Gaudete! Rejoice! The theme of this Sunday is Joy. Reflecting on this made me think of the many people who find this season particularly difficult and sad, so much so that there is even an increase in people taking their own lives.
I used to think that this was because people were alone, and they just needed someone to reach out. After experiencing depression myself, however, I think it is more the disconnect someone suffering from depression or loss feels with the joy of the world and others around them.
Being on the receiving end of “just cheer up,” I know how futile that approach is. When people are despairing, they can’t see the light – despair comes from the Latin despero without hope. I remember at my darkest feeling not just that if I died it wouldn’t matter, but even worse that it might be better for everyone.
Maybe the best we can do to help our brothers and sisters is to let them know that we love them – that we can’t imagine the world without them. Mother Teresa said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” I pray that we can be a glimmer of light and hope for those in despair, to reflect to them the love, light and comfort of our Lord.
Sister Joan Marie Stelman, OSB, senior vice president, Mission Integration