Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

5/3/2010 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In 1975, as a young new wife with her own local television talk show and a husband on the verge of a political career, Rosemary was viciously raped at gunpoint.  A man whose face she never saw had brutally violated her body and her life, and as she says, stole her joy. Fear to Freedom is her amazing story of getting that joy back - and then some. Jennifer Hartline interviews Rosemary Trible, the author of Fear to Freedom. Hers is a real-life account of God's miraculous exchange of beauty for ashes. 

Highlights

By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/3/2010 (6 years ago)

Published in U.S.


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - What if you did not have to be so afraid?

With that simple yet intriguing question, a truly remarkable story begins to unfold in the pages of Fear to Freedom.  I had the wonderful privilege of sitting down in person with author Rosemary Trible to talk about the book.  Two hours later, I left the interview convinced there's not a corner of the globe that this book won't find its way into, and that everyone who reads this book will be positively impacted by its profound message.

In 1975, as a young new wife with her own local television talk show and a husband on the verge of a political career, Rosemary was viciously raped at gunpoint.  A man whose face she never saw had brutally violated her body and her life, and as she says, stolen her joy.  Fear to Freedom is her amazing story of getting that joy back - and then some.

To every person, man or woman, who has suffered the violation of sexual assault or abuse, Rosemary extends a lifeline of hope and healing.  As we talked about the darkness she walked through and the barrage of negative emotions she fought with, she told me how she felt like a big, ugly cracked pot with R-A-P-E on it.  Then she had an image of God placing His light down inside, and He asked her, "Where does the light shine through?"  Through the cracks, of course!  "That's how I want you to shine for Me," He said.

Her goal in Fear to Freedom is to let each of us know - especially those who feel like damaged goods - it's okay that we're cracked!  God repairs what is broken, and brings new life out of the ashes.

Don't be too quick to assume this book is only relevant to those who've suffered sexual assault.  That would be a big mistake.  This is not a book about rape; this is an unshakable testimony to the life-changing power of forgiveness, and the awesomeness of God's love.

If that sounds canned or phony to you, listen again.  Forgiveness is talked about a lot these days from psychologists and counselors and researchers and even celebrities.  It's acquired an almost chic quality in our culture.  But the world's brand of forgiveness doesn't even come close to the forgiveness offered to each of us by God, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and it doesn't always equal the forgiveness we are called to give one another.

I was amazed as I read Rosemary's account of how she made the courageous decision to forgive her attacker.  I was stopped in my tracks by what she did next.  She did not simply "release him" for her own sake and remain indifferent to him.  Most people would call that far more than anyone should expect of her, but on her knees before the Lord, she asked for the unthinkable - eternity with the man who'd terrorized her.

She prayed, "Lord, I forgive the man who raped me.  And I will pray every day for the rest of my life that someone will tell him about Jesus and that I'll spend eternity with him."  She took a step beyond mere release into love - love for her enemy!  She made her own great sacrifice of selfless love for the very person who rightfully deserved her contempt and condemnation.  In doing so, she realized as never before that "forgiveness is the greatest power on earth next to love."   She said to me, "When you pray for someone every day, you just can't hate them anymore."

The highlight of the book is Rosemary's astonishing description of what she calls her "near-life experience" after a strange car accident.  While in a coma-like state, unable to speak or move at all, Rosemary was allowed to see beyond the veil.  Though she warns that words are inadequate to describe what she experienced, she tells over and over again of the unspeakable love and peace that enveloped her, the light that warmed her, the absolute calm and joy that overtook her.

After being greeted and embraced by friends who had died, she suddenly found herself face to face with someone she did not recognize.  "Who are you?" she asked.  He replied, "I am the man who raped you.  I would not be here except you forgave me and prayed that someone would tell me about Jesus and I would be set free."

Rosemary writes that this heavenly meeting was "a great gift to my life.  To be face to face with the man who had stolen my joy, and see him now at peace with God and forgiven of his past.  What a merciful God to answer my prayer."

What she learned about forgiveness is for every one of us.  Next to love, forgiveness is the greatest power on earth.  When we forgive, the power of God is loosed in the life of our offender, to work eternal transformations.  We not only set ourselves free, but we free the one who hurt us to be changed by the force of God's perfect love.  God desires that not one soul be lost, but that every soul, every soul, be reconciled to Him through Jesus.  He will stop at nothing, and go to the ends of the earth to win back even the most hardened soul.

When was the last time you prayed for the good of your enemy?  I think back to times I have prayed for someone who hurt me deeply or hurt someone I love, and I'm not sure I was all that interested in that person's good.  I was mainly concerned with "freeing" myself from the anger I felt and getting a pat on the back for being so gracious toward a real schmuck.  Which means I have missed the point of forgiveness and love entirely. 

Rosemary has truly lived God's command to love your enemy, and she now radiates the light of Christ.  I asked her near the end of our time together, "If you could edit your life so that the rape never happened, but without the assurance that you'd be the woman you are today, would you do it?"   With barely a moment's thought, she smiled and shook her head and said, "No, I wouldn't."   

Hers is a real-life account of God's miraculous exchange of beauty for ashes.  It's through those ashes, she told me, that God has taught her the power of forgiveness and how immensely great is His love for each of us.  Her mission in life is to tell people about that love and say to every person who is broken and trapped by fear, "You can be free again.  You can have joy again!  You are loved and wanted no matter what you've done or what's been done to you."

One thing's for certain - the cracks in her pot no longer spell r-a-p-e, but H-O-P-E.  She simply shines with hope.

To order your copy of this marvelous book, visit the Fear to Freedom website (www.feartofreedomjourney.com).

-----

Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Captain James Cook wreckage discovered! Watch

Image of Legendary British explorer Captain James Cook's vessel is believed to have been discovered (John Webber).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Captain James Cook was a famous British explorer who commanded the HMS Endeavour from 1768 to 1771. Since it was intentionally sunk, its whereabouts fell into question - until now? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, researchers from  the Rhode ... continue reading


You won't believe why this ICONIC WWII image is being investigated! Watch

Image of Two amateur historians raised questions concerning a service member in the image (Corbis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two amateur historians believe one of the men in the iconic Mount Suribachi image was misidentified, prompting a Marine Corp investigation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The image, taken by the Associated Press' Joe Rosenthal, reveals the struggle six servicemen ... continue reading


Puerto Rico drowns in debt - What is the U.S. going to do about it? Watch

Image of Puerto Rico missed its first nearly $400 million bond payment (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

U.S. territory Puerto Rico defaulted its first payment of nearly $400 million - so what is the territory going to do? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Puerto Rico has suffered a recession for the past decade, resulting in the government borrowing money from foreign ... continue reading


ISIS kills U.S. Navy SEAL in violent attack Watch

Image of ISIS breaks Peshmerga lins to kill U.S. Navy SEAL (navysealsmuseum).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in the line of duty when ISIS forces pushed their way through a Kurdish Peshmerga line. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said during an official ... continue reading


'It was an escape:' father of Scientology founder tells all Watch

Image of Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, opens up (20/20)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ron and Becky Miscavige escaped the California Scientology compound known as the "Gold Base" and have stepped forward to share their story. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientology is a quiet religion shrouded in secrets - many of which are believed to be ... continue reading


'Clown-in-Chief' Obama makes skit about retirement, but here's why we're not laughing Watch

Image of Obama thinks he's a comedian, but some matters are too serious to joke about.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama, in an act of self-depreciating humor, has made a SNL-style spoof about his retirement. While amusing at moments, we can't decide if the video is good, because to make it he had to take time away from issuing executive orders, or bad, because it must ... continue reading


CIA under fire for 'live tweeting' dramatic Bin Laden raid on 5 year anniversary Watch

Image of Though some patriots were pleased to see the tweets, several compared the CIA to ISIS and their propaganda videos.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The CIA celebrated the 5-year anniversary of Osama bin Ladin's death by posting "live tweets" of the raid that killed him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For those who don't have a Twitter account, the CIA posted a timeline of the raid on their website.The tweets ... continue reading


Athanasius, Defender of the Incarnation: Defend the Faith! Watch

Image of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Incarnation

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bishop and Doctor of the Church whom we honor today in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar was called the Defender of the Incarnation. This title summarizes a life given over to defending the central Christian claim - about who Jesus is and who we can be - ... continue reading


No Phony Truces in the Battle to Block Most Anti-Life, Liberal Court in a Generation

Image of The United States Supreme Court

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention.  The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading


Fr Frank Pavone - Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis' Encouraging Roadmap for Families Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Florian: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: I fear no evil!
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • 'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe
  • St. Matthew HD Video
  • Daily Reading for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 HD Video
  • Captain James Cook wreckage discovered!

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
15 Paul's escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2016 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman ... Read More