Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Overcoming Discouragement Through the Stations of the Cross

Lately, I have been feeling discouraged about my spiritual life and all the areas of my heart that I still have not yet fully surrendered to the Lord. My prayer life has seen better days and I am desperately in need of a good confession, but seem to be doing my level best to avoid any and all opportunities to avail myself of one. The most humiliating part of all is that I am teaching a class on the virtues at my children's co-op and that has just served to highlight just how un-virtuous some of my day to day behavior really is - a fact that my 10 year old, who is in the class, is quick to point out....

The truth is, giving into the temptation to throw a daily pity-party complete with long sighs and lots of woe-is-me's is not an attitude that is likely to lift our discouragement any time soon.  I stress to my children every day that if they used the time they spent whining about doing their school work in actually doing their schoolwork they would be shocked at how quickly the work got done.

Why don't I take my own advice?

When I find myself in these times of dryness and discouragement, The Stations of the Cross is my "go-to" devotion.  There is something very comforting to me in knowing that Jesus himself fell not once, but three times under the weight of the cross. The fact that he was able, and willing, to struggle to rise again after each fall - knowing that what awaited him was crucifixion, is a great witness to the power of His love for me, and for all of us.  In moments of discouragement, I find myself lingering over these three Stations in particular; begging the Lord for the grace to imitate him and lift my face out of the dust of the ground to rise and begin the struggle again. This prayer, for the Ninth Station in Archbishop Fulton J Sheen's The Way of the Cross has touched my heart in a deep way.
Many times, dear Jesus I promised you,
after having fallen to temptation
by the flesh and the world,
that I would never fall again.
Your third fall, dear Jesus,
is a witness that I have fallen
by the snares of the devil.
But by rising again,
you have given me another reason to hope.
You have taught me that there are
two kins of people I can be:
a person who falls down and stays down,
or a person who falls but gets up again.
By this, your third fall,
you purchased for me the grace
of rising again each time I fall.
The devil would give up the world
to make me his own.
You gave up your very life
to keep me for yourself,
to show me that I am worth saving.

My flesh is indeed weak, but the grace and power that flows from the Lord's crucified body is enough for me.

What prayers, scriptures or other devotions have helped you overcome discouragement?  Please share them in the comments box below! 

1 comment:

  1. I was in this place for a long time too. St. Therese has helped me immensely. As I learn to trust God more fully, following the Little Way, I am less tempted to despair over my sins. I try to remember that my sins are not too big for God and that my weaknesses do not surprise Him. It is His goodness, not mine, that will lead to my salvation.