Gender/God's Plan for Sex/Homosexuality/My Relationships/Sex and Chastity Hope After the Rainbow by Andrew This article was originally published on ChastityProject.com. I’m a Catholic male and same-sex attractions are a part of my story. However, it has recently been written onto my heart that I might be called to marriage—with a woman. What? Let me explain… Not About Therapy This has nothing to do with therapy with the objective to change from “gay” to “straight.” I’ve never done that, and I have found peace in knowing that the Church is not trying to get me to pursue that. This has, however, come to be after many years of continuously striving to say “Yes” to God, and “Yes” to growing in virtue (in particular, the virtue of chastity, which I struggled with for most of my life). I came to desire a chaste heart because I desired holiness, and I desired holiness because I desired to unite my heart with the heart of Jesus Christ. This desire came about because I first experienced the love of Christ through someone like you; someone who simply loved me where I was at in my life, and who chose to walk with me along my journey. Along that journey, I found myself becoming more and more attracted to women of virtue—ones who would understand the foundations of a holy spousal relationship, and who I could grow with towards greater virtue—possibly even within a marriage! The Problem Many think that because same-sex attractions are a part of my story, it’s not possible and that I’m deceiving myself. This disheartening response reflects a closed-mindedness to what God could write on our hearts. Others simply try to label me as “bisexual,” but this reveals in them a closed-mindedness to my story; a closed-mindedness to understanding who I am and how I got to where I am today. See, this is not as much about sexuality as it is about God, and how He can transform our hearts. How It All Began In 2007, I came to desire a Holy Sexuality (thank you Christopher West!) and for the first time, I opened my heart to chastity. I began the long road of breaking a near life-long pornography addiction (thank you Matt Fradd!) and opened myself to the idea of preparing my heart for my future spouse—if that be in God’s plan for me (thank you, Jason Evert!). By the grace of God, I found the strength (and support) to make some major changes in my life. The net effect was this: I went from considering same-sex relationships (without hope of ever being married to a woman or ever being a father) to adoring the Blessed Sacrament and offering my life to God. The more I let go of my own will, the more God was able to work on my heart (this I can now see retrospectively). Mysterious Ways In early 2014, God boldly wrote on my heart to pursue friendship with a particular woman. With courage that I had never before seen from my inner being, that is what I did. In our time together and apart, there were signal graces. It was fun and inspiring, but also life-altering in holy and profoundly virtuous ways. That is how I knew (and know) it was from God. I came to truly hope that she might be my future wife. I grew very attracted to her and knew I was called to protect her honor in all ways possible, and to pray for her. Over time, we grew together in holiness, and revealed our hearts to each other bit-by-bit amongst laughter, smiles, and appropriate affection. I loved her in the way God was calling me to love her at that time, and I began to fall in love with her as well (romantically, that is). She brought great joy into my heart, while drawing me closer to Christ. Hope Restored Though we didn’t end up together as a couple, this experience showed me that I didn’t have to give up the hope of one day being a husband and father. In fact, it helped restore my hope more than ever! Her name… actually means “Hope.” How awesome is that! Now, whether it be in God’s plan that I actually marry or not, is another story. It’s His story—and I am good with that. But today… I. Have. Hope. Editor’s Note: Although the terms “gay,” “lesbian,” and/or “homosexual” are used freely in popular culture, the Catholic Church encourages us to use the phrase “person with homosexual inclination” in order to acknowledge the dignity of the human person, whose identity isn’t found in their sexual orientation but rather in their Creator (CCC 2357-2358). We, at Life Teen, wholeheartedly accept this distinction and emphatically agree with the Church that our humanity is not to be solely defined by one’s sexuality, inclinations, or desires. If you’re curious to know a teen’s perspective on experiencing same-sex attractions and living according to God’s plan, check out In Pursuit. And if you want to read more about the what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality and gay marriage, check out this blog that debunks some common misconceptions.