The Raphael Remedy

Forming A Stronghold Against The Darkness

by | Jul 1, 2016 | Counseling

Many of us today are feeling a sense of doom with the division in the current political landscape, the racial strife in our communities and the violence in our streets.

It’s easy to yield to depression right now.  If you’re already struggling with depression or anxiety, all this can really exacerbate things for you.

But, God has His day.  After the crucifixion came the resurrection.  God used the wickedness of the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers in His higher plan for our salvation.  He will use this too.  Justice will arise like the dawn for those who trust in God. But, we must PRAY.  We must pick up our [spiritual] weapons and fight the evil that is befalling us.

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
(Ephesians 6:10-11)

So, how should you deal with the emotional fall out of these and other events and the frustration and fear that comes in its wake?

First, let us all make a good and thorough examination of conscience and make a sincere confession.  The more we are in a state of grace, the more grace in the world to overcome the darkness.  Darkness reigns in the world because so many are living apart from God…in sin.  We all play a part in this cosmic drama.  Each soul in God’s heavenly army is integral in turning back the tide of destruction.  But we must purify ourselves in the confessional and fortify ourselves at the altar of Our Lord.  We can’t go into battle weakened and limping in our sins. Let Jesus wash those sins away in the crucible of His infinite mercy.

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood,
but with the principalities, with the powers,
with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”
(Ephesians  6:11-12)

Next, it’s important to monitor your emotions.  Are you feeling intense anger, frustration, despair, or even hatred?  Talk to others who share your concerns (and your faith).  It helps to commiserate and pray together, but if they’re fanning the flames of your anger or fear, pull back.  Feelings are normal and not sinful, but they can lead us to sin if we’re not careful.  Take it to Confession regularly.  Pour out your fears and feelings to the Lord.  Tell Him how angry you feel. He understands and He’ll give you the strength to resist temptation. We can’t yield to despair, or hatred or violence.  Those are the tactics of the enemy.  It’s easy to be tempted toward any of them in light of the outrage of recent events.  But in the final analysis, all that matters are souls…your soul and mine and the souls of countless others.  Do not allow the devil a victory by turning you bitter or stealing your peace.  God is ultimately in control.  The Roman soldiers would have had no power over Him had it not been given them from above.

Join or form a prayer group.  Where two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus Christ, there He will be in the midst of them. There’s power in group prayer…not to mention the camaraderie and fellowship it provides.  Don’t go this alone.  We’re in for a battle so form a battalion.

Go to Mass often. There’s no greater way to worship God and gain the strength that only He can give than by receiving Holy Communion.  Offer your communions for the healing of our nation or for those in power to receive the grace of true conversion.  Remember, St. Paul was once a persecutor of Christians before God intervened in his life.  Even the most wicked politician can be converted…as unlikely as that may seem humanly speaking.  Norma McCorvey,  the original “Jane Roe” (from the infamous Roe v Wade supreme court decision that unleashed unrestricted abortion in our country), was converted and is now a practicing Catholic and ardent spokesperson in the cause for life.  You never know!

Pray for your enemies. Not my idea…Jesus told us to do this.  He was unambiguous about it.  “…but I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you”  (Matt. 5:44) It may not change them, but it will change you and give you peace.  Remember Jesus died for them too.  Commit to praying even just one ‘Our Father’  for each of them daily and each time they come to mind.  Do it in obedience to what Jesus tells us to do.  You don’t have to like them and you may still feel anger, but this act of obedience will bring you immeasurable graces and will form a bulwark against the darkness of the situation.  As Our Lady said, “Do whatever He tells you.”  (Read my article Two Reasons To Pray For Those Who Hurt You.)

Do some spiritual reading every day. Nothing beats Scripture of course, but there are countless spiritual classics that can help you to weather this storm and grow and prosper in the process.  Absorb your mind in truth and goodness and hope and that will form a defense against the despair and bitterness so prevalent in our culture today.

Limit your news exposure. For some it may be energizing to watch every detail but for many, it can lead to overload and increasing feelings of despair and anger.  If that applies to you, then turn off the radio and TV.  Check in once in a while if you must but set limits.  Set limits on Internet/Facebook/social media viewing too as we know the maze that they can draw you into.  Usually the big news gets to us even if we avoid all media.  Keep your focus on Jesus, His promises and His ultimate victory and pray, pray, pray.

Make sure you make time for leisure activity and some levity. Again, it’s a long battle before us so we need to be able to go the distance.  A good laugh is great medicine.

Go to your favorite “natural wonder”…a beach, your favorite park, the mountains and contemplate the order and beauty of creation.  God made all of this.  He can handle whatever is going on and He can and will remake creation in His time…with our cooperation.

Lastly, remember God is on the side of truth and of life.

The battle is laid out before us.  Victory is assured by heaven.  So, let’s get busy – by praying on our knees!

And, may God bless you in this heavenly combat.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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