Monday, December 29, 2008
I place before you the worries,
hurts and hopes of my heart.
They shrink my soul and I feel heavy and hopeless.
Darkness closes in around me.
I reach out to you, bright Lady of Hope.
Smile on me.
Smile on my loved ones and the intentions I place before you.
Your tender smile works miracles and heals,
as you did with St. Thérèse, the Little Flower.
You are my true Mother.
You show the tender mercy of God.
Smile on me, Blessed Mother,
and all will be well.
On May 13, 1883, Our Lady of the Smile, healed St. Therese of the Child Jesus as a child when she was bedridden with a mysterious illness. Some people think her illness was an emotional-mental crisis. On that day, St. Therese turned her head to a statue of the Virgin near her bed, and prayed for a cure. "Suddenly" Therese writes, "....Mary's face radiated kindness and love." Therese was healed. The statue has since been called "Our Lady of the Smile".
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
*I removed the recent posts because I want this blog to be for people's encouragement and not about me. Thank you.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
For five years I walked in darkness. Not knowing what was wrong but knowing that something was terribly wrong. I prayed to my beloved Christ for freedom. I begged him. And He let it come when my therapist said " you have OCD. "
I invite you to see your diagnosis as something liberating. You now know who is your enemy. You know what it is, and what it is not. You know the strategies to defeat it. You are no longer in the darkness of the unknown.
For me this means that when a disturbing OCD though comes now I can look at it, chuckle and say "its just OCD." Knowing it does not define me and that it will not and cannot destroy me. Praise God!
Monday, October 20, 2008
so by the end of the day I end up thinking "I am such a stupidly insecure vane fat weak sinner !"
wow, talk about low self esteem!
But voicing it in this little blog is actually helpful. When I voice it I laugh a little because it is so exaggerated and over the top. And then I can claim reality.
I am the Beloved of God and my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I will take care of my body the temple of the Holy Spirit by exercise and eating healthy. I will do this not to be "attractive" or to seek attention, but to let the beauty of my soul reflect in my body. I will not let my body become an idol. The Lord is the only God I will worship.
Claiming being the Beloved of God clears out the insecurity.
When I use words as "I will " I become empowered to change myself and no longer feel weak.
And all this help my self esteem, and because it is the Truth it brings me closer to Him.
This sounds very "Dr. Phil-ish" but it is working for me. Thought I would share. :)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
- I will recall that I am a child of God. I am one who is created out of Love. I am chosen, good, holy and have purpose...a task to perform here on Earth before I return to the Father. I deserve to be treated as a person who has value and dignity.
- I will embrace my illness or my family members illness as a friend this day looking for what it is teaching me about the mystery of God and Life.
- I will not allow the stigma of mental illness to defeat me this day. I will choose to have power over stigma by detaching myself from the stigma.
- I will talk to someone today who will encourage me to see my goodness and holiness as a child of God. Maybe we will share a prayer together for one another.
- I will look for humor and reasons to laugh and be happy. Quiet joy will be my goal.
- I will read a passage from Scripture or something from a book of devotion, inspiration or spiritual reading that will encourage me to trust and hope in the power and love of God.
- I will seek twenty minutes of solitude, silence, prayer this day. If my mind won’t quiet down, if my thoughts keep racing, I will offer that as my prayer to God. If necessary and helpful, I will listen to soothing instrumental music or inspirational/religious music to quiet me and remind me that God is present.
- I will walk outdoors marveling at a sunrise, a sunset, the song of a bird, the soothing colors of nature...the serenity of green grass, a blue sky, the softness of the pastel colored blossoms of Springtime and the peaceful waters of a river, lake or stream that ripple and flow. I will remind myself that everything in nature is a reflection of the Creator and pleases the Creator just as it is and so do I just as I am.
- I will delight in the knowledge that we are each created different because it is in our differences we make a more powerful and beautiful whole. We each reflect a different aspect of the mystery of Life and God. Individually and together we are a Masterpiece!
- In God is my hope and my joy. I will give honor, glory and praise to God knowing and trusting what God has in store for me. We do not seek or like suffering but our suffering can make us strong in many ways and more compassionate and loving to others...our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Prayer-Inspiration from Ministries for the Mentally Ill of the diocese of Chicago.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As if having depression is not enough the whether decides to mirror our low moods. The skies get gray, the trees loose their leaves, etc, etc. Sometimes for a depressed person getting out of bed is hard enough with sunrise...now take the sunrise out of the equation and it just gets harder!
what is a person with depression to do? the following things have helped me:
1) get a light for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you can find some in amazon. They can be expensive but they are worth it.
2) excercise!! you know the deal, endomorphines, body image... it is always a good thing to do!
2) make a list of things that you love about the season and remember them often. Maybe seeing your children at the pumpkin patch, the changing liturgy at Church, etc...
3) practice comtemplative prayer. The world is slowing down. Beauty is hidden under layers of cold and grey, but very much present in the cold and crisp snow, in the winter birds, in the silence of nature. Contemplate and find God in them. Approach the warmth of His heart, hidden under the layers of cold winter.
Happy Fall & Winter to all! :)
Sunday, October 5, 2008
That is one of the basic requirements of most religious orders. Yet, what does "good mental health" mean? If a person has a history of depression but has been stable for years... do they have "good mental health "? or should the person aspiring for religious life always be one of those fortunate souls that have never experienced an emotional breakdown?
I don't know the answer to this. I guess it depends on each religious order and on the individual... yet I know that wether the person can or cannot fulfill a vocation, Our Good Lord has a plan of glory for each one of us! Each person, whether sick or healthy, has a mission, a divine task to accomplish!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Lord, before the Heavenly court I renew my offering to You. My Lord and My God, I offer you myself. I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings, specially those related to my illness for the following intentions:___________. I will suffer my illness with patience, trust and in union with You, my Beloved Christ Crucified. I pray for a complete cure if it be Your Will. If not, I pray for the strenght and love to bear this Crown of Thorns in love. Amen.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I wouldn't share with God my pain in detail because I thought it was "lack of acceptance of His will." So I suffered and moaned in pain absolutely alone. Sure I would share with my therapist and spiritual director but up to a point. I did not want to seem melodramatic or seem like a "whiner."
Yet the pain kept bottling up and I cried out to God... and surprisingly His answer was "tell me everything." He wanted to know the details, he wanted me to moan in His arms. He wanted to share the deepest darkness with me.
He wants to share in your darkness. Sometimes we think that others can't handle the amount of pain we are in and we don't talk about it. Do not underestimate your therapist, family and friends...but first and foremost do not underestimate your Heavenly Father. He is Strong, He can handle all of your pain, and most importantly, if You share your pain with Him, if you give it to Him, He will fill you with His Spirit, with His Hope.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Most High Glorious God, I accept this Cross of mental illness I have received. I will not rebel but accept this as an oportunity to learn humility, to become compassionate and to offer my suffering for the intentions of Your Sacred Heart. I love You and I know that You love me and that just as we walk together to Calvary, You will guide me to the Resurrection. Amen.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Finally one day he dragged himself into a church and made an act of Trust. He told God that no matter what He had planned for Him he knew it was good because God loved Him. After that he prayed the Memorae which is an act of trust to Our Lady.
He trusted. And that opened the floodgates of Grace. In an instant he found himself free from that obsession.
We might not receive an immediate healing like Francis but we will surely immediately receive the Grace to carry our Crown of Thorns every time we choose to Trust God. Let us pray the Memorae, specially today in the feast of the Queenship of Mary!
Remember Oh Most Gracious, Virgin Mary! that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, Oh Virgin of Virgins, my Mother! To the do I come, before you I cry, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in Thy Mercy hear and answer me!Amen.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Sick & Suffering Co-workers are a group of people that offer their prayers and sufferings for the poorest of the poor and for the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's sisters. Since many times they are unable to join in activities in the service of the poor they are spiritually linked to the Order. Thus they become life-giving partners in the service of the poor.
Mental illness is a hard Crown of Thorns to bear. Yet it can be such a fountain of life, light and love. Joining a prayer group, a group like the Sick & Suffering Coworkers or simply making the point to offer your sufferings in your daily prayers is such a source of life and meaning for our pain. There is Life, Love and Light even in the Cross! let us rejoice!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
If your heart is aching with that dark desire remember that suicide is not the solution. There are other ways to make the pain stop or to make it bearable. Therapy, medicine, a good long talk with a friend, prayer, etc. You have so much to do, so many people to love! There is hope! You will see the goodness of the Lord in this life!
Union. unite yourself to the suffering Christ through prayer, unite yourself through those suffering like you or more than you and offer your sufferings for them.
Service. serve those who suffer in a similar way. This suffering if carried in a healthy way will bring you to be more open to the emotional needs of others. You will understand what it means to be confused, afraid or in the verge of despair, and you will be able to provide the same support that you have received. If you are not able to serve others through active ministry you can always pray for people offering your sufferings. That is also service!
Evangelization. If you suffer patiently, lovingly and hand in hand with Christ you will be a sign of the power of Christ over pain and suffering. People will see how you carry your crown of thorns with patience, love and prayer and be inspired. Maybe later on the Lord will call you to share it as a testimony of his Mercy.
Do not despair my Sister! Do not feel defeated my Brother! Your suffering, with Christ, has meaning and is useful! If you choose to walk this this dark Valley with Him your suffering will have great meaning, just like His!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Lets never think that because of our illness we are useless in the service of God. To the contrary! the greater or weakness the greater the space for His Grace!
The death of her husband, some her children and other family members, plus later on the trials of starting a new religious order were factors that kept the depression coming back. But she never gave into despair.
According to the articles there are some things that she did that kept her fighting against depression and helped her to be a Holy, successful, and life-filled person.
1. Trust in God. Jane placed above everything her love of God. She knew that God is a loving God and he would save her from pain or give her the strenght to bear it. She chose to trust Him. She expressed this through her life of intimate prayer and service to God.
2. Holy Friends. Jane knew she didn't have to walk that path alone. She had wonderful holy friends with which she could share her struggles. The main one was her spiritual director and friend St. Francis de Sales.
3. Service to Others. Service opens the heart to others, giving to others makes us realize that we have something to offer even if it is just a smile, a kind word, a simple gesture. Jane gave her life in service to others and in that she found meaning and relief. She was able to forget herself and serve others even when she was in profound pain.
May St. Jane de Chantal pray for us for the strenght to bear our crosses joyfully!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Christ in the Cross, in pain, immobilized and vulnerable shows us how to clearly voice our needs. He expressed them simply and clearly. In his pain, he called "I thirst."
That was it. Simple and direct.
May we, like Christ, learn to express our needs clearly and simply.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Besides working for an end to discrimination, lets not allow this to embitter our hearts. Let us like the Saints before us, FORGIVE.
Monday, August 11, 2008
There was a moment in his youth when he was surprised by blasphemous thoughts against the Virgin Mary. He loved the Virgin and these thoughts were terribly disturbing, unwanted and uncalled for. He also experienced equally disturbing angry toughts towards his own mother whom he loved deeply and who was a great woman and mother.
His solution: Calmly he increased his love to the Virgin by more prayer and increased his love for his mother with more kindness and gentleness. All this trusting in God. After a while the intrusive thoughts were dispeled, but his main focus was not on getting the thoughts to disappear. His main concern was simply to love.
Message: Loving God and Loving others always brings healing.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I also was recently diagnosed with OCD, depression and anxiety disorder...yeah... not cool...
I carried this "Crown of Thorns" for about 5 years in silence. Only recently have I found out that "it" had a name. And with that knowledge the long road of the dark unknown what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-me road finished and the lets-get-this-fixed journey began.
I've been very blessed. When I didn't even know what "this" was and I just simply thought I was completely messed up I had a Faithful Friend by my side.
Christ, since my earliest childhood, has been my Sweet Companion. My Faithful Friend, my Heart. And when this thing fell over me he became my Guardian and my Guide.
Of course I asked for a miracle. I even went to pilgrimages asking for it...but He called me down a different path.The Ordinary Path.The Ordinary Path of Healing. The path of humility, of accepting brokenness, of finally breaking the silence and talking with a priest and then to a therapist, the courage to talk to my family and friends about it.
He indeed worked a Miracle. The miracle of giving me the courage of walking down this Path. It is a path of humility, of accepting brokenness, of accepting help. Of looking at this monster in the eye and laughing out loud at it. And since it is a continuous fight against despair it is, by its very nature a Path of Joy!
And because Christ has the power to Redeem everything, this will become a tool of Compassion and Service for others. I want to share with you writings of the Saints, notes and random things that have given me courage and that might help you also.
In my weakness I will be strong!And so, I invite you to share on this walk with Christ to redeem this terrible Crown of Thorns into the Crown of Glory!