in his parish, isn’t afraid to sit at the front row for Sunday mass and continues to find new ways of serving the Lord in his community.
The opinions and experiences expressed in each entry in the Reflections page belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage Singapore. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.