Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to Combat Feelings of Defeat and Despair

I went to Mass this morning feeling oh, so hypocritical, frustrated, aggravated, discouraged, and distraught.

I was disturbed in heart, mind, and soul.

Beneath my Sunday best, my mind was consumed with the sins and faults of those closest to me and how insufficient I was as a parent and how inferior I felt to the seemingly easy success of others.

I had looked a little too much at Facebook and those bigger-than-life blogs I tell myself not to view. My wicked thoughts as I climbed out of my vehicle this morning were, "Some people live such charmed lives."

I was anything but Advent-ready and had definitely let my eyes wander away from my own salvation.

How I enter this Advent season and how I observe this holy season will not matter or suffice if I take my eyes off my own salvation. Even focusing upon the salvation of others in my life can lure my eyes into a dark abyss; a place of hypocrisy, frustration, aggravation, and discouragment.
And that is where the evil one wants us during this hushed joyful time. He wants to bring us so low that we fail to see the distant star and the gift of hope it illuminates.
So what do we do to combat this feeling of defeat and despair?
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, my Magnificat gave me this answer:
"All our efforts and resolutions to grow in divine love, if made outside the Immaculate Heart of Mary, are always tainted with pride, vanity, or selfishness.... Because of the consequences of original sin, these resolutions still imply a certain compromise with evil, a compromise that is perhaps unacknowledged, very subtle and very hidden, yet real. Hence the break with sin is not complete; we still have some mud on us! The initial impulse is thus somewhat contaminated, and often for this very reason, it will not last. It will come to nothing. On the surface everything appeared splendid, very pure and beautiful, but there was a very hidden 'crack,' something binding us to ourselves and to our pride. ... If our resolutions to grow in love are made voluntarily with Mary, by relying on her Immaculate Heart and by entrusting them to her, they will then have an absolutely divine purity; they will be truly efficacious."
~ Fr. Philippe, Dominican priest

This is what I planned to do...something I started to do...something I wanted to do back in June of this year. I'm dusting off my copy of Fr. Gaitley's 33 Days to Morning Glory and will just offer it all back up.

It's nice to know that when we're exhausted and discouraged we can always turn to God's mother, our mother, and "rely on her...entrust our concerns to her" and go on about our business knowing our cares and concerns have been placed in hands more divine than our own.


  1. Cay, I wish I knew how to say what I want to say. We do grieve when our children don't follow the way we tried to lay out for them & that grief is very real, no matter what anyone can say, so no words from me or anyone else can take that away. But please know that when you look around you at other families, it's unlikely that all of them have no sorrows or concerns about their young adult children. Also, we raise our children for God, and for love of our children. I believe we need to continue to entrust them to God, & to just keep on loving them. Love grieves, but love also finds the good in each person and focuses on that. At least that's my opinion. Oh, and I loved your last sentence. God bless. MM

  2. Thanks for this, and for pointing me towards it. I think we need a big talk. I know I need one! Can we pick a time? I'll leave my house and find a corner table at Panera and call you. I mean it. I really would love to hear your voice.

  3. Elizabeth,
    I would love that. I believe I'm free on Friday. :)


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