Heaven. Salvation. These are some of the most beautiful things to contemplate. The beauty and love that pours forth from thinking about these things is beyond words. This is a place that God has prepared for all of us, out of pure love for us. If we could only grasp the amount of love that God has for us, then maybe we could begin to understand how amazing eternity with him and all the saints will be. Of course, our goal is to reach the joy of living eternity in this place. And since we strive to be saints, we also pray and hope for everyone else to reach the joy of heaven. This is such a beautiful thing, how we long for all to be in a state of grace.
This is greatly seen in St. Maria Goretti’s life. She was born in the beautiful Italian countryside on October 16 1890. Her father died of malaria when she was very young leaving the family to be dependent on their humble farm. Maria grew up with much faith and having so much love for God. She was loved by all in her town, and was known as a very strong and sweet girl.
Alexander, Maria’s 18-year-old neighbor began to have terrible anger issues and many problems. He went after Maria and attempted to rape her. She was cornered and terrified with Alexander telling her that she either would let him or that he would kill her. Maria kept fighting him and telling him not to do it because it was a grave sin. She did not want Alexander to offend God in this way, and continued to scream this at him.
He was full of rage and could no longer contain himself. He stabbed Maria fourteen times. For 20 hours after the terrible incident, Maria suffered as doctors tried to save her life. During these painful hours she forgave Alexander, repeating many times that she hopes for him to enjoy eternity in heaven. She went on to receive the anointing of the sick. Maria entered heaven on July 6, 1902. She was eleven years old.
Meanwhile, her attacker was captured and sentenced to 30 years in jail. He was completely unrepentant until one night were he had a powerful dream. He was standing in a garden, where he saw Maria. She handed to him a lilies, and the moment he took them they burned in his hands. From the next morning on, he was a changed man. He repented, went to confession, and finished his time in jail. Upon his release from jail, he ran to beg forgiveness from Maria’s mother, which she granted him. They both attended Maria’s canonization (among 500,00 other attendees) on June 24, 1950. Alexander spent the rest of his life as a gardener of a Capuchin Monastery where he died in 1969.
Maria became the patron saint of modern youth and purity. This beautiful, strong girl is also a remarkable example of forgiveness. She cared so much for the soul of Alexander. This young girl understood how much God loved him and that it was His will for Alexander to reach heaven.This understanding is echoed in her actions, even beyond death. At no moment did Maria wish evil upon her attacker. Instead she prayed for him. Maria knew that God was all merciful, and was always waiting to forgive our sins. Let us pray for this grace to always have the hope of God’s love. To know the value and beauty of our purity.To have the firm goal of becoming saints. To always stay away from sin, and help others do the same. To be aware of God’s infinite love and mercy. Let us pray for each other, that we may always be in a state of grace.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” – Psalm 51:10
God Bless you!