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So I’m pretty sure you can picture this scene: Men’s talk at a Steubenville conference or retreat. Boys surrounding you being as free spirited as we guys can get. Then a good Catholic man of faith comes out and talks about respecting women, and of course the virtues of being a son of God. But, if you’re like me, and experience same-sex attraction, you might be thinking, “Okay, I get it… love your sister as you love yourself. She’s a daughter of God. But how does this apply to me?”

Avoid the near occasion of sin?

I remember when I was in denial of experiencing same-sex attraction, I found it so easy to stick to the rule book of being chaste and not disrespecting women. That was ’cause, well… I wasn’t really attracted to them!

But now that I’ve come to accept that I experience an attraction towards men, I found it very difficult at first to try and comprehend how exactly to love my brothers and not lust after them. As a guy it was hard… I played football and found it difficult in the locker room to look away. How can I “avoid the near occasion” of sin if I can’t be anywhere else?

Here’s where this bible verse my best bud once told me about really struck me:

“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

If you sit there and really let this sink in… it’ll be the kickstart to taming your heart from lustful passions.

Guy code: Bro’s are bro’s!

In the locker room, what helped me to start pushing away such desires was authentic love. I actually developed a deep bond with lots of my teammates. Some of which are my best friends up to this date (a year and a half after I’ve graduated)!

When you begin to know somebody for who they are — what their passions are, their pains are, what makes them happy, what they’re into, what their deepest thoughts are, it changes everything.

I’m not saying I was never attracted to guys after I began to know my teammates, but it began to change my heart. When I surrounded myself with good catholic men as well, I found my attractions decrease A LOT. I even found that as I got to know a person more, the “fantasy” stage that you go through as a teen when you’re crushing on somebody really dwindled down. I wasn’t even lustfully attracted to some of my teammates anymore after I developed a strong brotherhood with them. My love for them became intense in a pure and authentic way, because love covers a multitude of sins.

But of course, I still had to know myself and look away when guys were changing in front of me, even if we were in the middle of casual conversation, all for the sake of my own soul. But as time has passed, I’ve found that I’m starting to look at guys less as eye-candy and more as a soul; a tabernacle for The Lord.

As a guy with same-sex attraction, it’s difficult enough for you to not lust over guys that are straight, but what about guys that attracted are to you? I’ve found the most honest way of keeping a healthy and holy friendship is keeping God at the center of your friendship.

If the guy isn’t a believer, then you keep it holy simply by stating what kind of friendship you want with them. I’ve had to make it clear and say, “Although you are like me, I really just want you to be my brother.” And there’s no harm to that. I’ve managed to maintain normal friendships after that!

As for girls with same-sex attraction, you can apply this the same way. Be like…. “Hey sister soul sister soul sista…” Okay no, but really you can be like, “Girl, I need you to be my sister, I want to respect you as a person.”

As single people, homosexual or heterosexual, we need to strive for chastity. We can do this! Here’s five things that have helped me along my journey.

My Top 5 Chastity Essentials

1. Don’t Set Yourself up for failure.

Guys, and girls, you know yourselves. You know what your weaknesses are. At my high school guys tended to mess around and be silly in ways that may not really be appropriate. Many times they pretended to be gay just for a laugh. I knew that I didn’t even want to joke like that because for me what began as a joke, often ended up as a temptation to wonder if those guys would be up to act impurely with me. Instead I’ve just joked around in other ways that are not so promiscuous.

2. Watch it with the Social Media

If social media like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, or Twitter is in any way distracting, or causing you to have lustful thoughts, unfollow accounts that post things that tempt you. This is your soul were talking about… Sometimes you have to take drastic measures in order to live a life of virtue.

3. Love Thy Bro

The biggest way I’ve been able to strive to love my brothers in a pure and holy way is knowing that my brothers are sons of God, and that they have a mom and dad who love them. I picture my own mother and think of her love for me and try and imagine that love of a mother for the guys that I was sexually attracted to. I don’t want to cause that boy to sin or do anything that would crush his mother’s heart. That’s her son… she went through a whole 9 months of carrying him. Mama Mary suffered a lot in seeing her Son die for our sins, and I don’t want to make a mother suffer by making her son fall into sin.

4. Ask for St. Joseph’s Intercession

St. Joseph is my role model because he was chaste. “Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse” –Divine Praises. I really find comfort in asking for his intercession. He’s a good man of faith that God chose to help raise Jesus alongside Mary.

5. Remember Jesus’s gaze of love

Jesus-Christ

Whenever you feel alone and long for attention, remember the deep love of Jesus; His all-consuming gaze of pure love for you. I feel a deep connection with the gaze of Jesus because it’s a pure and holy love from a man. For any girls with lesbian attractions maybe Mary’s intercession will help you. Ask her to pray for you and to teach you what it means to live a life of chastity as she did.

I hope and pray that all of you can find your way to chastity. These are just a few simple things that have helped me. Keep your head up! Much love and blessings for you peeps!

Read more about the Catholic Church and Same-Sex Attraction:

About the Author

AJ Santiago

Catholic. College student. Fitness fanatic. Music obsessed. And in love with my Eucharistic God.