2012 Second Place Winner

Name: Katie Browne
Age: 17
Parish: Holy Name of Jesus, Indialantic, FL

Touched by Truth

            Harsh. Impatient. Lustful. These are things the world had taught me to associate with men. I was afraid to be touched by them. I was afraid to be taken advantage of. I was in defense mode at all times when around them, because I had been taught that they were only after one thing. If a guy wanted to be my friend, it was because he wanted something from me. I had never had a relationship with a guy my age and I was afraid to open myself up and be vulnerable for fear of being hurt.

            Then, in the spring semester of my freshman year, when I was 14 years old, I was introduced to Theology of the Body. Blessed Pope John Paul II said, “Become what you are.” Theology of Body reveals who we are as men and women.  Every word that the speaker spoke rang true in my heart. Every word that poured forth was truth. And it changed my life forever.

            I slowly developed holy relationships with several guys from my church. I found that they acted as my brothers. They didn’t want to take advantage of me; they wanted to protect me and help me to grow in my faith. I began to feel more comfortable and more at ease with the opposite sex. I gradually began to let down my guard.

            These men are my brothers. Not only are they my brothers in Christ, they are also called to lead me to Him. They are to be Christ Himself to me.

            I learned that these men were not here to hurt me; they were created to love, to protect, and to cherish me. And I, I was not here to defend myself, but I was created to love, to nourish, and to bring life. We were created to be images of a greater love.

            In this world that we live in, this “culture of death,” women are told so many lies. We are told that we are objects. We are told that men will take advantage of us. So, we are told, if you are going to be pure, hide yourself away, lock yourself in a tower. And if not, you may as well use your body to your advantage. Because boys will be boys. They can’t control themselves. They want what they want and they are going to get it. But the world is wrong. It confuses love and lust. It acts as if those two words, lust and love, are interchangeable instead of inverses.

            The Youcat says this about love: Love is the free self-giving of the heart. To have a heart full of love means to be so pleased with something that one emerges from oneself and devotes oneself to it… In every friendship there is love… All human love is an image of divine love, in which all love is home. Love is the inmost being of the Triune God. In God there is continual exchange and perpetual self- giving. Through the overflow of divine love, we participate in the eternal love of God. The more a person loves, the more he resembles God. Love should influence the whole life of a person, but it is realized with a particular depth and symbolism when man and woman love one another in marriage and become one flesh.

            “All human love is an image of divine love.” We are called to love, wholeheartedly. We were made for Love, by Love. We are created for the sole purpose of love: to love and to be loved.

            Theology of the Body reveals the truth about who we are created to be as men and women. It has revealed to me that men are protectors and providers, things that this world has long ago pushed aside in the name of independence and feminism. These men are warriors. They are brothers who care for their sisters, fathers who protect their daughters. They are lovers who cherish their wives. They are gentle and kind and strong.  They are capable of loving purely.

            Men are created to be givers and women to be receivers. Our bodies, by design, reveal this. The gift of love is a beautiful thing. That man and woman are created to give and receive it, to show it physically through their bodies is even more amazing.  Jason Evert, in his book Theology of Her Body says, “A man’s body reveals his identity. His body reveals his strength and his call from God to initiate the gifts of love and life as a bridegroom and father.”

            Our bodies reveal that love and the sacrament of marriage is all about self- sacrifice. Someday, if I am called to the beautiful sacrament of marriage, I will give myself fully to my husband. My husband, in turn, will lay down his life for me as Christ, the Bridegroom did for His Church. My husband will promise to uphold me. He will promise to protect me. He will promise to love me. We will promise to love each other unto death, and we will promise to willingly and lovingly accept children. And in doing this, we will not only fulfill our marriage convent with God, but also fulfill who we are as a man and a woman in a most intimate way.

            Theology of the Body has opened my eyes and my heart. It pierces my soul with Truth. Growing up in today’s culture, I had begun to give up hope of finding a man who would cherish me. But Truth has given me hope. It has revealed beauty in a relationship that this world has tried so hard to destroy. It has shown me the face of Love and a new and glorious way. I have found joy, comfort and safely in relationship with my brothers in Christ, relationship I once feared.