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Dealing With Spiritual Depression and Anxiety

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    This selection is from Way of the Ascetics, by Tito Colliander. This small, wonderful book is a superb guide to the spiritual life that can be read over and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2001
      This selection is from "Way of the Ascetics," by Tito Colliander. This
      small, wonderful book is a superb guide to the spiritual life that can
      be read over and over again without ever becoming "old." Today's
      selection is the chapter entitled, "On Times of Darkness," those times
      of spiritual depression and abandonment that we all experience from time
      to time.

      " The weather shifts from cloudy to clear and then back to rain; thus it
      is with human nature. One must always expect clouds to hide the sun
      sometimes. Even the saints have had their dark hours, days and weeks.
      They say then that "God has left them" in order that they may know truly
      how utterly wretched they are of themselves, without His support.
      These times of darkness, when all seems meaningless, ridiculous and
      vain, when one is beset by doubt and temptations, are inevitable. But
      even these times can be harvested for good.

      The dark days can best be conquered by following the example of St. Mary
      of Egypt. For forty-eight years she dwelt in the desert beyond Jordan,
      and when temptations befell her and memories of her former sinful life
      in Alexandria beckoned her to leave her voluntary sojourn in the desert,
      she lay on the ground, cried to God for help and did not get up until
      her heart was humbled.

      The first years were hard; she sometimes had to lie this way for many
      days; but after seventeen years came the time of rest. On such days
      stay quiet. Do not be persuaded to go out into social life or
      entertainment. Do not pity yourself, seek comfort in nothing but your
      cry to the Lord: "Haste thee, O God, to deliver me! Makes haste to help
      me, O Lord (Psalm 70:1)! I am so fast in prison that I cannot get forth
      (Psalm 88:8)," and other such appeals. You cannot expect real help from
      any other source. For the sake of chance relief do not throw away all
      your winnings. Pull the covers over your head; now your patience and
      steadfastness are being tried. If you endure the trial, thank God who
      gave you the strength. If you do not, rise up promptly, pray for mercy
      and think: I got what I deserved! For the fall itself was your
      punishment. You had relied too much on yourself, and now you see what it
      led to. You have had an experience; do not forget to give thanks."

      The "Way of the Ascetics," by Tito Colliander, can be ordered online
      from St . Nectarios bookstore in Seattle
      http://www.stnectariospress.com/default2.htm or purchased at St.
      Nektarios Bookstore in Toronto.
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