Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise my Helper and my God. Psalm 42:11
As nights draw in dark depression settles upon many of us to a greater or lesser degree. In some cases it is clinical depression. Treatment may include prescribing the right chemicals, vitamins and so on. For others the depression, though not clinical, is still bad enough. There is less sun, less exercise, less fresh air, less stimulus, less relaxation, less fun, less travel – and we become stale and cast down.
What can we do about this? We can’t help a slump in our spirit, but we can choose not to yield to self pity, to selfishness, and we can choose not to hide from depression in hyper activity which only builds up future trouble. We can follow the example of the Celts, and tell stories of the heroes. Then we can raise our downcast spirits in these two ways:
First, through constant praise. Some people do this by singing hymns or in tongues. As we have seen, Columba linked our praise with the eternal praise being offered to the Trinity:
By the singing of hymns eagerly ringing out
by thousands of angels rejoicing in holy dances
and by the four living creatures full of eyes with the twenty four elders
casting their crowns under the feet of the Lamb of God
the Trinity is praised in eternal three-fold exchanges.
Columba Altus prosator
Second, we can respond to depression by praying over the depressed person within us. Talk to it, and cherish it, be gentle towards it and give it a treat. Let the love of Jesus come to your depressed inner being.
Put oil or water on your face and repeat this prayer:
I will bathe my face
In the nine rays of the sun
As Mary washed her Son
In the rich fermented milk.
Now place your hand over your heart and pray:
The love that Mary gave to her one Son
May all the world give me.
The love that Jesus gave to John the Baptist
Grant that I give to whoever meets me.
Both prayers are from the Carmina Gadelica