Dark Secret #1 RevealedDisclaimer right from the start: I AM NOT JUDGING ANYONE THAT HAS READ THESE BOOKS OR HAS GONE TO SEE THIS MOVIE. Several years ago, I would have been able to loan you my copy of the book and would have been sitting next to you at the movie.
God has changed me so much in what seems like such a short time, but I know He has been hard molding my mind and forming my conscience all along. And I know that He's not finished with me yet, because I'm still not a perfect Christian. I fall many times in my daily life, but each time I do, He picks me up, dusts me off, and shows me a better way. Each time I come out realizing how much more vigilant I have to be in today's world.
Several weeks, maybe months ago, I started seeing lots of Facebook posts about this new book 50 Shades of Grey. I mentally noted that title on my to-read list for later. As time went on, that title began popping up everywhere. A fellow Catholic blogger had written a review on it, so I clicked on over to get a preview of what I'd be reading when my life slowed down. I was appalled to see it referred to as "mommy porn." Surely, this couldn't be the book that was sweeping the nation.
So, what do you do when you want information---Google it. And so the search began. I skimmed so many articles, so many reviews. With each review, I felt more sick to my stomach. My heart ached for these women. I continued to think surely this isn't as bad as it looks. I was deeply concerned for all the souls of the women, especially my friends, who had read or were reading this. So, I talked to one of our local priests about this book. He confirmed that it was indeed as bad as the reviews I had read made it out to be. My first reaction was, "What is wrong with all my friends? Do they not care about offending God?"
Then the Holy Spirit gently reminded me.... Umm...Twlight? Yep, I had been there and done that before. I had even pointed out the "good and virtuous storyline about saving virginity until marriage" and had ignored the fact that it had aroused lustful thoughts in my mind. And so I prayed for forgiveness for myself and enlightenment for others.
Just as the 50 Shades statuses began to disappear, the Magic Mike ones began to show up. And guess what I did. Yep, Googled it. Immediately, images from my bachelorette party came to mind, and I felt sick all over again. It was an evening that I had managed to block from my mind for sometime now. It was a night that I had felt uneasy about from the moment it was mentioned to me, but at that time in my life I was caught up in trying to please and impress everyone else but God. So, I went along to watch the male dancers with a group of my bridesmaids.
From the moment we walked in, I felt dirty and ashamed, but not enough to leave or speak up. It wasn't anything a few drinks couldn't take care of. I wasn't even a big drinker, but I drank a lot that night trying to get over my embarrassment. Based on the pictures from the night, it must have worked. By the end of the night, I was obviously having a good time and partaking in the activities. But those pictures made me sick to my stomach when I saw them days later, but I played along with all the laughter and fun of reminiscing. Then I buried them deep in a box in the attic the first chance I got and buried the memories deep in the back of my mind for many years.
A week or two after my "party", it was my future husband's turn. His groomsmen and friends were taking him out for his bachelor party. The feeling in my stomach was not nearly as sickening as the one in my heart. I did not want him to go. I begged him not to, but I looked more like a hypocrite at that point than a concerned fiancee. I told him how I felt when I thought of him looking and lusting after another woman. I knew that he understood, but again we were young, naive, and living for approval from the world. He left with his friends, and I cried myself to sleep that night. I knew deep down that this was NOT how we were suppose to start our life together.
Years later when moving, I came across the box and the pictures. The sick feeling came over me again. But by this time in my life, I was realizing that the world was so wrong and so misleading about what is good and acceptable. I had also come to know what a loving and forgiving Father we had. I was able to confess my sin with true sorrow to God, and then I vowed to avoid the "near occasion of sin." I then burned the photos and prayed that the copies others had never surfaced again or just miraculously disappeared off the face of the Earth.
For years, I had not thought of that night nor those photos, but seeing the first few seconds of the Magic Mike movie trailer had stirred up all kinds of emotions including that awful shame. I once again begged God's forgiveness for the times in my life that I had offended Him and asked Him to help lead my friends and family out of the darkness of the world into the light of Christ like He had led me. He then challenged me to be that light. Whoa!
This morning I opened my computer and browsed through the articles on the online version of the National Catholic Register, and came across yet another article regarding 50 Shades. I had stopped reading them, but something impelled me to read this particular one. I skimmed the article not finding anything intriguing, but I happened to find a link to another one in the comments.
The link was to a blog written by Sr. Helena Burns, a sister belonging to the Daughters of St. Paul, an order dedicated to spreading God's Word through media. She is also a teacher of Theology of the Body and that was what caught my attention! Theology of the Body is the pure and simply Truth about human sexuality. TOB is what opened my eyes as to why I felt dirty and ashamed for so many years. It's what opened my eyes to this particular verse, “If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” –Jesus (Matthew 5:28).
TOB really changed my way of thinking about myself and the others around me, so I had to see what this nun had to say. After reading her VERY long, but very truthful, blog about Magic Mike and 50 Shades, I posted it on Facebook immediately and then immediately deleted it. I felt the Holy Spirit move in my heart to share my story first---to be the light that others can relate to.
Many times I have felt the urge to post about 50 Shades or Magic Mike or to post a link to an article that I felt spoke the Truth about both of these, but each time I feared offending my friends or starting a
Anyway, after that, I felt called to write this blog not to condemn those who have read or watched these, not to judge anyone, but to challenge you to pray about the things the world is constantly bombarding our lives with. It is so easy to get caught up in the hype of the newest fad whether it be books, movies, fashion, etc. The evil one loves sneaking into our lives when we aren't vigilant and desensitizing us to his evil ways.
So, now that I've shared one of my dark secrets for the world (ok, my little world of 12 followers), here's the link to Sr. Helena Burns blog Hell Burns: Magic Mike.
I do want to leave you with a quote from her blog (in case you don't actually read it). This really stuck out to me and rings so true for me. It's something I am desperately trying to I instill into my two daughters' heads and hearts early on even though I'm praying that they will both be nuns. :)
"Who are the “sexiest” men alive? Family men. They are hidden deep within families. They are men who love their wives and children fundamentally, freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully."