LOPEZ: We talk about sex all the time, and even, to some extent, sexual abuse, but we don’t necessarily do it in a healthy way. How do you talk about sexual abuse, including what you’ve suffered, without wallowing too much?
EDEN: In My Peace I Give You and in my talks, I avoid giving graphic details about abuse or dwelling on it at length. The focus is always on the journey of healing. Also, I emphasize that healing is ongoing. I think it is important to stress that, because I’ve found that many Christians are embarrassed to be seen as struggling with ongoing emotional and spiritual challenges. It’s as though we fear that, by admitting our struggles, we are admitting our own lack of faith, or even blaming God for our personal failings. On this line of thinking, if we were truly devout, we would not have as-yet-unhealed psychic wounds — or at least we wouldn’t complain about them.
I did experience a dramatic healing when I first received faith in Christ. The suicidal depression that had plagued me since my teens evaporated. But I retained many other effects of post-traumatic stress, including emotional flashbacks, occasional anxiety, and other kinds of unwanted sensitivity. While my walk with the Lord deepened with my entering into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2006, God has not chosen to give me a complete healing from those effects at this time. Instead, He has enabled me to ask for his grace, day by day, in dealing with them as they come up.
What I have learned from the lives of the saints, and what I seek to share in my book and talks, is that God is every bit as present in the wounds he doesn’t instantly heal — the parts of my heart where he works slowly and painfully, over the course of time — as He is in the areas where I have received healing. That is what Blessed John Paul II called the Good News of Christian suffering. And it’s news the world needs to hear.
LOPEZ: Is it really possible to have peace here on earth?
EDEN: With God all things are possible.
LOPEZ: You were the subject of a somewhat odd piece in the New York Times Magazine recently. What did you make of it?
EDEN: I loved it! Keep in mind that the intention of the reporter, Alexandra Molotkow, wasn’t to write about my outreach as a Catholic author. She tracked me down because she was interested in the work I did many years ago as a rock historian. It was very gracious of her to accept my suggestion that she find points of continuity between my past love of obscure musicians and my present love of obscure saints. Also, she was doing arts criticism, not hard journalism, so there’s a different set of rules than there would be for a normal personality piece. All in all, I thought she wrote a deep and nuanced article that was respectful of my faith and raised some thought-provoking questions on the nature of fandom.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.