“Agnes in Agony” is a play on words. The name of the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone in Rome, the site of the death of the virgin martyr Saint Agnes, is often misunderstood in English as referring to the “agony” of the saint. In fact, “in Agone” refers to the location of the church: in the Greek, “agon” (ἀγών) is a “contest”: Saint Agnes was martyred in a brothel in an arcade of the Stadium of Domitian, and the ancient name of the Piazza Navona was the Piazza in Agone — the plaza “at the games.”
But let there be no doubt — Saint Agnes did die in agony. She died exposed and tortured for her faith, but remained a constant witness to her faith in Jesus Christ and to the consecration of her virginity and maidenly modesty. She has become the patron of young girls and of chastity. And I believe, in this culture saturated with pornography and loose sexuality and irreligion — the very antithesis to everything for which Saint Agnes gave her life — she is in agony again today. This world is locked in a contest, and chastity is losing ground.
This blog is about my own contest with the flesh: my healing and recovery from sexual addiction. For so much of my life, I have been bound by the chains of pornography and masturbation. Since the tender age at which Saint Agnes met her martyrdom, I have been corrupted and enslaved. This long and painful battle has now raged over twenty years, more than two thirds of my life. But just this past year, I accepted that I was a sexual addict — a term I long denied — and for the first time in years, I see ahead a road of hope. Placing my own trust in Christ, I intend to travel this road. I pray that He may lead me out of this darkness, and I invoke the intercession of Saint Agnes and of Our Blessed Mother in my struggle.
Here I will blog my journey, sometimes in personal detail. It won’t be pretty, but then, I don’t envision myself blogging for a mass audience. If anyone wants to follow along, you are welcome; and I pray that through my words, I might offer light and encouragement to someone else who is struggling on this road.