This morning I started my day by reading the daily readings. One of the things I love about our Holy Mother Church is the thematic journey she takes us on with the daily readings. It is always a great experience. When I finished the readings I found myself dwelling on the idea of depression and its impact on our lives.
The first reading in Isaiah actually comes from what is commonly called the Book of Consolation. The Prophet is offering comfort to a defeated people who remain in captivity. They are a people steeped in a sense of failure, brokenness and confusion.
In the second reading in 1 Corinthians, Paul’s discussion is on the role of God’s ministers and how you should regard them. However, in doing so Paul gives us some amazing insight into self-judgement. In the necessary perspective Paul ascribes you can easily connect the value of such insight to anyone who would call themselves a servant of Christ. As such, we as members of the body of Christ should accept those words as essential wisdom.
Finally, we find the in the Gospel of Mathew opening with Jesus echoing Deuteronomy 6:5 (those who belong to the Lord with their whole being. A divided heart is not a heart that belongs to God.) The reading goes on to espouse life’s priorities and Jesus’ teachings about the conduct of those who follow God wholeheartedly and so share in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Depression has at it’s heart self-judgement. By aligning ourselves and our sense of value to the things of this world – the things of man – we embrace our potential for self-judgement. In doing so we will always fall within a spectrum of potential outcomes. Where you fall versus the range that is the potential is always a measure “against” where you are in the spectrum. Therefore you will always fall short of someone else. It is an absolute truth.
To free yourself of self-judgement you have to be able to forgive yourself. This is how depression can become a doorway to concupiscence. Why not sin if you are a failure anyway? How often do you find yourself sinning when your constitution is weak versus when it is strong? How often do you find yourself continuing to live with sin as a part of your life because you cannot find the strength to forgive yourself versus accepting God’s forgiveness.
A Psychiatrist friend of mind regularly repeats the mantra Hurt People Hurt People. Victims beget victims; its a cycle. Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic fame regularly reminds us that God wants us to be the best versions of ourselves. You ever wonder why that is? Hatred of others actually starts from a hatred of self. As creatures when we act out against someone we do it to bring them low. We make ourselves feel better by minimizing those we envy, fear, or despise. You can’t truly love another person until you learn to love yourself.
Jesus’ mantra: Loved people love people.
In living out our call to holiness we seek opportunities for Christ to live through us in the fulfillment of his ministry here on earth. In order to do that we have to be free to love. To be free to love we must love ourselves through the appreciation for the love God has for us. Appreciation for the love God has for us comes through following the wisdom of today’s message from Jesus, Paul and the Prophet Isaiah; discard the man ascribed values we give earthly things and where we stand in relation to those things. Don’t worry about how others see you, worry about how God sees you. By doing so, you may actually help others see God.
Or as Father said in his homily this morning – Don’t worry, be happy.
Another great read on a similar thought is right here with the YBiC blog history. Check out: