Has you ever been “discouraged, or down”, or even depressed” ? Well, probably a better question would be “has anyone ever NOT been discouraged or down? Most of us have to battle these negative thoughts from time to time. Yet hopefully we spend most of our time victorious over them …. not always easy. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted.” (Is. 40:30) It happens to young and old.
Because of these constant challenges, we need to be ENCOURAGED on a regular basis. We need to embrace the truth in our hearts all the time. The truth does set us free and dispels the darkness. St. Paul reminds us to “think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise.” (Phil. 4:8)
St. Francis DeSales feast day was recently. I was always taken by the fact that St. John Bosco named his order the “Salesians”… after Francis DeSales, and not the “Bosconians or Bosco’s Boys.” Francis was a great ENCOURAGER…always speaking the truth.
Here are a few of his encouragements:
- “none of us can become the master of our own soul in a short time or hold it firmly in our grasp from our very first steps…we should be content to gain small victories over our most unruly passion from time to time; we must exercise forbearance toward ourselves and be patient with our own lack of perfection.”
- “in the morning prepare your soul to be at peace…. should you become disturbed, do not lose heart, but say to yourself ‘now friend, we have made a misstep, let us proceed more carefully’ … above all do not lose your courage, but be patient and watchful and ready with a spirit of compassion.”
- “God will hold you in his hand, and if he let’s you stumble, it will be only so that you realize that you would collapse entirely if he did not hold you, and thus to make you tighten your grip upon his hand.” (Francis DeSales, Magnificat, Jan. 24, 2022)
So brothers and sisters, let us not lose heart… the Lord is at hand. He will always hold us close and help us in our times of need. He will not let us be lost.
Let us “have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
And if we do this, all will be well with our souls… we will overcome the nagging discouragements and we shall renew our strength, and shall mount up with wings like eagles, to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:30-31) And this is very good news.