My own experience in becoming friends with those who are devout Catholics and who truly have the absolute worst cases of PTSD ever (even registered on special vehicle licence tags) is that they love such events as giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception.
That’s right: “event.” That’s the word for this mere giving of a flower to Jesus’ good mom. Those who have been through just some hell might well scoff at that fact, but those who have been through hell itself know that what I say is true. The hell walkers know that Mary has been there, done that as she stood under the Cross when all of hell was broken out. They know that they can trust her, go to her, knowing she will understand.
In Lourdes the sickest of the deathly sick go to the grotto, and in silence they speak of their war stories with her, but in a way you might not expect. They can’t place a flower there (it’s a prearranged candle thing), but they note the flowers that grow there no matter what, drought, ice, it doesn’t matter. The flowers grow and are there to give her honor. And those who suffer place themselves in agreement with those roses. Or perhaps the roses are in agreement with those who are there…
Mary tells her own war story, also in silence, simply pointing to her risen Son, you know, the One who faced all of hell for us, who faced the worst torture hell had to offer for us. She saw it all. She brings us to Him. “Tell Him your war stories,” she says with the tenderest encouragement. We look to Jesus, drop to our knees, and say, “My Lord and my God.”