I had one of these moods again over the weekend. I felt discouraged with my dog business (or the lack of it), my new empty nest and just life in general. I can honestly say that I gave it all I had to shake the mood but I was completely powerless. Like moving a mountain that I couldn't budge.
And then, out of the blue one morning, this prayer that I had heard before just popped into my head:
"Blessed be God, blessed be His Holy Name..." and that was all I could remember. Funny how this prayer came about when I was feeling anything but blessed. And yet, I couldn't get it out of my head.
Every time I was inclined to feel moody, I would begin saying those two lines over and over. I couldn't remember where I had seen this prayer, although I remembered reciting it a few times before.
On Sunday morning, I passed Lucy a prayer book as I normally do while we are waiting for Mass to start. No sense in just sitting there. Then I got my own rather worn out prayer book. I was still feeling depressed. Mass was the last place I wanted to be. I hoped the Father would have a short sermon. I felt guilty for all these thoughts, but the last thing I wanted was to be crammed into a pew with people.
But even more than that, I wanted to shake my depression once and for all. "Blessed be God, blessed be His Holy Name, blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man..." popped into my head again. Where was that prayer?? It was driving me crazy. I had to find it so I could complete the prayer; even those few lines I had memorized helped me not feel so depressed.
I leafed through my prayer book, back and forth and back and forth. I could not find it. And yet, this was the only prayer book I had. So how did I know this prayer then?
And then, I just happened to look over at Lucy, who was sitting beside me. She too, was leafing through her prayer book (though with more reverence than I had), and as though on cue, she paused on a prayer that caught her eye:
"Blessed be God. Blessed be His Holy Name...."
I couldn't believe it. The prayer that had been stuck in my head and which I couldn't find for days just happened to be right in front of me at the moment I casually looked over Lucy's shoulder! I felt that God must have put this prayer in my heart--and also right in front of me--to help me combat my depression.
Like a good mother, I snatched the prayer book out of a surprised Lucy's hands and tossed her my old one and began to read...
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man,
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God,
Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St.Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.
May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time.
The depression doesn't magically disappear after saying this prayer. But the prayer does give me strength to want to listen to other voices, rather than the dismal voice of depression and discouragement. It makes me want to fight depression and fight self-pity. To remember to be patient with things in life, with things that don't always go the way I want them to. To bless God often. Because its' hard to be depressed when you are praising God, isn't it? So funny, this prayer is exactly opposite of how I want to pray when I feel depressed, and yet, it is exactly what I need to pray to fight it.
I call it my Combat Prayer.