My becoming a priest, it turned out, was a mixed blessing. While ordination empowered me so that I could eventually face having been abused by a parish priest and stand up to the Catholic hierarchy, it did not “cure” me. Nothing really did – not years of therapy and support groups, not outspoken activism, not historical research, not writing novels, and nor even an attempt at marriage.
Nor was getting free of the Roman Catholic Church through a voluntary excommunication as liberating as I thought it would be. Of course, I was worried that someday I could do to some innocent what had been done to me. But I was even more terrified that if I ever let the mask slip, others could see my inner brokenness and the ugliness dwelling there. So throughout it all, I remained isolated and afraid.
And in pain. Not just emotional, but physical. In particular, I was tormented by a chronic soreness in the back of my neck. My nape was armored, hard as a rock. Massage was useless against it, heating pads, even muscle relaxants didn’t help. It was somehow connected with my mental state, too, as it became even more rigid when I was in the throes of some memory during recovery, and even after. For there was a constant feeling of oppression that surrounded me day and night.
As time wore on, the isolation grew worse, and so did the torment, interior and exterior. Finally, on September 26, 2016, while taking a shower, I’d reached my limit. And so there, with hot water running uselessly down my back, I prayed. “God,” I admitted, “I can’t stand it any more. Remove this curse, even if you must take my life. I give it all to you.”
And then it happened. Without a sound, the Spirit effortlessly moved. Suddenly the pain was gone. It was as if something had been removed from my back.
I turned around. There on the shower floor between me and the drain, stood a huge black spider. I had never seen such an ugly monster. It was the size of a silver dollar, as black as the darkest night, with thick legs unlike a Black Widow. And it was headed right towards me.
So of course, I reacted as anyone would – I totally freaked out. Turning the taps on full, I flushed it down the drain, and covered it with a towel, and leapt out of the stall. It was gone.
Thank God, it has never been back. And so was the darkness in my mind, replaced by the most sublime gratitude a human being could feel. Christ freed me with the gentlest touch. There was no elaborate rite of exorcism needed, no ordeal, no ministers or priests. Just the total surrender of a soul past desperation. Which is not as easy as it sounds!
Now, I know that the damned creature was probably not a supernatural entity in itself. Just an unlucky arachnid, likely washed out of the overflow drain at precisely the wrong moment. But synchronicity is everything.
During my abuse, my perp, who was not only a pervert but I believe a dedicated Satanist, performed some kind of “black baptism” on me. While invoking a she-demon I will not name here, he grabbed me by the nape of my neck and shoved my head into a black bowl he used for scrying. I had long recalled the event, but I never associated it with the pain.
Whether the demon on my back was purely psychological or a supernatural entity, I do not know. But the oppression was undeniably real, and so has been the relief. Whatever that spider was, I have no doubt I finally got my miracle. Sure, I’m still crazy, and likely always will be but I finally have an access to the divine that I lost with my innocence. I’m struggling months later to truly reform my life on a more firm and positive basis now that I’m no longer wrestling with shadows in the dark.
Anyway, that’s why this blog is no longer “Renegade Catholic” but the “Gleaners Chapel”.
Praise God for his great mercy!