Mark Jaramillo posted an article on my FB page titled, “Study: Belief in an Angry God Associated with a Variety of Mental Illnesses.” Here is a sentence from the article. “We’re not saying belief caused psychiatric symptoms, but we see relationships between [them].” I was struck by that wording. The article does not say, “We’re not saying psychiatric symptoms cause a type of belief, but we see relationships between them….” We know that psychiatric symptoms influence the way we perceive others, life, and our selves. So, why would it not affect our perception of God?
“We become what we think about all day long.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, what do you think about all day long? I know what I think about and it frightens me! My mind is filled with the following (and more):
- The chores and errands that need to get done.
- The untouched yard that looks like a bomb exploded on it.
- The dog hair tumbling across the floor (golden retrievers do that).
- How my youngest teenager is spending too much time in front of assorted screens.
How I’m going to revise power point presentations, create class agendas, and write my next blog post, all while working p/t and being the “home manager.”
Who do I become with these thoughts constantly rolling around my head? Not who I want to be obviously.
Most New Year’s resolutions are broken within six weeks. When this happens those who struggle with depression can become deeply discouraged. “Whoa me. I’m incapable, incompetent, worthless, and bad” is the mantra. So, let’s prioritize resolutions in order to minimize discouragement.
“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Lk 2:19
We all make New Year’s resolutions. If we don’t it is usually because we have given up having confidence in our ability to make changes, even small ones. Is there a tad of helpless/hopelessness there? Yet, each New Year the page turns and in essence begs us to move forward. According to Sr. Melannie Svoboda, SND, New Year “is a good time to ask: What memories do I choose to keep in my heart? What lessons do I learn from them?”
“Love consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved.” —St. John of the Cross
“Do as I say, not as I do.” That was a favorite line of my mother’s. The other favorite line was, “What’s yours is mine. What’s mine is my own.”
Now of course these were jokes and they often came after she made some kind of mistake such as losing her temper or accidentally (?) taking something of my father’s in order to do some kind of chore.
Today is another Catholic Feast Day of Mary. We celebrate her entrance into heaven. As we try to emulate her devotion to her Son consider that these words of play if attributed to her actually would be said in the opposite.
“Do as I say and as I do.” What did she do? She completed her daily duties, fostered friendships, lived out marriage, was active in her religious community, and raised the Son of God. What did she say? “Do as He says.”
Her other words would go like this, “What’s mine is yours. What’s yours is God’s.” She gave her entire being to her Son and by consequence she continues to give herself to us, as mother and as role model par excellent.
Let us ask her to pray for us. She loves us as mother so I am confident she will.
Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He was a soldier who was wounded in battle and came to know Jesus through religious books he was given to read during his recuperation. He founded a Catholic religious order called, The Society of Jesus and is known for his “spiritual exercises.”
St. Ignatius apparently weathered a bout of depression early in his conversion and the following is a prayer that is attributed to him. How wonderful it would be if all of us who read this post would take the time to pray this prayer for those who struggle with any difficulty. In a sense, we would be a special community of believers supporting each other.
Sometimes it is good to simply share words of inspiration without interpretation. I found a little book filled with some of Blessed Pope John 23rd’s reflections. Here are a few. The book is titled, A Joyful Soul. Enjoy. Then maybe buy the little book and add it to your collection.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” Ps 34:5
We need not fear a depressive condition. If we fear it or what others will think of us because we have it or that treatment won’t work, we don’t work at staying healthy. Running from is not working toward. Lord, help me have courage!