Maria Goretti in Heaven

[Maria Goretti is an eleven year old Italian girl who is a saint of the Catholic Church. She died in 1902 from multiple stab wounds endured resisting a would-be rapist. She was canonized in 1950 as a “virgin-martyr.” At her canonization ceremony, Pope Pius XII asked the hundreds of young people gathered to celebrate her elevation to sainthood,”Young people, pleasure of the eyes of Jesus, are you determined to resist any attack on your chastity with the help of grace of God?” A resounding “yes” was the answer.]

She left behind her torn body
It was not glorified, just gone
Unnecessary.

She was welcomed
But not by an old father
Bearded and stern but kind.

She was welcomed
By an old Crone
Who frightened Maria
Until She smiled
And opened Her arms.

Safely on Her lap
Maria smiled
Contented
She felt her soul calmed and quieted
Like a weaned child with its Mother.

Quietly, the old Crone asked,
Can you find forgiveness
My dear one?

Oh, Mother, Maria replied,
I forgave him before I died
They already tell of how
I forgave him
As I lay dying.

Ah, child, sighed the Crone
My sweet girl
That was well done
But can you forgive them?

Them? Them?
I do not understand, Mother
Only he attacked me
Only he tried to defile me
Only he killed me
And I have forgiven him.

Ah, child, sighed the Crone,
My sweet, innocent, pure child
But can you forgive those priests
Those men who say
They are My representatives
Those execrable priests
Who told you that rape
Would rob you of virtue
Would rob you of purity
Could ever defile you?

And Maria, with opened eyes
Snuggled closer and cried,
I do not know, Mother,
It is hard.
Please, can You do it for me?

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