Surviving Depression – A Marian Devotional (The Visitation)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bz6kr-d47a73

We are continuing a series of six Podcasts looking at Light and Darkness – Courage and Faith – Healing and Hope through a Marian Lens. Each episode features an event in Mary’s life and a particular image we have chosen to prayerfully reflect on together. This Podcast Series accompanies the launching of the Third Edition of my book: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach. In today’s episode we explore tips and suggestions for being a friend or family member who is close to someone suffering with depression. We talk about different ways of companioning those who are suffering. We are leaning into our Marian gaze by reflecting on the Visitation.

This is today’s image:

Fra_Angelico_-_Visitation_-_WGA0480.jpg

Image Credit: Fra Angelico (circa 1395-1455) The Visitation
Image is in the public domain.

Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach (Third Edition) available at www.paulinestore.org

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.

Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.

Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.

Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.

Become a part of the HeartWork Community, A blend of spiritual guidance, mentorship, and counseling, the HeartWork community is a place where you learn to explore, love, open and nourish your heart, your deep heart where God is dwelling within you.

All Shall Be Well

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-e3u4z-d722dd

Nothing (read not even the coronavirus pandemic) will separate me from the love of Christ. 

The words of Paul. A hymn. An affirmation. A credo. Nothing at all, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.  

Right now, under the barrage of overwhelming media coverage of the pandemic, you probably feel that nothing could separate you from COVID-19. Not government pronouncements, hand sanitizer and disinfectant, stockpiles of toilet paper rolls, not even prayer could free us from the inexorable march through the world of this pandemic. Mounting fear leads to panic. We do things that in life under normal circumstances we are sure we wouldn’t do. 

Julian of Norwich offers another way of understanding Paul’s sentiment. Julian of Norwich, known for her Revelations of Divine Love, was an English anchorite and mystic. Her 16 “showings” are related to the passion of Jesus Christ. She lived in the fourteenth century.

Julian was no stranger to suffering, which she saw as a channel through which God could draw us closer to himself. The line most popularly quoted from her writings is this: “All shall be well, all shall be well, every manner of thing shall be well.” Julian could believe that all would be well, because divine providence brings good even from sin, even from evil, even from disaster. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!

God also tells us to “shelter in place” within our hearts

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-82phi-d722b6

As we learn to stay home, we can learn to “stay home” deeply within our hearts.

So as you shelter in place, stay home, or perhaps put your own life at risk on the front lines of essential services and medical care, let these words of God bring your heart peace. “Be still, and know that I am God, exalted over nations, exalted over earth!” (Psalm 46) This pandemic is not more powerful than God who holds us all in the palm of his hand. Having “outward stillness” imposed on us through “lockdowns” gives us the opportunity to search for the tiny flickering lights of inner stillness, the relieved sighing of our exhausted hearts that we are not alone, that the darkness has never and will never overcome the divine plan at work in the world’s history. As the Abbot General of the Cistercians said in his recent letter, “A time of trial can make people harsher or more sensitive, more indifferent or more compassionate. Fundamentally, all depends on the love with which we live them out, and this above all is what Christ comes to grant us and to awaken in us with his presence. Any trial whatever comes and goes, but if we live it with love, the wound that the trial cuts into our lives will be able to remain open, like that on the Body of the Risen One, like an ever surging spring of compassion.”

God also asks us to “shelter in place”

In the United States over 70 million are in lockdown under the government’s orders. Across the world, government officials are pleading with people to stay home. We all have at least a tinge of anger at the students and adults who have crowded the beaches, some of whom having now returned to colleges and universities are testing positive for coronavirus and are infecting others.

“Stay inside!” officials are pleading. “Stop going to the beach, to the park, to the bar….”

In his letter to the Cistercian communities, the Cistercian Abbot General Fr. Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, reflects on our difficulty in heading this call to stop flinging ourselves into work or pleasure:One stops only if one is stopped. To stop oneself freely has become almost impossible in contemporary western culture, which is globalized, for that matter. One does not even really stop on vacations. Only unpleasant setbacks manage to stop us in our breathless race to take ever greater advantage of life, of time, often also of other persons. Now, however, an unpleasant setback like an epidemic has stopped almost all of us. Our projects and plans have been annihilated, until we do not know when.”

In Psalm 46 God himself asks us to “be still,” we could say “to shelter in place in the inner shrine of our heart.” This invitation is a healing word to a people constantly running, entertaining ourselves, always throwing ourselves toward some future! It is a word of meaning. A call to pull ourselves away from the superfluous to what is of true value.

Anxiety can make it hard to stop. I mean, this is a “hard stop.”  We aren’t just changing directions or occupations or locations. We’re not taking a breather before throwing ourselves anew into life as we have known it. The world has stopped. Activities, the economy, political life, trips, entertainments, sports have stopped, as well as public religious life. It is when we are forced to stop that we discover how we still run inside. That we were holding on to something that suddenly doesn’t appear to be quite as important as it was. Yet to drop the dramatic investment we’ve created in it, is to admit that we don’t know who we are without it. As long as we are running inside, in our thoughts and fears and feelings and demands, we will not stay home unless there is a guard at the door. And we certainly will not stay “home” in the inner shrine of our heart.

“Be still,” God says, “and know that I am God” (Psalm 46).

Fr. Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori reflects further:  “God asks us to keep ourselves still; he does not impose it. He wants us to stop before him and remain freely, by choice, that is, with love. He does not stop us like the police who arrest a fugitive delinquent. He wants us to stop as one stops before a beloved person, or how one stops before the tender beauty of a newborn who sleeps, or at a sunset or a work of art that fill us with wonder and silence. God asks us to stop in recognition that, for us, his presence fills the whole universe, is the most important thing in life, which nothing can exceed. To stop before God means to recognize that his presence fills the instant and thus fully satisfies our heart, in whatever circumstance and condition we find ourselves.” 

When we get to the other side of this pandemic, and we will, this newfound silence of soul in the overwhelming power of divine presence is what we should keep alive always. A sense of our frailty. Of our child-like dependence on our Creator. With the “capacity to renounce what is superfluous to safeguard what is more profound and true in us and among us, with this faith that our life is not in our hands but in the hands of God.”

As we struggle through the anxiety of not knowing the consequences of this pandemic in our own lives and in our society, we are not left alone, as a child is not left alone by a good parent. “God enters into our trials, he suffers them with us and for us, to the point of death on the Cross. Thus he reveals to us that our life, in trial as also in consolation, has an infinitely greater meaning than the resolution of the current peril. The true peril that looms over our life is not the threat of death, but the possibility of living it without meaning, of living it without being directed toward a greater fullness of life and toward a greater salvation than health.”

So as you shelter in place, stay home, or perhaps put your own life at risk on the front lines of essential services and medical care, let these words of God bring your heart peace. “Be still, and know that I am God, exalted over nations, exalted over earth!” (Psalm 46) This pandemic is not more powerful than God who holds us all in the palm of his hand. Having “outward stillness” imposed on us through “lockdowns” gives us the opportunity to search for the tiny flickering lights of inner stillness, the relieved sighing of our exhausted hearts that we are not alone, that the darkness has never and will never overcome the divine plan at work in the world’s history. “A time of trial can make people harsher or more sensitive, more indifferent or more compassionate. Fundamentally, all depends on the love with which we live them out, and this above all is what Christ comes to grant us and to awaken in us with his presence. Any trial whatever comes and goes, but if we live it with love, the wound that the trial cuts into our lives will be able to remain open, like that on the Body of the Risen One, like an ever surging spring of compassion.”

Let us find through all of this, the love that will give us meaning, so that we will delight in being still and in cherishing what is of true value.

ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE? HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 6 ways you can join me on the journey:

  1. Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST
  2. Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
  3. Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace. Enroll in the free 5-day email series introducing Reclaim Regret.
  4. Enroll in courses on Midlife, Contemplative Prayer, and a do-it-yourself downloadable Surviving Depression retreat
  5. Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

 

Surviving Depression – A Marian Devotional (The Annunciation)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-yafiq-d47a67

We are continuing a series of six Podcasts looking at Light and Darkness – Courage and Faith – Healing and Hope through a Marian Lens. Each episode features an event in Mary’s life and a particular image we have chosen to prayerfully reflect on together. This Podcast Series accompanies the launching of the Third Edition of my book: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach. In today’s episode we explore how our distorted thought patterns can make us more vulnerable to depression and together do an exercise to tack our spiraling automatic thoughts. We lean into our Marian lens by reflecting on the Annunciation.

This is today’s image:

1024px-Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_Annunciation.jpg

Image Credit: Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898 Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Image is in the public domain.
Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach (Third Edition) available at www.paulinestore.org

 

 

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.

Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.

Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.

Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.

Become a part of the HeartWork Community, A blend of spiritual guidance, mentorship, and counseling, the HeartWork community is a place where you learn to explore, love, open and nourish your heart, your deep heart where God is dwelling within you.

Peace in the Pandemic

I remember during Hurricane Katrina the story of several Vietnamese families who were trapped along with 16,000 others who had sought refuge in the Louisiana Superdome in 2015. People recall seeing them continuously praying the rosary. Peaceful. Kind. And when everyone was being evacuated they quietly held back, still praying, offering to be the last to be rescued from the refuge that had come to be described as a “hellhole.” In the midst of chaos, violence, and everyone fighting to get what they could for themselves, they have always been a testament to me of who I’d like to be if I were ever in an emergency situation.

The crisis over the worldwide spread of the coronavirus pandemic is such a crisis. As I write this I’m sitting in our Los Angeles convent. After leading one more retreat Saturday, I’ll be boarding a plane to return to Boston Sunday night. Uppermost in my mind is getting on that plane and returning home before I’m stranded here. In other words, uppermost in my mind is “me.”

As the regular pattern of my life is disturbed, I discover that I really don’t have the control over everything that could adversely affect me that I once thought I had. I also am not as selfless and giving as I once thought I was. Fear does funny things to us.

This virus peels back the self-protective layers we’ve put on to hide our inability to protect ourselves at all. To protect ourselves from each other. From the weather. From accidents. From financial fall-out. From a virus that started its devastating march through the world from within a little-known city of China.

Wild fears stoked by continuous headline news make it even more difficult to find the ground of faith and the fire of love that burns within our souls as followers of Christ baptized into his death and risen with him.

This past couple of days I’ve been seeking a place of silence in the storm. An inner heart-space that is deeper than the thoughts and feelings that are swirling in my mind these days. A place where I could immerse myself in Christ, in his way of living the pandemic, in his absolute promise to be with us. A place where I could surrender everything into the hands of the Father.  I’d like to share with you a meditation I’ve been using that you may find helpful.

 

 

Below is a prayer of Pope Francis that we can say in union with the Church:

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Translation done by Catholic News Service of the prayer Pope Francis recited by video March 11 for a special Mass and act of prayer asking Mary to protect Italy and the world during of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

Lockdown – There can always be a rebirth of love

I found this on my Facebook page. It reminded me of a video I saw yesterday of a neighborhood in Italy where people were standing on the balconies of their apartments, singing together, waving, laughing, enjoying the glory of the silent streets, the relaxed neighborhood, and the happiness of creating music together.

Lockdown
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.
–  Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th, 2020

Surviving Depression – A Marian Devotional (Introduction)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-564h7-d47a55

We are starting a series of six Podcasts looking at Light and Darkness – Courage and Faith – Healing and Hope through a Marian Lens. Each episode features an event in Mary’s life and a particular image we have chosen to prayerfully reflect on together. This Podcast Series accompanies the launching of the Third Edition of my book: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach. Today’s episode is an introduction to depression and an introduction to our Marian Devotional gaze.

This is Today’s Image

 1280px-1__Ugolino_di_Nerio__The_Deposition_1324-25__London_NG.jpg

Image Credit: Ugolino di Nerio [Public domain]  1280-1330

Image is in the public domain.
Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach (Third Edition) available at www.paulinestore.org.

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.

Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.

Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.

Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.

Become a part of the HeartWork Community, A blend of spiritual guidance, mentorship, and counseling, the HeartWork community is a place where you learn to explore, love, open and nourish your heart, your deep heart where God is dwelling within you.