St. Teresa of Avila’s word to the depressed
October 15th is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. Most if not all of the posts written about her tend to focus on her mystical experiences. I want to focus on the Saint who had much common sense and kept both feet firmly on the ground. After all, she was the Saint that told the depressed sisters under her charge to go out for a walk rather than sit in chapel meditating –likely on their sufferings.
Here are some words of St. Teresa of Avila. I took the liberty to apply her wisdom to those struggling with depression.
When we think depressingly all of life can seem like one long unremitting painful day and we can easily fall into the trap of thinking depression is our life. We say things like, “I will always feel this way,” “I’ll never get well,” and “I am destined to be lonely.” St. Teresa of Avila would tell you, “Pain is never permanent.”
When we think depressively we tend to beat ourselves up over real and imagined mistakes, sins. St. Teresa of Avila’s comment to you would be, “To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.” How’s that for turning a negative to a positive.
When we think depressively we tend to want to escape to new places, and new situations. We forget that God is wherever we happen to be NOW and speaks to us regardless of whether we are happy or unhappy with the way our lives are going. St. Teresa of Avila would remind you, “All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.”
When we can’t concentrate or form thoughts because we are depressed and so think we don’t have it in us to pray, Teresa of Avila would say, “Prayer is an act of love, words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the WILL to love.”
Here is a brief biography of St. Theresa of Avila. It is my favorite brief biography. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=208
We need to cast all of our care on God in order to have inner peace from depression or anything else that oppresses us. This works better than going out for a walk. We need to be anxious for nothing if we are suffering instead of meditating on the suffering. This opens us up to grace. See Philippians 4:6-7; 1Peter 5:5-7; Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 6:25-34, 11:28-30; Psalms 37:7, 55:22; Isaiah 26:3-4, 30:15, 55:6-9; John 6:63; Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 6:13, 8:28; and James 4:6-10.