Like many fellow Catholics, my knowledge of Scripture is dreadfully inadequate. After attending Catholic parochial schools for 13 years (kindergarten – 12 grade) I never owned a Bible. The only exposure I had to the Bible, before adulthood, was a massive Family Bible given to my parents at their Wedding. I never read it, but I loved to flip through the pages and look at the beautiful reproductions of religious paintings by the Masters. From that point onward, my religiosity was always image based.
The following Bible passage, I just recently came across. Wish I would have known about it when I was writing my book; God willing there will be a second edition:
And Jesus rebuked him, and the devil went out of him, and the child was cured from that hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out? Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17: 19-21)
I found this extraordinary, as I never knew Jesus said it. In my book, I write about how I was inexplicably drawn to fasting after my escape from the world of porn. I had no experience with the practice, but it felt so natural. I loved it. Fasting completely transported my mind, body and soul. I felt lifted from the mundane lusts of sex and debauchery. The pains of hunger, always brought me back to my squalid mortality. How I was subject the the strains and needs of the body. But also how I could overcome these base urges by simply denying myself what I wanted. It felt good. I felt in control. I no longer sensed a looming prevalence of doom; of being unable to withstand temptation.
Mysteriously, when I was a would-be porn star and Art History student at UC Berkeley, I was strangely drawn to the work of Spanish artist El Greco. His paintings of emaciated Saints were so graceful and injected with a consciousness of the Sacred. It was otherworldly. So different from the soiled and profane world that I existed in. It was my soul’s deepest longing to escape the universe in which I had buried myself.