Recently, I was asked to explain why I’d never act on my same-sex attractions. Surprisingly, I was excited to respond because it reminded me of beauty and truth of our Catholic faith and the joy I have come to know in pursuing a heart of virtue.
Indeed, I was initially inspired to pursue chastity because of the beautiful example of others and joy they radiated, but since learning more about chastity, I have become only more devoted to the Catholic Church—the last place the world says someone with a story like mine should even be!!
Helpful Realizations about Chastity
1. I never could have understood the joy of chastity unless I took a leap of faith and went for it myself.
2. Chastity is a virtue, and virtue begets virtue. Therefore, the joy of chastity lends itself to a person growing in other virtues. Note: An absence of joy (wherein resentment may begin to fester) may likewise indicate that a person is not open to growing in the fullness of virtue. The degree to which that may be the case is for God alone to judge.
3. Being not open to growing in the fullness of virtue is a lot different than trying to grow in the fullness of virtue but not being entirely successful. The former describes some people, while the latter describes everyone in some way!
4. Because we’re not perfect, we’ll always fail at perfectly practicing virtue. However, if we place our expectations of our “goodness” on how we will never reach an impossible standard of perfection, then we may destine ourselves for a life of misery—never seeing ourselves as good enough or successful.
5. We can undo that by shifting from being focused on maintaining that standard of perfection in behavior to being focused on how quickly we turn back to Jesus Christ. Why? Because no matter how bad we have fallen, we can always turn back to Him . . . immediately.
Joy vs Resentment
Chastity involves more than our desire to do good. We have to do good according to some standard! That standard is the truth written into our bodies—and that includes how we were written physiologically. In fact, to actually practice chastity, we must come to a point of joyfully (not resentfully) accepting ourselves as God has physiologically authored us. As a male, that includes me joyfully (not resentfully) accepting my maleness. It also includes me joyfully (not resentfully) accepting that my physiological complement is a female. This focus on physiological authorship above sexual/romantic desires made me realize that for me to even entertain the idea that I ought to engage in transgender pursuits or the pursuit of same-sex sexual/romantic relationships, I was rejecting chastity—yes, in mindset, long before even taking any action!
Not Limited to Us or Them
Instead of feeling sorry for myself as though I was being “picked on” or “singled out,” I eventually understood that chastity is bigger than the topics of homosexuality and transgenderism. It’s even bigger than the attractions/desires/appetites we experience. Rather, it’s about people; people choosing to strive to uphold what God has authored, particularly within the realm of sexuality.
This helped me realize that chastity can be rejected in a number of different ways. And this helped me understand that even though all same-sex sexual/romantic relationships or transgender pursuits are rejections of chastity, not all rejections of chastity are same-sex sexual/romantic relationships or transgender pursuits.
Being able to see the faith through this lens of how God authored me was critical. It helped me gain the confidence of knowing that our faith isn’t merely a belief system but rather is a belief system that is true. Inescapably true. Beforehand, I would try to escape, but found I couldn’t! But I’m glad, because I’m now living in time where I finally feel alive, knowing that regardless of what attractions God may permit me to experience, I live in the freedom of chastity and taste the joys I never before knew I could experience!
I write about it, bubbling over with joy, hoping that you will desire it too!
God bless you all.
Hudson Byblow is a Catholic speaker, author, and consultant who lives in the Midwest where he has a career in education. He has presented at National and International conferences in the United States and Canada and also presents to clergy, schools, and parishes. Additionally, Hudson serves as a consultant to various Catholic agencies, speakers, and educators. His website is www.hudsonbyblow.com and he can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.