The modern Church understands that depression and other psychological disturbances that might lead a person to suicide are true illnesses, which can significantly mitigate both a person’s understanding and free will.
Moreover, even if a person’s death seems quick, with no time to repent before the end, we have no way of knowing what happens between their soul and a merciful God, who wants to bring all of His children home to Himself.
Michael J. Lichens contributes a guest post to The Catholic Gentleman: Black Dog Days: How to Deal With Depression. It’s sympathetic but not squishy, practical, realistic, and humble. Great read for anyone who is suffering through depression. An excerpt:
Prayer is very hard when you are depressed. I, for one, have nagging doubts when I go through my black dog days. God seems silent and I wonder where He is and what He’s doing. All the same, I do pray, and peace eventually comes. In one case, it took me two years of praying, but peace did come. Mother Teresa’s dark night of the soul lasted several years, but she endured. You can find strength in the same faith.
If you are praying and meditating and the words do not come, then sit in silence. Find an icon or an adoration chapel and utter the words, “You are God, I am not. Please help.” If nothing else, your mind will slow down and will shift its focus to God, who sustains all life and is the source of our strength.
I know this is hard, and sometimes you will want to give up. If you can do nothing else, try to take comfort in knowing that Christ didn’t die and rise again just to leave you alone. Find the saints who did suffer from grief and depression and ask them for help. They, more than any other, are eager to come to your aid.
Read the rest here.
PIC snake eating itself
When we are tempted to fall into chronic worry, free-falling anxiety, brooding, endless guilt, and despair, we are falling for a lie. We are turning our hearts over to a false lover, an abuser who wants to control us and make us whimper, make us pay.
There are things to worry about. There are reasons to fear, reasons to dread. These things are true, and there’s no point in telling myself, “There is nothing to be upset about.” There is plenty to be upset about, and there always will be, as long as the earth keeps rolling its tired way around the tired old sun.
But it is not the only truth. It is not the final truth. The final truth is that, after the tired old sun sets for the final time, there will be darkness for a time, and then there will be a sun that rises and never sets, never stops warming us, never stops bringing us light, and light, and more and more light. There is a lover who sees everything that we are and wants to hold us forever in His arms, never wounding, never chiding, never turning us away to spend our nights in agony and alone.
Read the rest here.
I don’t know why the crestfallen pirate voice always seems appropriate to me, but it always does.
I wish I had listened to John Paul II at the time, and I have learned my lesson.
Pia de Solenni explains why we’re praying and fasting today, and includes links to an Italian/Latin booklet so you can follow along with the Pope as he leads a prayer vigiltoday (Eastern Time 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) for peace.
Good bye, guys, good bye! Have a good day — have a good hike! It’s gonna feel so good to get to the top of that mountain! I got you those peanut packs, did you– okay, okay. Good bye, I love you!
Okay, little ones, now back home.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Give me patience, give me supernatural patience, not like yesterday. Blessed art thou among women, help L. know I love her, yesterday was so awful, but you know I love her . . .
Yes, I saw that doggie! What a big tail he had. Did you see his big tail?
Hail Mary, full of grace, intercede for D., and don’t let the other girls draw her into anything foolish, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou
I told you to put your feet down. Down means down, not on the baby.
Blessed art thou among women
I said down! Thank you.
Now and at the hour of our death. Hail Mary, C. is so little, she’s trying so hard. Be a mother to her when I’m not there. Blessed art thou among women
The zoo? That would be nice. Do you remember last time we went, with the flamingos and the giraffes? Yes, E., we all remember what the gorilla did. Yes, yes. No, that’s disgusting! All he did was — hee hee — he scratched his bottom, and then he smelled his finger. No! You stop that, E.
What was I — oh, for M. Okay, holy Mary, mother of God, he’s such a good boy, let him always be this happy, keep that biting kid away from him today, where are his parents, pray for us sinners–
Listen, she’s just a baby, so let her say what she wants to say, okay? You know what town we’re in, right? So be a big boy and let her say what she wants to say — it doesn’t matter. Oh, look, horses! That side, that side, look where I’m pointing!
That’s okay, you’ll see them next time. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Please stop doing that. You know it makes her scream. I swear, I’m gonna–
Okay, so now E. Hail Mary, full of grace, what do you think? Is he going to be okay? The Lord is with thee . . .
Hang on baby, we’re almost home. I know, “Me out, me out.” You want to get out, we’re allllmost there . . .
. . and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary–
Yes, that tree is all red! Isn’t it pretty? What other colors do you– HEY, nice driving, JERK! Why don’t you kiss my– okay, okay, we’re fine. Okay.
Mother of God, sorry, pray for us sinners, now and don’t forget forget little S., I don’t know what’s bothering her these days. Help me not to forget her when she’s quiet.
We’re almost there, guys. Who wants eggs when we get home? You want eggs! Yes, eggs, eggs! You are such a smart baby, oh you sweet baby girl!
Blessed art thou among women. Did you see little L. sleeping with her bottom up in the air? Thank you for this little one. Those beautiful eyes. Protect her. Now and at the hour of
Can you hold it until we get home? Good boy. Girls, when we get home, you let E. go first, okay? I’m serious, let him go first.
E., feet down.
Sweet baby, so many little ones hurt and no one to take care of them. That little one in the news . . . Holy Mary, mother of God, take care of my baby and all the poor babies. Pray for us sinners, pray for I., give me patience, let them know I love them, help me remember I love them, especially when I’m making supper…
Yay, we’re home! Hey, who brought library books in the car? You know you’re not supposed to. All right, all right, let’s just get inside.
Now, who wants eggs?
I don’t know what my problem is, but I have a problem with novenas. I guess I’m overly cautious about superstition — maybe I’ve seen too many of those classified ads: “Force the Sacred Heart of Jesus to grant your top wishes!” I may be an idiot, but even I know better than to drag the Holy Spirit into a pyramid scheme.
But seriously, I do understand the theology behind a novena. You’re just kind of proving to God that you really, really mean it, like the woman in Luke 18 who wouldn’t leave the judge alone, so he finally said, “[B]ecause this widow is troublesome to me, I will avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me.” My kids know this method, too, and that is how I found myself at the cash register at Walmart, shelling out genuine cash dollars for three hideous Lisa Frank lunch boxes that they really, really, really, really wanted a lot.
Recently, someone heard that my husband was out of work, and she suggested a novena to Edith Stein. I don’t know what the connection could be between Edith Stein and employment, and I couldn’t actually find a very good novena online. The one that we ended up with turned out to be kind of a sacrifice in itself: it’s so awkwardly and pretentiously written, I can’t decide if it was translated by a computer from another language, or just written by a sadist.
But my husband had been out of work for eight months, and we happened to get this tip about the novena on the day before Edith Stein’s feast day. Not wanting to annoy God, who was clearly trying to get our attention, we started the novena.
He got a job on day 2. We added a couple of other guys on, and they both got interviews — and they didn’t even get the full nine days!
So–what can I say? As Edith Stein’s old Jewish grandmother used to say,* “It couldn’t hoit!” Here’s the novena we’re saying. Maybe someone can suggest a better one?
I didn’t start with a photo of Edith Stein, because I couldn’t find the only nice one I’ve ever seen. Normally, she looks crabby and irritated–not at all someone you’d ask for help–but I once saw a photo of her playing with a baby niece or someone, and she looked relaxed and happy.
Here’s an explanation of the picture at the top, according to the CASE website:
This beautiful painting of Our Lady protecting Europe illustrates the Christian roots of Europe, and shows Our Lady surrounded by six patron saints of Europe: SS Cyril and Methodius , St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), St Benedict, St Bridget of Sweden, and St Catherine of Siena. Robert Schumann, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, looks on. St Benedict offers the monastery of Canterbury to the Blessed Virgin, and St Cyril writes of the conversion of the Slavs.
The painting is by John Armstrong, who is involved in a forthcoming celebration of religious art in Liverpool: see Vision of Hope.
(cross-posted at The Anchoress)