Saint Joseph of Cupertino, rising during prayer
Recently, a good friend has betrayed me, lied, and gossiped about me. An acquaintance I had been helping became so abusive, my PTSD couldn't handle it, and I had to back away from her. A neighbor screamed at me and called me vulgar names when I asked him to move his car from in front of my garage so I could go shopping. I am still grieving from the loss of my dog, and now I have a fine virus which has inflamed my throat to the point that I can barely speak. It all seems a bit much, and, oddly, most of it has happened after I finally was able to get my son's ashes interred in a holy space. I had been very happy about that when I was deluged with evil. How do I come to grips with this melange?
When I am overwhelmed with life's traumas, especially when they come in multiples, I have to carefully dissect my self-talk and discard what the PTSD would say in favor of what my Catholic faith says.
The PTSD would say, "I'm at war! The world is out to get me! I am not safe! Everything is dangerous! I shouldn't leave the house or someone will get me!"
Fortunately, although the PTSD has a very loud and strident voice, urging me to flee or to fight, I have a Catholic perspective that has been gradually taking over.
What I tell myself are varying versions of the following ideas, depending on the circumstance:
- God allows evil to exist in the world because we have free will. Some people choose evil and abuse others with it. I just happened to get in the way. Pray for my persecutors. They need it.
- Satan hates Christians and sends his demons out to torment them, as any good saint will say.
- In the case of the interment of my son's ashes in a holy place, Satan is infuriated because my son had given voice to the idea that he did not believe in God, and Satan was sure that he would have him in hell. With the bodily remains in a holy space and with me praying for him in reparation for his sins, Satan may not get his wish.
- For some of us, life is very difficult, but it is also temporary. Heaven, however, is permanent and eternal, and I look forward to it.
- In one sense, I AM at war, but it is a holy war that has been going on for a very long time. It is the war between good and evil and, although it is distressing in a temporal sense, I have to remember the big picture. Jesus did not promise us sunshine and daisies. He told us we would suffer for his name.
- I am not alone. Many saints suffered from depression, PTSD, and all manner of illnesses, physical and mental.
- Traumas are a good incentive to pray, and are therefore a blessing.
Some of the saints literally rose above the traumas of the world during prayer. Saint Joseph of Cupertino is well known for this. Lesser known is one of my favorites, Blessed Margaret of Castello, whose personal condition and tragedies are far worse than I could ever imagine mine to be, yet she still dedicated herself to God by worshiping Him through the care of the poor and the sick.
By allowing this levitation during prayer to occur in view of others, I believe God was giving us stark visual instruction. Prayer elevates the mind above the world.
Don't get me wrong. I still avail myself of modern medicine and therapies to keep the PTSD in its cage, but good self-talk with a Christian slant is a crucial piece of my treatment, and I wanted to share it with you because, whether or not you have PTSD or you're just having a crappy week, it might be helpful.
God bless you all.
Silver Rose Parnell