When my children were little they went to a Catholic elementary school. Every December 6th or thereabouts the children were allowed to take off one shoe after lunch and put it outside the classroom along the wall. At the end of the day they found a candy cane and a holy card of St. Nicholas.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone who was feeling depressed, discouraged, or just plain in a funk received a candy cane and perhaps a holy card too on this day and told, “Happy St. Nick’s Day!” Maybe you can do that for someone today.
I can’t give out candy canes on a blog site but here is a link to many beautiful and joyous holy cards from different parts of the world. Enjoy!
Happy St. Nick’s Day!
Picture from the St Nicholas Center (see above link)
St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), whose feast day is today, is known for his missionary zeal. It is said that in the span of just ten years, he converted 40,000 - 50,000 people, close to the estimated amount St. Paul converted. Yet, little known is that it took SIX YEARS for St. Francis to stop resisting God’s call to, in the words of his friend Ignatius of Loyola, “yield [his] life to Christ, abandon [his] own plans, and follow the Lord’s design for [his] life.” You see, Francis Xavier had earned a degree in philosophy and was set to accept a position as a church-supported scholar. Such a position assured a comfortable life. Who wants to give up life’s comforts?
Sometimes it can be difficult to be thankful when you feel miserable. That misery usually becomes worse when well meaning people remind you of what you should be thankful for. So, let me offer a prayer of gratitude for all who struggle with depression, or any other mental or emotional condition.
Are you discouraged about your spiritual progress as you struggle with depression? St. Elizabeth Ann Seton got discouraged too. “The heart down—discouraged at the constant failure in good resolution; so soon disturbed by trifles; so little interior recollection and forgetfulness of His constant presence. The reproaches of disobedience to the little ones much more applicable to myself. So many Communions and confessions with so little fruit often suggest the idea of lessening them— to fly from the fountain while in danger of dying from thirst.”
Among the Saints whose feast days are celebrated during the next few days are Margaret of Scotland, Elizabeth of Hungary, and Rose Philippine Duchesne. All three speak to people who could be supportive of those who struggle with mental or emotional conditions.
These three women bucked the social mores and beliefs of their time and served the poor, in person. How does that become a role model for those who would support people with depression, anxiety, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, autism spectrum-Asperger, schizophrenic, or attention-deficit-hyperactivity problems? Easy.
Last evening I read an article called, “The Power of NO!” The subtitle was, “How Setting Limits Sets You Free.” I must admit I needed to have this article drop into my P.O. Box. Being free has not been characteristic of my life of late. In a nutshell, everyone and everything else has come first and me second. Last week even writing a blog post prevented me from exercising. I simply ran out of time before work. We all know the research on exercise. It is one of the primary ways to reduce the risk for depression, and a host of other ills.
“There is no possible advantage to be compared with the happiness of receiving our Lord and Savior in the Holy Eucharist, who is our very life in all our sufferings. Yet we also receive Him by the communion of His cross… We may unite with Him, we draw His Spirit on us, ..
In receiving His cross we are not to look at what it is made of, that is, on the nature of our sufferings, it being a mystery. We are to look only at the interior virtue, not the exterior form. Eternal life is hidden under it, and when it comes in the shape of poverty, it conceals eternal treasures; [when it comes in the form of] shame or reproach, it is the glory of God; its afflictions carries eternal consolations.” —St. Elizabeth Ann Seton