Anyone who has struggled with depression and comes through it to a place of recovery knows that depression clouds one’s vision. Wrongs in life and personal sins are magnified. The beauty of nature and the realization that we are children of God are elusive. When this happens we often become more and more introspective and negative. We become irritable just as Tobit did in yesterday’s reading (Tobit 2:9-14). Finally, the emotional pain can become so intense we ask God for death or are tempted to make that happen ourselves as Sarah did in today’s first reading (Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17).
Tobit and Sarah’s ultimate choice as they agonized are instructive. They both chose to pray. More importantly, they prayed honestly. Tobit begs God to strike him down. Sarah, in an act of faith, blesses God even amid her horrible predicament. Some might think Tobit prayed wrongly in comparison to Sarah but that’s not so. He prayed honestly, distorted perspective and all. The important thing is that both he and Sarah put themselves in God’s hands. God heard and healed them both.
Even if your thoughts and emotions are distorted from depression or other mental illnesses, be confident that there is no bad way to pray. Simply speak your heart. Then put yourself in God’s hands. He will heal you if you are open to accepting His healing. That may mean recovery from your illness or a new-found ability to deal with it. It may mean you are graced with the courage to seek treatment or the fortitude to persevere. It may mean that hope infuses your heart even as you struggle, much like Mary experienced as she agonized at the foot of her Son’s cross. She was not relieved of her pain. She walked through it.
“…draw near the shore, keeping our will firmly in God… who is our sure port.” -St. Jane Frances de Chantal
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