The Cure for Anxiety
May 13, 2022 (readings)
- Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
- Maribeth Harper
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for these beautiful words. You know how often my heart is troubled and I come to you in these moments of prayer for consolation. Increase my faith.
Don’t Be Troubled: We live in an anxiety-ridden society. To combat the stress, experts recommend exercise, yoga, vitamins, solitude…there are even courses on happiness at Harvard University with long waiting lists. Yet, Our Lord tells us very clearly, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He gives us the remedy for anxiety in the very next line of Scripture. “Have faith.” According to the Catechism 150, “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed.” There are antidotes for anxiety, but how do we grow in faith? We were given the seeds of faith at our Baptism. Just as we grow from toddlerhood to adulthood, we must nurture our faith from its nascent origins to mature spirituality. We do this by asking the Lord every day to increase our faith, reading and studying to continually deepen our understanding of Christ, praying daily, and availing ourselves of the sacraments.
There Are Many Dwelling Places: The central tenet of our faith is the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and won for us eternal life. In these lines of Scripture, Jesus promised that he would be preparing a place in Heaven for each of us, “so that where I am you also may be.” When we meditate on these words of Jesus and allow our hearts and minds to dwell on the things of Heaven, we are fostering a “holy habit of contentment,” according to author Linda Dillow (Calm My Anxious Heart, p. 3). We are letting go of worry in favor of joyfully anticipating union with the person of Jesus one day.
Jesus Is the Way: God blessed St. Thomas for asking the question that prompted Jesus to proclaim, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” By following the Commandments, and the tenets of the Church, we are following Jesus, the way. When we exert ourselves to study and inquire so that we can learn about the faith, we are seeking Jesus, the truth. When we beg for grace in our prayer, avail ourselves of the sacraments, and foster an eternal perspective, reflecting often on Heaven, we are acknowledging that Jesus is the life.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, how can my heart be troubled when you promise so clearly that you are preparing a place for me in Heaven? You are truly the way, truth, and life, and its distractions and sufferings that deflect my attention from you. Help me to be still and know that you are God (Psalm 46:10) in my prayer, and to be attentive to you during my day, so that my faith may grow rock solid.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do some spiritual reading to deepen my understanding of the faith.
For Further Reflection: Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.
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