The pull of self-erasure can be particularly awful for people of faith, who feel the shame of not measuring up, not trusting in God enough, not being grateful enough, not being good enough. We’re likely to be more terrified when the abyss looks back if we feel the loss of God’s presence and consolation. Depressed Catholics don’t need to be reminded to beat our breasts in the Confiteor—it is always, for us, through our most grievous fault that we dare to existThis was timely for me because earlier in the day, while mowing the north side yard of my house, upon turning the corner into our backyard I saw the statue of St Thérèse that belonged to my friend Casey, who took his own life last summer. I received the statue from Casey's Mom a few days after his memorial service last July, but waited until St Thérèse's feast to place it in the garden, after I prayed her novena (see "Keeping a promise on the Memorial St Thérèse").
Upon spying the statue, which I put in our garden on I began pleading with our Blessed Mother and the Little Flower for him, that, despite his manner of death, he might find the health and wholeness he so desperately wanted and just could not find. He tried.
For anyone who suffers in this way, I can't recommend highly enough Catholic Guide to Depression.
I am grateful that I have learned that whenever I turn in on myself, by grace and cooperating with God's grace, usually with the help of friends, I am able to turn to Jesus. He reassures me that He loves me regardless of anything I have done or failed to do. Time and again His love slays my inner Pharisee, silences the sometimes non-stop voice of my accuser. One of the meanings of the Hebrew word "satan" is "accuser." Jesus acquits me, wraps me in the cloak of His love and mercy, which makes the Eucharist indispensable for me. Because I know several amazing priests, I also find the Sacrament of Penance to often be a significant source of strength and reassurance.
All of this is why Kari Jobe's "I Am Not Alone" is our Friday traditio: