When Will It Stop?
Family, today is the Feast of St. Maria Goretti. For those of you who don’t know, she was an Italian young girl who chose death rather than give up her virginity. This took place at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Penny felt very strongly about Maria Goretti. She wrote in our book, “Holy Innocence”
“The name of Maria Goretti has a special place for me. I would judge that most everyone in my generation has grown up having heard the story of the little crimson and white Rose of Jesus, St. Maria Goretti. Her story inspires such emotions in us, such a desire to bring ourselves to Jesus and His Mother Mary as pure buds, ready to flower into whatever vocation They desire for us, whether it be religious, lay people or as in the case of little Maria, Saints who gave their lives as martyrs rather than stain their immortal souls by committing a sin. And in that way, Saints like Maria Goretti become role models for young people in these modern times.”
We know the story of Maria Goretti with surface knowledge. She is famous for what she obviously did, die rather than allow her relationship with Jesus to be compromised by giving into a sexual temptation. This is the obvious cause for her Sainthood, much as St. Maxmilian Kolbe’s obvious reasoning for Sainthood was taking the place of a fellow prisoner in the death cells of Auschwitz during the Second World War. But these are only the apparent. There is so much more to each life which calls for us to venerate them as special servants of God, true role models.”
There were two other virtues of St. Maria Goretti which are so subtle, they get lost in the shadow of giving her life. One of them was selflessness. She cared more about her eternal soul than her bodily safety. And possibly even more than that, she cared about the soul of her attacker more than her own life. As we get into the woeful story of her life and death, we can’t help but realize that part of the reason for her determination not to give into Alessandro Serenelli was for his salvation.”
Maria Goretti was a good little girl, a pure little girl. At eleven years old, she had such a love relationship with Jesus that she would rather die than allow her chastity to be compromised, rather die than take a chance on breaking relationship with Jesus. But how can that be? How could she possibly understand what path her Yes to Jesus would take her down? We’re not talking about St. Agnes or St. Cecilia or Saints of the early Church who gave up their lives for Jesus. This is the Twentieth Century. She is a product of this century. Where have we gone, how low have we become, that our young people can’t possibly understand how a girl from their own century could sacrifice her life for her morals?”
Girls as young as eleven, are “sexually active,” have become pregnant, have had abortions often with help of their own mothers, in many instances, and those who did not die on the abortionist’s table, have died of AIDS in many instances. We’re at a time in our society when there are virtually no morals being taught or practiced either in the classrooms of our schools, or in the homes by the parents of these children. Our schools are giving children condoms and parents are putting girls on the birth control pill. We’re being taught safe sex in an effort to avoid the spread of dangerous diseases and to keep the world population down. Last on the list of priorities is the prevention of the spread of moral decay of a civilization, which in its final analysis will be much more deadly than any physical disease our children may contract.”
When will it stop?
I recall standing with Penny on the stairway of the house where the family lived in Ferriere, Italy, near Nettuno, in the heat of June one year, as we made the program on St. Maria Goretti. At one point, we stopped talking and just looked out at you, our family. Finally, I believe it was Penny, who cried out
“When will it stop?
When will our children stop raping and killing each other?”
Our dear Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the Canonization of Maria Goretti in 1950, pleaded with our young people to take Maria Goretti as a role model. He said “
“The concourse of the faithful come here for the occasion, exceeds anything that has ever been witnessed at any other canonization. You have been lured here, We might almost say, by the entrancing beauty and intoxicating fragrance of this lily mantled with crimson whom We, only a moment ago, had the intense pleasure of inscribing in the roll of the Saints: the sweet little martyr of purity, Maria Goretti.
“But why, beloved children, have you come here in such countless numbers to assist at her glorification?
“…why does this story move you even to tears? Why has Maria Goretti so quickly conquered your hearts, and taken the first place in your affections?
“The reason is because there is still in this world, apparently sunk and immersed in the worship of pleasure, not only a meager little band of chosen souls who thirst for Heaven and its pure air – but a crowd, nay, an immense multitude on whom the supernatural fragrance of Christian purity exercises an irresistible and reassuring fascination.”
…all of you who are intently listening to Our Words, know that above the unhealthy marshes and filth of the world, stretches an immense heaven of beauty. It is the heaven which fascinated little Maria; the heaven to which she longed to ascend by the only road that leads there, which is, religion, the love of Christ, and the heroic observance of His commandments.”
“We greet you, O beautiful and lovable Saint! Martyr on earth and Angel in Heaven, look down from your glory on this people which loves you, which venerates, glorifies and exalts you.”
“…In you, through Our hands, the children and all the young people will find a safe refuge, trusting that they shall be protected from every contamination, and be able to walk the highways of life with that serenity of spirit and deep joy which is the heritage of those who are pure of heart. Amen.”
You would think that these inspired words by this Holy Man of God would have an effect on the morals for years to come, not only on those who heard them, but the millions who would read them throughout the world.
You would think, wouldn’t you?
Unfortunately the situation has escalated since 1950. There are more rapes reported, and murders due to death than ever before.
When will it stop?
I know I’m preaching to the choir here. You moms and dads are protecting your children with everything you’ve got. Pray to St. Maria Goretti. Ask her to help you inspire your children. Be aware of the young people your children associate with. Remember, as they begin to mature, so do their friends. And I don’t know why it is, but girls from good families often have this strange desire to get involved with “Bad Boys”. That’s the best word I can use.
Your job is not easy. But you have help from above. Pray to Maria Goretti. Pray to Penny Lord. They will help you. We love you!
For more information about Saint Maria Goretti Click here
Or call 1-800-633-2484 and ask for Blanca – she has some prayer cards of Saint Maria Goretti she will be more than glad to send you.
NOTE: The presentation on the life of Saint Maria Goretti will be shown at 4 pm CST Tuesday July 7