You can see how happy I was to be in Rome last week for the first time, showing off my advance copy of my upcoming book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints. My enthusiasm was so great that I broke the cardinal rule of author photos: Never cover up the title of your own book!
And if I haven't embarrassed myself enough, here's a video of me, also in Rome, addressing Dawn Patrol readers (that's you) while sporting the world's largest cowlick. But I am again very happy, which makes it worth sharing.
I visited the Eternal City during my spring break from my studies at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at Dominican House of Studies. Having gotten my M.A. in theology there last year, I am currently working towards the intermediate degrees (S.T.B. and S.T.L.) needed to pursue a pontifically licensed doctorate (S.T.D.). The Rome trip was linked to my studies, as it gave me the opportunity to meet Father Paul Murray, O.P., the professor at the Angelicum under whom I am planning to do my doctoral work.
Father Murray teaches spiritual theology. Originally I wanted to do my doctorate in moral theology, as that was the area in which I did my master's degree. Then I read Father Murray's wonderful Praying with Confidence: Aquinas on the Lord's Prayer and changed my plans. I realized that it is spiritual theology that most helps people heal.
It was out of the desire to help others find healing that I wrote My Peace I Give You, the first book of Catholic spirituality for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. It is not easy for survivors to find resources for healing, and even harder to find ones that support them in their faith. When help is offered to them, it is typically psychotherapy. Some people may indeed benefit from professional help, but not everyone. On the other hand, all who have seen evil up close need the comfort and strength that can come only from knowing their loving Father in Heaven.
That is why the witness of the saints is so important. Every saint's life is a complete story, and every one of their stories ends in the joy of life with Christ, in the bosom of the Father. We can see divine providence in their sufferings, because we know that God permitted the evils in their lives not because He willed that they should receive pain, but because He wished them to bear a greater likeness to His wounded Son. In the words of the English poet Edward Shillito, "To our wounds, only God's wounds can speak."
Once school lets out, I would like to spend the rest of the spring and all summer giving talks on My Peace I Give You in every possible part of the world. If you would like to bring me to speak in your area, please write to me via my feedback form. My first talk and signing for the book will be April 23 at Washington's Catholic Information Center.