What To Do When Anxiety is Strong

I was listening to EWTN Radio yesterday and a young, 12 year old girl called in. She said she had suffered from depression and anxiety for years. There is much to say regarding suffering, depression and anxiety but I thought this talk from Friar Anthony was good to keep in mind whenever the attacks are strong. Just grip tight to the Lord.

I remember reading that Saint Teresa of Calcutta said that anytime she had doubts or faced spiritual dryness she would “cling to Christ”. Friar Anthony echoes this. All words below are his (my bold):

Finally the habit of prayer – the source of divine help in every kind of assault. Well when you’re being assaulted in grave temptation obviously it doesn’t feel like prayer is helpful but that’s the whole point. your prayer becomes very very simple at that point it’s just constantly trying to look to God it’s not like you have to be able to be absorbed and not have any thoughts in your head and be sitting there completely wrapped in God. No, you got all these Temptations going on okay when you’re in the middle of a hurricane your prayer is very very simple:

Save me Lord.” I mean you’re not trying to like act like you’re not in a hurricane and pretend that everything’s calm and peaceful around you and you’re just offering your heart up to God and there’s no distractions no. There’s like, you know, buses flying at you and all kinds of stuff so the point of it is is to have a very simple prayer because it’s a very effective prayer. When you’re temptations are being

inundated with thoughts or those images are flying into your head you just kind of grip something that is God and just keep crying out the same thing because as St (Alfonso) says “if you’re praying you’re not sinning”. That’s the thing to remember if you’re praying you’re not sinning so the simple prayer would just be The Hail Mary or mother help me or dear Lord whatever it is but as long as you’re raising your heart and your mind to God in all of its simplicity then there you are – you’re praying and you’re not going to be sinning. I don’t care how filthy those thoughts are coming into your head if you don’t want that thought you don’t want to engage that thought and you keep praying you are not sinning.

I don’t care what effect it has on you. Thought comes in it affects you even physically somehow, but you’re not engaging that and you’re still praying but it’s so it’s such an onslaught, but you keep praying and you’re not thinking about it – you’re not sinning you’re not sinning. You just have to remember that – you’re not sinning. Don’t let him think he’s beaten you all the time he’s not. You can be at complete peace. The body’s the body, the soul makes the choice, the body doesn’t make the choice.

So if your soul stays on target of gripping on to God and you keep praying no matter what that effect is having on you you just keep praying keep your mind up you stay off of it there you go, you did not sin. He who prays doesn’t sin St Alfons is very clear about it. But you can’t be

engaging in it and trying to pray at the same time that’s blasphemy. Do you understand the difference? Don’t trick yourself with stupid stuff you have to understand the very simple principle is that you don’t consent in any way to these things but we can become such a target from the devil that we can be flooded with so much impurity into our mind’s eye you have no idea where it even came from and for anyone who’s engaged in that stuff for extended period of time which so many young people have today there’s a lot of stuff there that can be just brought back out it’s like vomit coming back up and you see like the little nuggets of the little hot dogs but because you’re hungry you might want to eat the little hot dog nuggets that are in the vomit and things like that well no it’s still just vomit coming up so you have to just avoid the vomit. But it’s not your fault that the whatever reflex stuff happens.

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