It is relatively easy to make others laugh.
Somewhat more challenging to make ourselves
laugh! This man entered into the doctor's
office in Florence, Italy. He was filled
with anxiety and exhausted from lack of sleep.
The doctor examined him and concluding that
his patient just needed a good time, he suggested
going to a circus in town and watch its star
performer, a clown named Grimaldi. Night
after night he had the people rolling in
their seats. "You must go and see him,"
the doctor advised. "Grimaldi is the
world's funniest clown. He'll make you laugh
and cure your sadness." "I am afraid
I cannot do that", answered the patient.
"This man cannot really help me. You
see, I am Grimaldi!"
Depression is always near us. It disrupts
the lives of 30 to 40 million Americans
it has been called the "common
of mental disorders. It debilitates
David Feherty was watching TV, a near
bottle of whisky in hand when his 6
old daughter changed his life. "She
actually climbed up in my lap and said,
you need another bottle'." Devastated,
he sought help for his drinking and
diagnosed with depression. "Half
what makes you feel better is having
to talk to, someone who does not think
are irrevocably broken." David
sober one year. Bernanos says that
hope one must go down to the abyss
Depression is basically an illness
of energy. Somewhere the energy is
And it is this blocking of the spirit
causes all kinds of anguish, all sorts
elements in one's interior that must
The danger is to hide behind the television,
to take refuge in alcohol, in drugs,
for something new instead of looking
Gerald Sittser had no easy answers
wrote about the loss of his wife, mother,
and 4-year-old daughter from a head-on
with a drunken driver. In A Grace Disguised:
How the Soul Grows Through Loss, Sittser
describes his trials of panic, anger,
Those who suffer such loss run the
"the gradual destruction of the
as guilt, regret, bitterness, hatred,
and despair threaten to devour it,
Christians however have another option
the possibility of embracing loss in
light of Christ's passion and resurrection.
"The sovereign God," he writes,
"who is in control of everything,
the same God who has experienced the
I live with every day. No matter how
the pit into which I descend, I keep
God there. He is not aloof from my
but draws near to me when I suffer.
vulnerable to pain, quick to shed tears,
and acquainted with grief."
The Bible does not use the word "depression,"
but it describes people who were down
the dumps. Taunted by Queen Jezebel,
prophet Elijah "was afraid and
for his life, going to Beer-sheba of
He left his servant there and went
journey into the desert, until he came
a broom tree and sat beneath it. He
for death: 'This is enough, O LORD!
my life, for I am no better than my
David expresses himself so in psalm
am troubled, I am bowed down greatly;
mourning all the day long. …I groan
of the turmoil of my heart".
How can I get out of the pit? Jean
who founded L'Arche Community in 1964
France - it provides group homes and
support for mentally disabled people
unequivocally that though medicine
people and drugs can lessen anxieties,
real therapy starts when we learn to
our frail human condition. "Do
to discover what it means to be human?
human being was born little and will
little. Are we willing to accept our
as it really is?"
But to do this, I need help. I need
"Just as despair can come to one
from other human beings, hope, too,
given to one only by other human beings."
Every adversity, every failure, every
carries with it the seed of a greater
It has the potential to open our eyes
above all, our hearts. Our weakest
is when we give up!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright