by Mark, a Courage member
To deepen my relationship with God, I needed to let go of him.
When I was younger, I had received negative homophobic messages from people in church and internalised their fears. Fear of rejection was one of the main reasons that limited my willingness to explore my same sex attraction and ability to accept myself.
While I had hoped that God would not reject me since he already knew my heart, I intuitively felt that I could not move forward to explore my sexuality with this baggage. This was a frightening and uncomfortable moment because it felt like I was walking away from a source of love and support. My prayer then was –
‘Lord, I need to move ahead. I’m sorry but to do it, I need to let you go. If it is your will, help me to find my way back to you’.
As I searched, I learnt about sexuality and a little about the “gay scene”. While many have explored their sexuality by participating in the “gay scene”, I was hesitant to follow. I wanted to look for a safer way to explore my sexuality without feeling the pressure to behave in ways which were inauthentic to me.
When I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer in the secular world, I searched for “Catholic and gay” online. What I found were rules about “right” and “wrong”. While some of these messages were discerning and nuanced (e.g. same sex attraction is not a sin), deep inside, I knew that these answers were still not what I was looking for.
To reconcile my sexuality, I was also trying to know where I fit in or belonged in God’s kingdom. The Catechism says that the gay person must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity (CCC 2358) but where is this place in the Church anyway?
Through what I can only describe as divine providence, I stumbled upon a Courage video. I immediately recognised something different – the video featured stories of gay people who are actively participating in church. I also sensed that these people had found a peace that could only come by reconciling their faith and their sexuality. I was interested to find out more and, after some discernment, joined Courage.
I realised that I had found a community of LGBT persons who are seeking to live a full life faithful to God. Though prayer and fellowship, we are working towards healthy and healing friendships. My life is still marked by struggles but I no longer have to face them alone. I have the support, love and compassion of the community.
Supported by the community, I also accepted myself more and felt a sense of belonging. As my relationships with others improved, so did my relationship with God who wants all of me – not just the parts I felt safe to show him. Today, I am striving to live my life more fully and finding meaning helping others to do the same.
In hindsight, I realised that my previous limited understanding of God and church had limited my ability to love myself and others. I had not rejected God by letting go of my old ideas about him, instead I was trusting in God’s invitation and his faithfulness to catch me and bring me into a deeper relationship with him.
‘Lord, continue to reveal where you invite us to love more and so grow closer to you.’
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Mark is a Courage member who strives to live a wholesome and integrated life.
The opinions and experiences expressed in each entry in the Reflections page belong solely to