Purity enables one to view the entire person, where as lust limits one's vision to the sexual values of the body. Because of this, lust robs sex of its depth. It is a reduction that blocks intimacy. Some have defined intimacy as "into-me-see" ... Purity is not about seeing less of the body, but about seeing more of the person. -Jason Evert in Saint John Paul the Great: His Five LovesHow can we expect those with warped realities not to abuse and objectify others when our culture throws garbage at us -- literally throws condoms at us like candy from a parade float, throws babies in the dumpsters, throws images in our face that stick with us and imprint in our minds, and talk around us is cheap and degrading? How can Fifty Shades of Grey be a best seller if everyone is aware that abuse and demoralizing another human is wrong? We are living in a culture that has a distorted view of a God-given gift. We cannot be silent about sexuality in a culture that separates it from the soul. I never knew I had this other part of me that was both physical and spiritual, that needed to be protected, but when it was robbed and violated, my soul knew. Although it would take decades to understand its impact, my heart hurt and searched for a truth. Maria Goretti's story has followed me throughout my life, coming in and out at different stages of maturity, and it bugged me until I came to know her better. Her story bothered me because in the back of my mind I was always thinking, "What about the girls that tried fighting back but were too little? What about the girls who didn't know they had anything to protect?" I looked at her as one of the "lucky ones" -- she resisted, was saved, and became a saint. I just finished reading My Peace I Give to You, Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints by Dawn Eden, and I came to a new peace and understanding when she shared St. Augustine's words in defense of victims. St. Augustine reprimanded the pagans who claimed that virgins who were raped were no longer virgins, saying, "What sane man can suppose that, if his body be seized and forcible made use of to satisfy the lust of another, he thereby loses his purity?" Maria Goretti was eleven years old and knew her value and fought to her death, not because she was afraid that being raped would leave her sinful, but for two valiant reasons. One, she was aware that she had a treasure to fight for and protect -- her virginity; and two, she knew Alessandro would go to hell for raping her. She cherished her purity and simultaneously loved her attacker's soul.
Although the holy-card image of her as a gentle maiden bearing white lilies is symbolically accurate, it fails to capture her fieriness. She embodied the saying of G.K. Chesterton that the whiteness of purity should not be imagined as something antiseptic, like hospital walls: rather, 'it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.' -Dawn Eden, in My Peace I Give to You, Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the SaintsMothers, we want our children to protect their purity, to honor their God and to lead women and men by example -- that sexuality and our brothers and sisters souls are treasures. We want our children to stand up in their classrooms, on the playground, on the campus, at their workplace, at the beach, in the bar, on the street, on the bus -- you name it, to stand up where ever they see someone taking advantage of another. Maybe #MeToo doesn't have to irk me but can put a new flavor to my own story and start a new chapter in our home: talking about being men of purity and honor and women of purity and worthy of respect. This is just the start of the conversation. Please take a minute to comment below about how #MeToo makes you feel. How will you share with your children the dangers that lurk and the beauty worth fighting for? I need to have this conversation; I have six boys and three girls and I want them to be part of the solution, not just part of a movement. As a community of mothers, let's share our wisdom. Here are some resources I found valuable both for those who have experienced sexual abuse and for those who need a starting point to talk to their children, teens or adult children. #MeToo shows the dangers ... My Peace I Give You : Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints by Dawn Eden (the back of the book has a list of resources from websites to therapists ) We and Our Children : How to Make a Catholic Home by Mary Reed Newman (Chapter on Purity ) Saint John Paul The Great : His Five Loves by Jason Evert (Chapter on Human Love )
Copyright 2018 Maggie Eisenbarth
About the Author
Maggie is the mother of nine children. She longs to do God’s will, seek His truth and wrap it all up in a life of joy, offering hope to others. Her family is living the simple life; community, bonfires, good food and nature. She is working on a memoir, writing about how God’s grace and His Church freed her from the bondage of our culture. Follow her on Instagram @ 11arrows11.