In my teen years, I believed that I could never be fully alive and happy if I lived according to the Church’s teachings on human sexuality.
When I was about seventeen years old, I remember being at the gym, watching a female rapper performing on MTV. The gym I trained at had giant screens that constantly screened impure content. The film clip presented the female singer and her body in the most objectifying way. My reaction at the time was very different from what – I pray – it would be now. I stared at the hypersexualised woman and said to myself,
“This is what I want. This is what I need. God and the Church don’t understand me, my desires, or my needs. This is what I want!”
At that moment, I began to think the culture was more in tune with my hunger for love than what the Church was. It sounded like the Church was saying, “repress your desire for love and intimacy”, and the culture was saying, “indulge every sexual desire you have and satisfy them any way you can. Forget God, the Church, and the Bible; you need to be sexually free!”
The culture was making sense. The culture was winning my heart, and I began to disassociate with the Church little by little and indulge my hunger through pornography and masturbation. I wanted to be sexually free. The Church wasn’t going to tell me what to do anymore! I had tried that, and I felt like I was going to explode!
After several years of consuming the “food” the culture presented to me, I was left bitter, angry, lonely, and starving for more! I had never felt more unsatisfied in my life. The more I consumed, the hungrier I became. This sent me crazy! I thought this was the answer. I thought I would finally be full. Why am I emptier than ever?
What the culture had put out to me as sexual freedom was really sexual addiction. It robbed me of my freedom and my joy. Far from being free, I had become a slave. A slave to my sexual urges. No matter how frequently they came, I had to respond to them and satisfy them. But this cycle never came to an end. It only grew increasingly more frustrating. I became angrier and angrier that nothing seemed to satisfy.
The lie that Satan wants us to believe is that to be fully alive, we need to shake off the shackles of the out-of-touch Catholic Church and satisfy every and any sexual impulse we experience. I am here to testify that this way of thinking – and acting – leads to misery and emptiness.
Slowly but surely, I began to climb out of my sin and, through the grace and mercy of Jesus, experience true sexual freedom. It was a long and painful journey. One that I still walk daily. It demanded an ascent to all that the Church taught in faith and acceptance even when it didn’t make sense. It demanded gut-wrenching prayer and sacrifice when it seemed like I would never be free. But years later, I am experiencing a joy and happiness I had only dreamed of.
No matter where you are on this journey, no matter what particular cross you may carry in this area, trust that God’s plan for sexuality and the call to chastity is the only path to freedom and happiness. Simply surrender to God’s plan with trust and hope, and watch how He will beautifully and powerfully begin to transform your heart and set you free to experience the love you always dreamed of!
The virtue of chastity makes us fully human. It makes us come alive! And when we are fully alive in purity, we become a living offering of praise to God. We glorify Him in our bodies, relationships, and families. And best of all, we become happier than we ever thought possible!