St. Maria Goretti: A Gift Worth Dying For

by | Jul 9, 2024 | Church, Prayer, Teachings

Maria Goretti reminds us that God has given us a gift worth dying for?

We celebrated the feast of St. Maria Goretti on July 6th. She died at the age of twelve, after being stabbed fourteen times by her neighbor. Maria and Alessandro grew up as friends, but she lived in virtue while he was slowly corrupted by sin. After several attempts to convince her to have sex with him, Alessandro threatened her life.

I have known about Maria Goretti for most of my life, thanks to my older sister’s confirmation. When I read her story, I learned she would not have been morally culpable if she gave in to Alessandro. If she had simply allowed him to use her body, especially under his threat, she would have been a victim. She would not have stained her soul with sin for her attacker’s actions. For Maria, that was not enough. She was willing to die shielding him from sin, to her last breath.

Why was preventing her attacker from sin worth dying for?

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were banished from the Garden, mankind was separated from God. The closest we can ever be to God in our fallen state is through sacrifice and procreation. Our marital embrace is both cross and gift. It requires both love and surrender. Maria understood sex was a gift so precious, she would rather die defending it than be a victim of its distortion.

How often do we think of sex in such precious terms?

Husbands and wives have sex. It’s part of our lives. But it shouldn’t be like brushing our teeth or eating dinner. This is a precious gift that unites us to God, that calls us to chastity, that requires sacrifice. It brings us children, makes us stewards of new souls. The marital embrace is a renewal of our vows to love, honor, and cherish one another. A twelve-year-old saint died to defend what we can engage in every day.

Mankind lost our harmony with God. Every time a married couple chastely engages in sex, we regain that harmony a little bit. When we bear children created and loved by God, we regain that perfect design. It is worth dying to ourselves in holy marriages to unite in this gift. And it is worth dying to ourselves to defend it outside of marriage.

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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