I’m a young man who just recently made a firm commitment to turn away from the homosexual lifestyle. While I’ve never been in any romantic relationship with another man, I have struggled with holy purity just the same. The last few weeks of Lent and during Easter Week, I personally felt like I’ve made progress in terms of committing to prayer and avoiding sin. It hasn’t been easy. Like all of you, I’ve had big and small falls, many of which were failures in other aspects of my Christian life - charity towards my neighbor, love of comfort etc. I also began becoming overwhelmed by the disorders and defects I have apart from same-sex attraction. It’s true what they say. The more you find yourself getting closer to the light, the more you see the stains in your soul. This has unsettled me and made me a bit OCD, and I’ve made some efforts to combat this especially against venial sins.
Last Sunday, I got a message from a nameless guy (one of many I had cut off or limited communications with to avoid occasions of sin i.e. past gay acquaintances). I usually disregard such indecent messages but was spurred by curiosity after he mentioned a supposed tryst with him (which never happened that I am completely certain of, and thus the curiosity) which led me to visit an online forum we frequent (to try and see who the person texting me was). At the back of my head, I was thinking - no, I won’t be tempted by any of the vulgar and impure conversations in the thread, or I’ll just scroll by. When I started reading the forum, I scrolled past some the posts, or read it but didn’t really feel anything. It was more disdain actually because I saw my past self in their posts but after a couple of seconds in I started getting aroused by the posts. I was slow to just completely stop the reading but did so, maybe a minute in. I made an act of contrition immediately and resolved to confess it.
Throughout the day, I was bothered by that fault but believed it was only venial, since I didn’t intend to look for sexual pleasure. I knew, however, that I had put myself in danger, put myself in an occasion of sin. I still went to received Holy Communion for the next two days before I had my confession. I told the incident to the priest explaining I had put myself in the occasion, yielded to my curiosity, but truly believed it wasn’t deliberate on my part to be aroused or get pleasure from it. He didn’t ask me if I received Holy Communion.
However, I’m still bothered by it. Was it truly venial or was it a mortal sin? This incident has been a big roadblock to my prayers since it’s making my interior life dry. It keeps popping up in my head whenever I am trying to contemplate in my prayer and try to move forward, and thus find myself unable to have a fruitful prayer. I’m always second-guessing myself now, and asking if I am too scrupulous, or if this is pride, or if I should pray for me to be able to move on and forget it, or go to confession again. My spiritual director is out of town so I won’t be able to meet him about this matter.
Please advise and pray for me as well.