And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, “The old is good.” — Luke 5:38-39
Today is the feast day of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, a woman of great yet simple faith who had unwavering trust in God throughout her long and often difficult life. That life began with a call to do a difficult thing, work with the maggot infested, dying people left in the streets of Calcutta. Her old life was pleasant to say the least, and she lived that life for 20 yrs. The important thing of course is that she said yes to the call and then persevered in the sufferings but also the joy she found when she forgot herself and her sufferings.
Such a woman can teach us much about living with a mental condition.
Mental illness, be that schizophrenia, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or clinical depression can cause much anguish and fear. St. Teresa suffered great internal anguish during much of her life but unlike so many of us she was never really afraid. She grieved. She thought herself unworthy and rejected by God whom she loved above all else. She even asked spiritual advisers for guidance concerning her inner state. But she did not fear.
That is the lesson.
No one needs to fear mental or emotional difficulties. They are simply one of the many sufferings of life to be faced, accepted, and reckoned with. Yes, they can cause great anguish, doubt, and pain. Yes, they can cause one to become a target for prejudicial humor or gossip. Yes, they can make one become an object of suspicion and yes; they can make a person wary of the future. After all, one never knows when the next episode might strike. But believing by choice that God’s love will and does prevail can take away all fear.
“Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”–St. Teresa of Calcutta
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