Saturday, November 11, 2006

John Martignoni: From Hedonism to Holiness

The National Catholic Register as an interview with John Martignoni about his flight from and return to the Catholic faith. The interview strikes a chord with me, particularly this passge:

Someone said to me once, “John, you’re lucky because you got to sow your wild oats.” I said, “You don’t know how lucky you are that you didn’t.” I have this constant struggle with memories form the past. All the things I did come back and try to tempt me. Those memories of impure actions are impure thoughts and I have to constantly keep my guard up to keep these thoughts and feelings and emotions from flooding my mind.

So you’re very lucky if you’ve never done these things. I was sinning like crazy, and it has consequences in my life today. You don’t want to “sow your wild oats” and you want to keep your children from doing so.

Amen to that. Like Mr. Martignoni, I stepped out of the Church and into a life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and I can confirm that those three nouns are not used together by accident. I played in nightclub bands starting when I was 17. While I certainly wasn't innocent at that time, the music scene exposed me to a whole new level of hedonism. I still pay the price of those early, dark years.

Sexual immorality is probably one of the best examples I can think of sin that has such clear spiritual and temporal consequences. When people in the Church these days argue for a less stringent morality, for a "more realistic" view of sex, I come to two conculsions about these people:

- These people have a completely materialist view of sexual intercourse. They see the act as purely physical and only endowed with those emotional aspects one chooses to give it. However, no one is more vulnerable to another person as they are during the sexual act. Such vulnerability brings with it an emotional attachment or an emotional wound, one or the other.

- These people have no idea of the damage pre- or extra-marital sex can do to someone's future relationships and emotional health. When someone has sexual intercourse with another person, they develop a bond. With no commitment, the bonding process is frustrated. Over time, repeated acts thwart a person's ability to bond. If that person ever marries, they begin that relationship with a huge impediment.

Here's another way to look at it. We try to protect our children from physical harm by setting rules and guidelines. No one in their right mind would tell us that we should allow our children to risk life or limb to really understand the need for caution. Yet, when it comes to sexual activity, this is the wisdom of the day. Your son or daughter won't really understand the value of commitment until they've been used emotionally and physically and tossed away. What kind of wisdom is that?

Some people like to say, "Well, at least he got it all out of his system." Nothing could be further from the truth. Engaging in that lifestyle is what puts the filth into your system. We need to God to get it back out of us.

HT to Jeff Miller.

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