Joanne McPortland on the Call to Self-Destruction

2015-05-06 18.46.59

Ignacio de Ries: The Tree of Life, 1653

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spring quite like this. It’s not unusual for depression to come in cycles, and for it to hit harder as we emerge from winter. But this season, everywhere I look, I see people more people crushed under this burden than I ever recall seeing before.

Are we just talking about it more? Are we being more candid? Are years of stagnant economics and social upheaval wearing down our ability to resist?

Or is there something else going on here? More than one Catholic has suggested to me in private that it’s the work of the devil, and I’m inclined to agree in at least some of the cases. People are being flattened by depression like Wile E. Coyote under an anvil.

Joanne McPortland writes powerfully today about the siren song of suicide that calls us to death:

Maybe because I, and all too many Catholics I know, have started hearing the YouDon’tDeserveToLive voice louder again this spring, breaking through whatever treatment measures we had found useful. That happens. But if it’s the first time it happens after you’ve had some relief, it can provoke a faith crisis as well as a psychological one.

The pull of self-erasure can be particularly awful for people of faith, who feel the shame of not measuring up, not trusting in God enough, not being grateful enough, not being good enough. We’re likely to be more terrified when the abyss looks back if we feel the loss of God’s presence and consolation. Depressed Catholics don’t need to be reminded to beat our breasts in the Confiteor—it is always, for us, through our most grievous fault that we dare to exist. That’s not the Church’s teaching or intent. It is part of our DNA, part of how the disease manifests in this population.

There’s much more, including some advice on how to get through it. 

Sorry it’s been such a downer here lately, but the topics choose me, I don’t choose them.

I’ve bee writing more about prayer lately because that’s how I’m trying to work through it. The Jesus Prayer has been of great use to me lately, and now I have a new weapon in the arsenal: a chotki.

2015-05-20 12.33.12

This prayer rope uses knots to count off the Jesus Prayer, which some spiritual heavyweights have prayed tens of thousands of times a day. A rosary could serve the same purpose, but the rope is traditional in the Eastern Church, and I like having a new and distinct tool to use. I picked this one up in the shop next to the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia, but you can find them on Amazon.

More on mental health and depression.

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Everyday Prayer

prayer

Pray without ceasing.

Prayer can be hard. Many of us follow the forms laid out by the Church because they are a good foundation upon which to build a prayer life. Whether it’s the Liturgy of the Hours or the Rosary, we drink from a deep and pure well that can nourish our spiritual life with the wisdom of the Church and voice of God in Scripture. When we do, we join the People of God in one prayer.

Yet this discipline of prayer is like any discipline: it requires work and practice. As with a diet or exercise regimen, it can become a burden. If we put all our eggs in that basket, we can feel like failures if our discipline slips.

This why the Rule of St. Benedict emphasizes brief, frequent prayers over long, focused prayer. He says: “Prayer ought to be short and fervent, unless it happens, that one is moved by the grace of God to prolong it.”

Did you catch that last part? Longer prayer is a function of grace. Now, Benedictines certainly pray the Divine Office hours, so he’s not dismissing that. Instead, he sees the Office as a way to stand in the presence of God:

“We believe that God is everywhere present, and that His all-seeing eye beholds both the good and the bad; but there are no circumstances in which we should have such a profound and lively conviction of these truths, as while we are engaged in singing the Divine Office.”

In these deeper practices, we learn about God and dispose ourselves to His action, but prayer—the reaching out to God with heart, mind, and word—can be a much simpler thing.

The most humble yet powerful prayer is the Sign of the Cross. Body, mind, and voice all work together to proclaim the Trinity and the saving power of the crucifixion all at once.

It’s common to say “let your life become a prayer,” but that’s not quite what I mean here. Rather, we need to make prayer—short, frequent prayer—a part of our lives. Nothing big, mind you: just what the Church calls ejaculations. (Yes, I know, I know: but the Church’s understanding of the word preceded the other meaning.) Bring our lives back to God all day long with all our actions, if only just for a moment.

Say the Jesus Prayer. Make the Sign of the Cross before act. Say “God be with me” before you make a phone call. Say an Our Father at random points in the. Offer up a “Requiem aeternam” or “Lord have mercy” when you hear of a tragedy.

We all want our prayers to be outsized, deep, moving, profound. That is a worthy goal, but it should not be the ordinary way of prayer for us. The ordinary way is the little way.

I remember a video I saw years ago in a diocesan training session. It showed a woman making the Sign of the Cross over a tray of muffins as she put them in the oven. At the time I thought it looked absurd, and it’s probably not something I’d do myself, but now I see where she was coming from, and I think she was absolutely correct. She was trying to sanctify the mundane. It’s way of praying with our whole being, and composing that prayer from the simple moments of life.

We are a sacramental people. We believe God dignified flesh by taking it on Himself in the incarnation. We believe God uses matter to convey the sacred. Time, too, can become sacred, and every moment that clicks by can be sanctified for us if we turn to God in that moment and ask His blessing upon it.

Turning to frequent, short prayer throughout the day is like opening a windowshade on a bright day. The new light baths the room to reveal things formerly unseen. God is that light. The anxiety and stress of everyday life is the windowshade. Prayer is when we choose, if only for a moment, to let that light in so that we may see our life anew.

I doubt that The Muffin Lady’s Prayer was “Lord, make these the best muffins ever!” Rather, I think she was simply using her actions—in this case an act of both love and necessity in providing food for her family–as a moment to turn to God in thanks and love. She was trying to open herself to holiness by sanctifying the simple things.

“Pray without ceasing,” we are told. This doesn’t mean every person commits themselves to a life of prayer like a cloistered contemplative, but rather that each one of us is commanded to turn to God in the midst of life. We draw near to God and dwell in His presence, weaving our prayer out of the simple stuff of life, and offering up our time, our actions, our emotions, our very bodies in an act of love and devotion.

More on prayer can be found here. Simon Tugwell’s Prayer in Practice, which inspired these posts, is a little gem.

Mental Healing and the Psalms

There are many ways through the dark valleys of depression, and prayer must be one of them. The problem is that the depressive often cannot even stir to perform regular prayer. Simple tasks become a burden. Prayer routines fall by the wayside. Commitments are left undone.psalter

And with each little failure, the walls close in tighter and the sufferer sinks deeper.

Perhaps one way through the dark valley is to follow the trail laid down by our ancestors with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Psalms have within them the entire range of human emotion and experience. If the regular routine of prayer no longer works for us, if the liturgy of the hours or the rosary or whatever discipline we try to follow has become a drudgery and burden, then we have to find a new way to speak to God and, more importantly, let God speak to us.

Fifty-nine psalms—more one-third of them—have elements of Lament. It would appear, on the surface, to be utter folly for the person in the midst of a soul-crushing sorrow to enter deeper into a world of despair. That appearance is deceiving, however.

The laments are more than that. They are a dialog between man and God. They are a howl of sorrow, yes, but they are also a plea, a thanksgiving, and a sigh of hope and trust.

Psalms by category, from Verbum Bible Software

Psalms by category, from Verbum Bible Software

Perhaps we need a Depression Psalter: something to give voice to pain, speak to God, and express our hope. It could be part of our cold reboot of the soul, as we dispense with old habits, including habits of prayer, and engage cross and the desert head-on. Let me begin with Psalm 13. It opens with a question that, as so often in the psalms, is an accusation:

1 How long, O Lord? Wilt thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

You can see in the repetition of “How long” the urgency and pain of the psalmist, while parallelism builds gradually sharper accusations against the Lord. A common feature of Hebrew poetry is to say the same thing twice in different ways, which has the effect of both echoing and amplifying points.

At first, the speaker asks how long the Lord will “forget” him, suggesting that his distress is not the direct action of God, but mere neglect.

In the next line, however, God has chosen to actively “hide thy face.” God has not forgotten the speaker: God has deliberately turned away from him. These mounting accusations are a more circumspect way to accuse Yahweh for his present plight

The pain in our souls and the sorrow in our hearts is as good a depiction of depression as you’re likely to find. This is De profundis clamavi: a cry from the depths.

Finally, we have the characterization of the enemy who is exalted over us. We can read “enemy” in many ways. It could be the world, the flesh, and the devil (mundus, caro, et diabolus): the inverted Trinity that leads us into darkness. Any one of these things may be at the root of our depression: stresses of life present and past (the world), challenges from our body from illness or temptation (the flesh), or the evil one himself, who must not be discounted as the root of some cases of severe depression.

But I think it may be more useful for those who suffer from true clinical depression to see the enemy as the depression itself. It’s not unusual to give personality and even character to depression. That’s why it’s called the Black Dog. This runs the risk of placing the depression outside ourselves rather than something that springs from within, but it can also be useful for understanding and confronting the forces pulling us down. In prayer, confronting our depression as an Other, an enemy, is just one way to reach out to God and articulate our pain. It says that we are not our illness, and it will not define us, and it allows for us to plead for this enemy to be driven away.

The next section is a prayer for help. We are asking for deliverance from the enemy, in this case, our depression.

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him”;
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

The Hebrew word translated as “lighten my eyes” means to shine, dawn, or give light. It is a powerful way of asking for darkness to be driven away, but it also suggests enlightenment and spiritual wisdom. We are asking God not merely to drive away the pain, but to give wisdom to our souls so we may live better, and to bring the Light Himself to dwell within us.

And to make the stakes clear, God is warned that our very lives are at risk. Major depressive disorders are, in fact, a serious, life-threatening condition. Too many people today fail to understand this.

Again, we have the personification our of our pain as our “enemy” and our “foes.” We are pleading with God not to let them triumph.

The final section is common in Psalms. It’s a prayer of trust, hope, and gratitude for all the Lord has already given and will give:

5 But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

This is key. Trust and rejoice! Whatever bears us down, the Lord bears us up. The Lord’s love is steadfast, and He will save us. We cannot despair.

However slender that reed of hope is, we must hold onto it and not be swallowed up by the darkness. We must trust and hope in the Lord. We must never give up on Him, even when we’ve given up on ourselves. If the Psalms teach us nothing else, they have to teach us that much.

The Three Pillars of Lent

We meet again, Lent, my old foe. This time I will have you!2015-02-18 12.52.52

I joke. I love Lent, at least since I’ve learned to meet it not as my Everest to be conquered, but as 40 days in the desert with Christ.

That’s a pretty tall order to fill, and our forebears in the faith used to do it with hard Lents that saw them eating one major meal a day and giving up meat, eggs, and diary for the entire period. Indeed, it’s a practice still followed by some our separated brethren in the Eastern churches.

That option is certainly open to modern people, but it’s probably not the ideal for most of us. Life has changed significantly. For long periods of history, people only had one major meal a day anyway, with dairy and meat not always on the menu for many classes.

Does this mean we’ve gone soft?

Of course it does, but it also means that getting back to that spiritual fighting weight is a formidable task made more difficult by a simple fact of modern life: the culture is not fasting. When Christendom was ascendant, everybody observed the fast in the same way. Today, if you want to observe, say, a medieval fast, you’ll be the odd one out. Even Catholics aren’t doing it that way. This has to make it more difficult.

I’ve tried the hardcore stuff with varying levels of success and failure, and found that, for me, the road through Lent is best taken one step at a time rather than with some grand itinerary.

The point of our time in the desert is to draw nearer to Christ. There are three ways to live Lent:

  • Carrying the cross with Christ by sharing a small portion of His suffering.
  • Emulating Him in acts of charity and kindness.
  • Drawing near to Him in prayer and spending time at His feet, learning from him through Scripture and spiritual writing.

And so, this is the way I make my Lent.

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me
I observe the required fasting and abstinence, but I’ve found that giving up X or Y doesn’t really do anything for me. I make my fast day by day, choosing something each day to bypass and offering that up, in this season, for the deliverance of Middle Eastern Christians.

One day I may observe a full fast, while on another I’ll choose to forgo something I want. It works for me because it makes each item a choice and each choice is linked to an intention. “Forty days without chocolate” doesn’t work for me as well as reaching for a beer and saying, “No” to myself.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Whatever You Did to The Least of These, You Did to Me
Each day should be lived in caritas, but in Lent that charity should be more focused, more intentional, more deliberate. One kind deed a day should be a goal for every day, but in Lent, we should reach beyond and in so reaching, connect those acts to some intention. Sometimes, the most charitable thing I’m capable of on a given day is not throttling someone who richly deserves it, and that just doesn’t count.

I also don’t leave the house very much, which is common for freelancers. On those days, when an opportunity to do good doesn’t present itself, I plan to donate some money to a worthy cause.

This year, we’re planning to get the whole family out to do some works of mercy, either visiting the seniors or the soup kitchen. We are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, shelter the shelterless, bury the dead, visit the sick, instruct the ignorant, warn the sinner, counsel the doubtful, pray for the living and dead, bear wrongs patiently, forgive, and comfort.

These things, too, we should do all year round, so Lent is our chance to make it intentional, reaching beyond ourselves and our comfort zones.

To best do this, I try to live Lent every moment I can, and ask myself, “Am I doing all I’m capable of doing, or simply doing what’s comfortable and easy for me?”

Could You Not Stay Awake One Hour With Me?
The devotional and prayer parts of Lent are easiest for me, and the ones I look forward to. It’s not a burden for me to take on an extra course of spiritual reading or prayer, and thus this part of my observance has no penitential aspect.

That’s okay. The fasting and abstinence is our cross and therefore our penance. Prayer and spiritual reading is for our growth, to help us draw nearer to Christ.

Naturally, this means observing the Holy Days, praying the Station of the Cross, and making a better effort at daily prayers, however we perform them.

For me, it means adding an extra hour of explicitly spiritual (rather than historical or purely theological) reading each day. My devotional plan looks something like this:

We’ll also do the daily readings as a family.

With the exception of the Bible and the Creed meditations, I plan to rotate through the other reading with no particular agenda, simply being guided by the Spirit.

If all this seems rather loosey goosey, it is, and intentionally so.
Over the years, I’ve made hard, structured Lents both well and poorly. This year, I choose to be led through Lent by the Spirit rather than drawing a map and an agenda and charging through with grim determination. I want to be open to the action of grace, and so I’ve chosen some structured elements and some general intentions. What this will mean in practice is uncertain, since

I’ve never tried it before. It could be a complete washout, as I fall into old habits.

The best things I can do to make a good Lent is

  • Remind myself daily of the season and its purpose.
  • Leave my comfort zone and put myself on a path so the Spirit can do his work.
  • Remember that this is not a mountain to be climbed or a marathon to be won, but a long walk into Jerusalem at the side of The Lord, and the best thing I can do on that walk is accompany him, emulate him, and be taught by him.

The best things you can do in Lent is a) be present to the Lord and b) be present to your fellow man, whether that means, for you, daily mass, the rosary, and a holy hour or five minutes of silent prayer at the end of a tired day; an hour playing cards with the elderly, or simply making lunch for your kids each morning. Lent finds us where we are. We yield, we act, we pray, and in unity with the communion of saints and Christians everywhere, we hold up these things as a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

The Most Important Book of the Year is Only $5 For a Limited Time

manual-spiritual-warfare-1043105Paul Thigpen’s Manual for Spiritual Warfare is a must-have. I hate the phrase “instant classic,” partly because it’s an oxymoron, and partly because time is fickle, but I can see this one being read and handed down and treasured a hundred years from now.

Thigpen’s book is a clear-headed and faith-filled look at the devil and his works, and the tools we have to fight him. My blogmother Julie D. has a review of it here. I hope to write a more considered appraisal of it in the future.

TAN books published it in a leather-bound prayer-book format meant to be carried around, but they blew through their initial print run so fast that people are having trouble getting a copy while TAN prints more.

Because of this, the’ve reduced the price of the Kindle edition to $5 for a limited time. At that price, just buy it. You will not regret it.

Richard Rolle on the Psalms

Richard Rolle

Richard Rolle

I know I’m on break, but I wanted to share this from my recent reading of the works by the great medieval English hermit Richard Rolle. Those who pray the Hours know how true it is:

A great fullness of spiritual comfort and joy in God comes into the hearts of those who recite or devoutly intone the psalms as an act of praise to Jesus Christ. they drop sweetness in men’s souls and pour delight into their thoughts and kindle their wills with the fire of love, making them hot and burning within, and beautiful and lovely in Christ’s eyes. And those who persevere in their devotion he raises up to the life of meditation and, on many occasions, he exalts them to the melody and celebrations of heaven. The song of the psalms chases away devils, stirs up angels to help us; it drives out and destroys discontent and resentment in the soul and makes a peace between body and soul; it brings desire of heaven and contempt for earthly things. Indeed, this radiant book is a choice song in God’s presence, like a lamp brightening our life, health for a sick hearts, honey to a bitter soul, a high mark of honor among spiritual people, a voicing of private virtues, which forces down the proud to humility and makes kings bow in reverence to poor men, nurturing children with gentleness. In the psalms there is such great beauty of meaning and of medicine from the words that this book is called “a garden enclosed,” a sealed fountain, a paradise full of apples.

Richard Rolle, The English Psalter and Commentary

 

Gee, Thanks Oswald: On Distractions In Prayer


This inane quote from Oswald Chambers showed up in my Twitter feed:

Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts.

Which is just so … useless. All I could think of was this:

Chambers rails against our “individual natural lives.” But these lives, flaws and all, are what we’re given to work with. We put them in God’s hands and offer them up, but to reject them or suggest they can merely be pushed aside like a bowl of cold oatmeal is absurd.

St. Teresa

St. Teresa

Scrupulously trying to deny the wandering thoughts that occur naturally in prayer in the surest route to failure. We need to glance at them, acknowledge them, perhaps even contemplate them to understand why they are distracting us, and then gently return our minds to the task at hand. Only the most spiritually advanced can ever really find their way into the Cloud of Unknowing, which means the rest of us need to work with what we’ve got. We strive towards mastery of our thoughts in prayer through awareness and discipline, not denial.

Man is embodied soul. Our bodies, our thoughts, our individuality: these are not an unfortunate side effect of creation and the fall, but an integral part of our being. Chambers writes that we need to be “delivered” from our individuality, but this is getting things the wrong way around. We conform ourselves to God, we don’t smash ourselves apart upon Him like waves broken and dissipated on rocks.

In A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation, Martin Laird puts it this way:

The practice is not to sit there trying to have no thoughts or only certain thoughts. As St. Teresa of Avila put it centuries ago, “by trying not to think, we hopelessly stimulate the imagination…. The harder you try not to think of anything, the more aroused your mind will become and you will think even more.” Nor do we push away thoughts in an attempt to generate a dull blankness. Instead we simply bring our attention back to our practice whenever we find that our attention has been stolen. The challenge lies in its simplicity. The practice of bringing the attention back time and again creates what is called a habitus or habit, an interior momentum that gradually excavates the present moment, revealing over time the stillness that is within us all like a buried treasure.

St. Teresa also has this to say:

His Majesty wishes us to learn by ordinary means to understand ourselves and to recognize the share taken in these troubles by our wandering imagination, our nature, and the devil’s temptations, instead of laying all the blame on our souls.

And Brother Lawrence writes in the Practice of the Presence of God:

You are not the only one who is troubled with wandering thoughts. Our mind is extremely roving. But the will is mistress of all our faculties. She must recall our stray thoughts and carry them to God as their final end.

If the mind is not sufficiently controlled and disciplined at our first engaging in devotion, it contracts certain bad habits of wandering and dissipation. These are difficult to overcome. The mind can draw us, even against our will, to worldly things. I believe one remedy for this is to humbly confess our faults and beg God’s mercy and help.

I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words in prayer. Many words and long discourses are often the occasions of wandering. Hold yourself in prayer before God, like a dumb or paralytic beggar at a rich man’s gate. Let it be your business to keep your mind in the presence of the Lord. If your mind sometimes wanders and withdraws itself from Him, do not become upset. Trouble and disquiet serve rather to distract the mind than to re-collect it. The will must bring it back in tranquillity. If you persevere in this manner, God will have pity on you.

As Laird observes, we can learn from the way Jesus responded to the temptations of the Devil: with a short line of scripture. When distracted, a brief line from the Bible (I find the Jesus Prayer most effective) can short circuit the distraction and bring our thoughts back on track. The thing is not to deny the distraction–which is “Don’t think of a pink elephant” impossibility–but to cultivate techniques for coping with them when they occur.

Because they will occur, and just saying “don’t”–or “stop it!”–won’t change that.

Related:

The Anchoress: On Being Distracted While At Prayer

A Novena For Asthma Sufferers

St. Bernadette Soubirous contracted cholera as a child and afterwards suffered from asthma for the rest of her life. It almost certainly contributed to her death. Thus, St. Bernadette is a good choice as the patron saint of those suffering from asthma and other diseases of the lung.

A recent medical crisis prompted me to write the following Novena for Asthmatics, and I thought I’d share it. I don’t tend to like fussy novenas, so this one is short and sweet. Add as many thees and thous and Memorares as you see fit. bernadette4

A Novena to St. Bernadette For Asthma and Other Respiratory Ailments

St. Bernadette, you felt the struggle to breathe throughout your short life, and thus know the suffering of those who have asthma and other diseases of the lung. Our Lady gave you the gift of a vision, and from that vision burst a spring of healing water that washed away the pain of thousands. Please join us in prayer to the Blessed Mother and her Son, to bring healing and comfort to [N], so that [she/he] may breathe freely again. We ask this through the immaculate heart of the Virgin Mary, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

A Novena to Saint Edith Stein

Saint_Edith_SteinOn August 9th, 1942, Edith Stein (St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross) was gassed to death at Auschwitz along with perhaps a thousand others. This brilliant and holy woman, a Carmelite nun and convert from Judaism, was one of many Hebrew Catholics rounded up by the Nazis after the Dutch bishops protested the racist policies of Germany. Pope Pius XII had prepared a similar condemnation, but fearful that it would lead to an even larger loss of life in all areas under German control, he decided against issuing it.

I just completed this novena to St. Edith, recommended to me by Damien Fisher, and it’s powerful stuff. It follows the course of St. Edith’s journey in stark and moving detail, from her capture to her death

When we discovered the scope and scale of the Holocaust, civilization said “never again.” We didn’t reckon on those people who prowl the world outside of civilization, seeking to drag us all back into bloody barbarism. We should have known the proper response to genocide, but “never again” became, “well, maybe sometimes, as long as they’re just Christians or Africans.”

The life and death of St. Edith Stein is a witness to why that attitude must be cut from the human heart. Her novena is a prayer for our time, and as history shows us, it will, tragically, be a prayer for all times.

Prayer of Reparation for the Actions of Satanists

sacrament-of-holy-eucharistA group of Satanists has acquired the precious Eucharist and is planning to defile it in a public ceremony on September 21st. I’m not going to detail the specifics since they are easy enough to find if you so wish, and publicity is really the main point of these actions.

Desecration of the Eucharist is standard practice in Satanism, although when and how often it occurs we have no way of knowing. In this case, we do know that the Eucharist will be desecrated at a particular time and place, and we can do nothing to stop it. However, we can pray for reparation for the action and the conversion to Christ of those involved.

Acts and prayers of reparation are offered not merely for our own sins, but for the sins of the world. Observing a Holy Hour in adoration is the finest way offering reparation, during which we also may pray for those who persecute the Church.

You can find various traditional prayers of reparation on the internet. Here is one I wrote:

Lord, our hearts melt within us at the thought of our own sins and the sins of our world. We are, as the Apostle says, “by nature children of wrath,” and even those who believe in you wander far from your path at times. Please, forgive us our many sins, and give us the faith to forgive the sins of others.  Just as man wounded your body in the passion, so do we continue to wound your body in the community of believers, in the face of our neighbor, and in the Holy Eucharist. May direct contact with this medicine of mankind work some miracle on the stony hearts of those who would defile it, and convert them to the Love that never dies. Please forgive those who, through acts of desecration, sacrilege, blasphemy,  and heresy continue to wound you. You turned the wounds of your Son into the means of our salvation, and the sorrow of the cross into our eternal joy. May you accept this act of reparation, forgive those who seek to hurt you still, and convert their hatred to faith in the One who saves. We ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Begin and end with the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world  seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Related

Real Satanists Don’t Send Press Releases

Satan: A Small Skirmish Won, But the Battle Goes On

Taking the Devil Seriously