My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds
with the Help of the Saints
by Dawn Eden
We cannot underestimate the depth of suffering inflicted by sexual abuse. In the last book I reviewed for “What I’m Reading” Wednesday
, Hurting in the Church
, Fr. Thomas Berg says many victims call sexual abuse “soul murder”. If this is the scale of the wound, what possible remedy suffices? How can someone facing such a massive trauma begin to heal?
Enter Dawn Eden
’s My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints
(AveMaria Press, 2012
). This is a small book that packs a big punch. Though grounded in a solidly Catholic understanding of suffering, you may need several readings to take in its full depth of wisdom. But as Eden’s writing style is accessible and warm, repeat readings will be a joy.
To give you an idea of what a beneficial resource this has been for me: to write this review I did my third read-through in as many years. My personal copy has highlighted passages or dog-eared corners on practically every page. Here, Eden tackles a subject that could easily devolve into basic platitudes or a lengthy, verbatim restating of the Catechism. Instead, she animates the heart of her work with prayerfully-gained insights on the trauma faced by saints alongside her own story of healing and conversion. You definitely won’t find any saccharine, plastic portrayals of the holy ones here. Rather, the wisdom contained within this book comes from the perspective of an author – and heavenly helpers – who know it's hard-won, at times requiring even the ultimate sacrifice. This point of view is exactly what renders this work's insight so profound; it flows from the same impetus of love that led the Lord to his death on Calvary.
This work of Eden’s is an excellent resource for the modern Catholic, indeed, for the entire Church at this juncture in history. I’d recommend My Peace I Give You to those suffering from all manner of wounds, not just those that are sexual in nature. After all, as Pope Benedict XVI said, “healing is the entire content of our redemption when understood at a sufficiently deep level.”
Favourite quote (just one of many):
“Through the Eucharist, not only is my present and future life “hidden with Christ,” but my past as well. The evil of my past is still evil, but it no longer has any power over me. All that remains of it are my wounds. Now I can look at the Crucified one – broken like me – as the priest holds the Host, and those same wounds become a point of entrance for his body, blood, soul, and divinity. Domine, non sum dignus – “Lord, I am not worthy …”