And as [Jesus] was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

So why did I choose to share this story at the start of this article? Growing up, I never had a strong faith but simply followed along with what my family did. I knew what I had to do to be Catholic like: go to Mass, receive the Sacraments, attend CCD classes, but I didn’t know why. This lack of understanding intensified as I came to face my biggest obstacle in my faith. In middle school and high school as all my friends became increasingly interested in getting girlfriends, I realized that I was more attracted to other guys. I misunderstood what the Church taught about these attractions, so I thought that I had to reject they existed and hide them from my family, my friends, and ultimately God. I thought that others couldn’t love me if they knew this part of me, so I applied the same theory to God. I decided that if I started growing too deep in my faith then I would have to address these feelings, and I didn’t want to do that. To avoid this, I shut myself off from God and became Bartimaeus. I became spiritually blind.

I remained in this spiritual blindness for years. When I came to college, I started to grow in my faith, coming to enjoy it and understand what the Church taught and why. I still avoided addressing my inner struggle, but I was starting to desire God to be a bigger part of my life. Still, my fears were there, just like the crowd, telling me to keep silent and avoid coming to God. It wasn’t until my junior year at a Catholic conference that I followed in the footsteps of Bartimaeus. At this conference, my faith was at its peak, and I finally desired Christ to enter my life. I remember entering the confessional and telling the priest everything that was weighing on my heart, all my shame and fear of being rejected by those I loved. The priest listened and told me that no matter what anyone else thought of me because of this (if I chose to share), God loves me as I am.  For penance, the priest had me go to Eucharistic Adoration and kneel before Jesus to pray.

When I returned, I fell on my knees and, like Bartimaeus, called out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Just like in the story, Jesus called me, but I had to leave my cloak behind as Bartimaeus did. I let my guard down and came to Christ in my brokenness and shame, and I asked for him to restore my sight. It was by humbling myself that I finally was able to see God as loving and not judgmental. Seeing my life through God’s eyes allowed me to see the grace that led me to encounter Him more fully. He cared about me and my struggles and wanted to help me overcome them. I always feared the chaste life taught by the Church would be lonely – without joy and without love. Through my encounter with Christ, I realized that God’s divine love was more than enough and that He would provide ways for me to fulfill my call to serve others joyfully in a different kind of fatherhood. After finally seeing myself, my future, and my relationship with Jesus through His eyes, I acted as Bartimaeus did and followed Christ. The journey hasn’t been easy or perfect, but I trust that God loves me and cares about what I do.

If you too experience same-sex attractions, I want to challenge you to follow in the footsteps of Bartimaeus. If that means accepting that you need Jesus, then call out because he always answers. If that means overcoming those doubts telling you to be silent, then persist in seeking God. If it means exposing those parts of your experience or your past that you are not proud of, then remove your cloak and come to Christ. Our God is a loving Father who wants to love you as you are, so He can help you become the person you want to be. He wants to give you sight, but you must be willing to ask. So be like Bartimaeus, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”

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David T., 23, is from the northeastern U.S.. and has been a Courage member since 2019. After college, he worked in university campus ministry for several years, and is preparing to begin medical school this September.

The opinions and experiences expressed in each blog entry in “The Upper Room” belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage International, Inc. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.