Conquering Depression: Heavenly Wisdom from God Illumined Teachers
|St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood|
|St. Herman Press (1996)|
|1 copy available|
Depression, “gloom and doom,” although an ancient enemy, is especially prevalent in our modern times. Modern society is Godless. Godless not because man doesn’t need God, but because he forgets God, being too busy “developing” the earth. Forgetfulness of God causes self-indulgence and thus insensitivity to the world around man. Insensitivity causes artificial loneliness, and self-centeredness enhances emptiness in self-worship. When man estranges himself from God, the source of life, life on earth becomes meaningless, or meaningful only in the sense of self-gratification. But since the soul by its nature needs God, the loneliness becomes unbearable for the soul and produces dissatisfaction, despondency and despair.
Depression (a modern word for hopelessness) is a kind of man-induced boredom, coupled with earthly inspiration to live the way the fallen world does. This earthly inspiration causes modern man, whether with communist-utopian or “new order” idealism, to attempt to build paradise in this world. But his artificial, man-made paradise turns out not to be paradise at all for the normal human being who wants to be happy, because natural living is happiness. Rather, it is an artificial golden cage, which imprisons the human spirit; and with the aid of cybernetics, this prison becomes mental and spiritual as well as material. Modern man is caught in his golden cage like a bird, and cannot but despair for lack of spiritual freedom.
CONQUERRING DEPRESSION presents a brief life of a healer of depression of our century, New Martyr Maria of Gatchina, together with a treasury of eternal teachings from the Holy Fathers and Mothers throughout the ages who taught from personal experience on how to fly out of the cage of despair. These teachings have already helped millions of suffering people to overcome the demonic spirit of depression and to attain freedom.
Excerpt. ® Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Prayer is a remedy against sorrow and depression. –St. Nilus of Sinai, 5th Century.
We grow cold within when our heart is distracted, when it cleaves to something other than God, worrying about different things, getting angry and blaming someone–when we are discontented and pander to the flesh, wallowing in luxury and wandering thoughts. Guard against these things, and the coldness will diminish. –St. Theophan the Recluse, 1894
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. –St. John the Theologian, Revelation 21:4
In suffering, something goes on which helps the heart to receive God’s revelation. –Fr. Seraphim Rose, 1982
Remember always: if your way of life is hard and sorrowful, it is correct; but if you live in comfort, wealth and honor, and still more in carnal pleasures, you are on the road to perdition. It is quite impossible to attain serenity of mind without enduring many sorrows and depression for many years. –Fr. Confessor Ilian of Mount Athos
God loves to be a comforter. His heart is ever tender and compassionate toward human pain and suffering. When we look into the Bible we find it full of comfort from beginning to end. On every page God is trying to get men to believe that He loves them, that He is their friend, that He wants them to do good. There is not a chapter in the Scriptures, which does not in some way reveal or declare divine mercy. That is what makes the Bible such a dear and precious book to the dreary, the struggling, the disappointed, the wronged, the bereaved, and the lonely. The Bible is like a mother’s bosom, to lay one’s head upon in a time of pain and distress. –New Martyr Tsaritsa Alexandra, 1918
It is more serious to lose hope than to sin. The traitor Judas was a defeatist, inexperienced in spiritual warfare; as a result he was reduced to despair by the enemy’s onslaught, and he went and hanged himself. Peter, on the other hand, was a firm rock: although brought down by a terrible fall, yet because of his spiritual experience in spiritual warfare he was not broken by despair, but leaping up he shed bitter tears from a contrite and humiliated heart. And as soon as our enemy saw them, he recoiled as if searing flames had burned his eyes, and he took flight howling and lamenting. –St. John of Karpathos
There are three steps to overcoming despair: 1. Fervent prayer, 2. Humble down, 3. Selfless activity. –Fr. Adrian of New Diveyevo, 1979