Within this past year, I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy & cataplexy. If you’re familiar with these diseases, you know that it is a large cross to carry. I’m still trying to figure out how to carry it and it looks pretty awkward. For those of you who do not know, narcolepsy and cataplexy have a variety of symptoms. Narcolepsy symptoms include; excessive daytime sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and disrupted night’s sleep. Cataplexy is a separate symptom of narcolepsy; people may have narcolepsy with or without cataplexy. Cataplexy is when a person experiences an intense emotion (laughter, anger, shock) and the muscles in their body give out. Their body is going into REM, but their mind is still conscious and aware, they just do not have control and become paralyzed at that moment. It can last for a few seconds up to a few minutes.
You might be thinking, okay this is not a medical blog, what is your point? My point is that sometimes we have certain parts of us or certain crosses we must carry for life. Some of us can let those crosses define us and become our identity.
I love sharing about my new cross and all the ways it is changing my future. I try to look at it positively and as a means of sanctification. Some may say that I’m a “narcoleptic”. Yes, technically that is true, but I’m much more than that.
In Today’s Readings, God has a large portion of truth to proclaim to us today. He proclaims our true identity. My identity is being His dear child of light. Your identity is being His dear child of light. Everything else is just minor details. As God’s children, we must always protect our hearts and minds from all things that lead us away from our Father. The First Reading explains what impurity, greed, disobedience, and immortality cannot be a part of our light. There is no place for things of darkness anymore, He has saved us from the darkness and brought us into His light.
The Gospel today soothes my weary narcoleptic heart. Jesus doesn’t just tell us our identity as His children of light, He shows us and moves us into that light. The woman that has been crippled for eighteen years had probably identified herself by her disability. After so many years of physical pain and hurt, it would be difficult not to. Jesus sees His daughter of light. He calls out to her and frees her from her disability, He lays His hands on her and she is healed. He sees His child. He tends to His child. He proclaims our identity as His children of light. He did not look at her and identify her by her sickness, but by the core of who she is.
I’m not sure how you identify yourself. Maybe if someone asked you to describe your identity you’d list off qualities and roles in your life. You may start with your vocation, priest, mother, father, or single. You may go to the title of your position in ministry or work; pastor, youth minister, teacher, or student. You may have a cross of illness and say; diabetic, narcoleptic, addict, etc. Today’s Word reminds us that these are all just details. We must remember who we are, His beloved children of light. Live in the light, live in the foundation of this relationship of love with your perfect Father. He cares, protects, and guides His children always. Be at peace, we are no longer in darkness. My friends, we are now in the light. Let’s live out our identity. Let us live as children of light.
Briana is a Catholic Doctrine teacher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Cleveland, OH. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH and is excited to use these skills to bring her students closer to Christ and His Church. “My soul has been refined and I can raise my head like a flower after a storm.” -St. Therese