St. Francis de Sales had much to say about getting out of a depressed mood.
Often when we are feeling down, it’s tough to pop out of it.Besides seeking proper medical guidance when necessary, sometimes all we need is to seek the advice of the saints and see how they handled depression.
St. Francis de Sales wrote much about depression in his Introduction to the Devout Life, and had several specific remedies that he thought useful to combat it.
The first remedy he suggests is religious music.
Make use of hymns and spiritual songs; they have often frustrated the Evil One in his operations, as was the case when the evil spirit which possessed Saul was driven forth by music and psalmody.
Secondly, he suggests distracting ourselves with activity to get our mind off whatever it is that is plaguing us.
It is well also to occupy yourself in external works, and that with as much variety as may lead us to divert the mind from the subject which oppresses it, and to cheer and kindle it, for depression generally makes us dry and cold.
Third, St. Francis de Sales recommends praying frequently to Jesus crucified.
Use external acts of fervor, even though they are tasteless at the time; embrace your crucifix, clasp it to your breast, kiss the Feet and Hands of your Dear Lord, raise hands and eyes to Heaven, and cry out to God in loving, trustful aspirations: “My Beloved is mine, and I am His. A bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved, He shall lie within my breast. Mine eyes long sore for your Word, O when will you comfort me! O Jesus, be my Savior, and my soul shall live. Who shall separate me from the Love of Christ?”
Last of all, entrust your feelings to a spiritual director.
Lay bare all the feelings, thoughts and longings which are the result of your depression to your confessor or director, in all humility and faithfulness; seek the society of spiritually-minded people, and frequent such as far as possible while you are suffering.
Above all, struggle against low moods and don’t be resigned to them. Seek treatment for depression that interferes with your daily life and relationships. Offer up the struggle as part of joining your sufferings with those of Jesus.
God desires our peace of soul, and if we turn to him and seek the help we need, God will answer in his way.
Be at Peace
Small Yellow Cross
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and
put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
Blessed Virgin Mary
O Blessed Virgin, dear mother of mine, I salute you, and revere you with all my heart. Mother of Mercy, pray for me. Queen of Heaven, I commend my soul to you. O my tender Mother, obtain that I may be loved by your Son. Sweet hope with Jesus, sweet refuge of sinners, I throw myself at your feet. Cause me to experience the effect of the power which you possess with the Holy Trinity, O glorious Virgin Mary. Amen
Say not, merciful Virgin, that you cannot help me; for your beloved Son has given you all power in heaven and on earth. Say not that you ought not assist me, for you are the mother of all the poor children of Adam, and mine in particular. Since then, merciful Virgin, you are my mother and you are all-powerful, what excuse can you offer if you do not lend your assistance? See. my mother, see, you are obliged to grant me what I ask, and to yield to my entreaties.
An Act of Abandonment
Small Yellow Cross
O my God, I thank you and I praise
you for accomplishing your holy
and all-lovable will without any regard for mine.
With my whole heart,
in spite of my heart,
do I receive this cross I feared so much!
It is the cross of Your choice,
the cross of Your love.
I venerate it;
nor for anything in the world
would I wish that it had not come,
since You willed it.
I keep it with gratitude and with joy,
as I do everything that comes from Your hand;
and I shall strive to carry it without letting it drag,
with all the respect
and all the affection which Your works deserve. Amen.
Direction of Intention
My God, I give you this day. I offer you, now, all of the good that I shall do and I promise to accept, for love of you, all of the difficulty that I shall meet. Help me to conduct myself during this day in a manner pleasing to you. Amen.
Confidence in God
It is good to mistrust ourselves, but how would that advantage us were we not to throw all our confidence on God, and to wait on His mercy? If you feel no such confidence, cease not on that account from making these acts and from saying to Our Lord: “Yet, O Lord, though I have no feeling of confidence in You, nevertheless, I know that You are my God, that I am all Yours, and that I have no hope but in Your goodness; so, I abandon myself entirely into Your Hands.” It is always in our power to make these acts; although we have difficulty in performing them, still there is no impossibility. Thus we testify faithfulness to our Lord.
The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
(By St Francis de Sales)
… St Francis de Sales, Pray for Us …