ago, I met a girl. We were both quite young. Around this time, I started developing
a lot of the symptoms you list as being indicative of anger at my father. I procrastinated
heavily; habitually and obstinately used pornography; retreated into fantasy worlds at
I was raised in a protestant background, and she is Catholic. I had already
started reading and becoming interested in the Catholic Church when we met, and I thought
it was great to have a good, new Catholic friend.
However, we perverted our relationship quickly. There was a pathological need
for acceptance from both of us, I think, but I can only say that authoritatively for myself.
I had rage all the time--true wrathful, sinful angerat her, at my parents, at a
traffic light! I had intense fear of abandonment. I lost an appetite for work which previously
I enjoyed. I used pornography and escaped into fantasy realms. I slept all the time as another
mechanism of escape.
We soon started to to have sexual relations. I engaged in incredibly evil,
emotionally manipulative patterns of behavior. I used her dependence on me and tried to
manipulate her by harming myself and lashing out in anger. She had manipulative behavior too.
Our relationship ended disastrously. The end of our relationship led to my suicide attempt.
Now, thankfully, that suicide attempt made me realize just how wretched and wrong I was and
has led me to the Catholic Church.
I now am seeing the full effects of my actions. I have entered into psychotherapy
to confront all of the ugliness that has tainted my soul. I realize now that my mother was
over-bearing and smothering, and my dad, though well-intentioned, did nothing to stop this.
I realize that Ive engaged in self-defeating behavior out of anger at them. But more
importantly, I realize now that when we were having sex, it wasnt that I loved this girl.
I just wanted to her to soothe me. I wanted her to want me, and I wanted her to depend on me. I
realize that while I was playing victim, I was really preying on the emotions of an emotionally
vulnerable young woman. I realize that Ive done incredible, lasting damage to her soul!
The other day I sent her a text message. I told her how sorry I was. Then she sent
a text back saying that although she wished me well, she wished she had never met me. Her
response is the truth, and it forced me to confront it. It would have been better for her soul
if she had never met me. She is right to wish that!
I do not feel guilt about my behaviors. I did at the beginning, but I do not think
that guilt is the right word to describe it now. I just wish I had never engaged in all this
destructive behavior. I know Ive done lasting damage to her soul, both because of the
sexual perversion I consented to with her and because of the evil, angry, manipulative behavior
I used against her.
So now, I can finally ask my question. I know that I cannot undo what
I did to her soul, but what should I do? All sin requires reparation. I pray for her soul. Is
that all that I can do? I do not want her to go to hell because I invoked malice in her
Of course, her decisions are her decisions and only acts of her will can constitute
a mortal sin for her, but I did influence her. She was at an emotionally sensitive time in life,
and I took advantage of that because of my own unconscious desires. How can I make this better
I am coming into the Church and fully expect to live a life of denial and penance,
as required by the Lord. I am in psychotherapy and am confronting all of the blocks I have
encountered to this. But what is the profit if I manage to go to heaven or gain merit while this
soul to which I have done so much damage still suffers? I no longer feel the desire to punish
myself for these actions, but I do feel sorry. I just want them to be undone!
fundamental element of Christianity
is that although love overcomes evil
it doesn’t just wipe evil away as if it never existed. After humanity
fell from grace, God did not just destroy everything
with the intention of starting all over again. God knew very well that in order to
allow us to be capable of love He had to give us
free will, even though that very
free will makes us vulnerable to rejecting God’s will and falling into
sin. So even if God had started over again after the fall,
the fall would have happened again. Hence God left creation in its place and
redeemed us with His love through
a plan that He had in place even before the fall. Through His Word incarnate in
His own creation—that is, Jesus Christ—He demonstrated
for us how divine love should be lived in daily human life to overpower
Consequently, even though you have committed
grave sins and have caused great damage to another person, your wanting that you could
undo the mess really disavows the redemptive grace of divine love. In other words, even
though you contributed to this girl’s fall, she alone is
responsible for accepting the
redemption God offers her in working out her salvation.
It’s imperative, then, that you focus on
your salvation; turn to God asking for mercy for your sins
and dedicate yourself to living a holy life from now on.
Living a holy life—with all the chastity,
prayers, sacrifices, and
renunciations of temptations that such holiness entailswill,
for the rest of your life, be your reparation for the sins you have committed, and it will
be your protection from any desire to commit new sins.
The Mystical Effects of Good
Furthermore, keep in mind here that all
of our thoughts and behaviors have a mystical effect on others; the sins we commit
feed the powers of evil and extend the realm of darkness in the
world, and the chaste, holy love we manifest in our lives radiates
healing and serves to overpower evil.
Therefore, your decision to live a chaste, holy life puts you on the side of God in the
great spiritual battle against evil in your own life and in the
lives of others.
In the context of that holy life, you can
pray that this girl will repent her sins and, like you, turn to
God for mercy. Hold her in your heart with all your prayers, but
especially remember her by name as an addendum
to the Collect of the Leonine prayers that you should be
saying privately after every Mass.
The profit of your going to Heaven is in
your own soul, but in the course of your spiritual struggles—with all the
and social corruption that you renounce—the holiness that you
bring into the world will profit the contrition not just of this girl but also of countless
other souls as well.
in the Catholic mystic tradition
How to turn the
of daily life into
for our cultural
The Struggle for
about the spiritual depth of