“I sympathize with you in the inertia of mind in which you find yourself on account of the illness of your dear husband. Come, then, here is your cross… carry it well, you do not lack the skill, nor counsel, nor books, nor mind. God desires also that you should not lack courage.” Bishop Camus to Louise de Marillac
Inertia of mind is the inability to progress through a series of mental steps toward a goal. The mind is cloudy and unable to focus. This in turn fosters feelings of incompetence and low self-regard. Chronic stress often triggers this inertia and if it is not addressed it can contribute to a depression episode.
Along with inertia of mind, Louise de Marillac also struggled with scruples (an obsessive-compulsive condition), and anxiety. According to Kathryn B. LaFleur, S.P. this “sensitive, anxious spirit would be with her for life,” even after the mystical experience of her “Lumiere.” Mystical experiences do not make a person holy. Courage, perseverance, and humility in dealing with problems, physical and emotional conditions, and temperaments do. Hence Bishop Camus’s wise direction.
It is lent. Let us carry our crosses with courage. Like St. Louise de Marillac we have at our disposal skill, counsel (psychological, medical, and spiritual), self-help and inspirational books, the sacraments, and the wherewithal. We only need the determination to take action on behalf of ourselves.
Today, March 15th is St. Louise de Marillac’s feast day. She is the patron Saint of social workers. St. Louise, pray for us.
Source: Louise de Marillac, A Light in the Darkness by Kathryn B. LaFleur, S.P. New City Press, 1996, pp. 36, 39. Picture donated to public domain. On Wikimedia.