Catholic Review of: Set Free To Love
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By Dorian Speed (TX) - See all my reviews
Short but substantive compilation of personal testimonies on John Paul II's teaching on sexuality
Marcel LeJeune’s Set Free To Love
is a short compilation of reflections by people in all walks of life on how John Paul II’s teaching on love, sexuality, and marriage made a pivotal difference in their lives. The stories contained in the book center on chastity, a topic that many consider only applicable to teenagers or the unmarried. LeJeune explains in the introduction how the Theology of the Body
sees marriage as a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the Church:
God created humans to live with him forever in heaven. This is the ultimate marriage each of us looks forward to. We are all espoused to God if we choose to accept the gift of the Son. Yet God will never force himself on us, because he is a gentle lover. He will woo us and call to us but never coerce. It is always our choice, made in freedom, to love God.
It is this choice that ties together the disparate stories in the book. One woman shares her conversion experience during graduate school, when her new community of friends who were deeply committed to their Catholic faith helped her heal from the abortion she had as a college student. A young man writes with tremendous honesty about his struggles with same-sex attraction and pornography addiction, focusing on how he came to appreciate his own masculinity as a gift from God. Another young lady writes what could apply to any of us who look back on our past experiences or attitudes about sexuality with regret:
Many of the desires within my heart are good, but I sought fulfillment of them in the wrong places. I want to be loved and to be beautiful, and I fall petty to the lies of this confusing world, this world which demands so much but leaves us feeling worthless.
Because the contributors to the book share such a wide variety of personal experiences, it is a poignant survey of the damage wrought by our culture’s distorted views of sexuality. This book would be appropriate for older teenagers and up, as it does address frankly various aspects of sexual sin. It’s a quick read but packed with lot to reflect upon, and the various writers are to be commended for the candor with which they speak about their own struggles.