The Annunciation and Catholic Mental Health

Behold the Handmaid

Editor’s note: this is a reprint from last year, remixed and touched up. Enjoy! “Behold the handmaid of the Lord…” With a few simple words Mary changed the course of her life and the course of human history. But what does it mean to behold something? Webster’s dictionary defines the word “behold” as “to see, to gaze upon, to call attention to”. Mary was calling attention to the fact that it was a beautiful thing to be a servant of God. She was ready to accept whatever God would give for her to do, be it joy or suffering. Come what may, she knew that her trust in God would sustain her through it all.

As Catholics we are called to respond to God’s call in a similar way. Mary’s acceptance, her Fiat, is a perfect and holy response to the will of God. Her saying yes allowed the Word of God to become the child Jesus. Over and over again, Mary said an unfailing yes to God and His goodness. The perfect trust and faith she had in God never wavered.

Now you might be saying “Great! What does any of this have to do with mental health?”

We are called to have the same trust in God that Mary did. This can be a great challenge if you struggle with mental health. There are times you will feel a thousand miles away from God, or worse yet abandoned by God. There may be times where you are struggling for personal acceptance and understanding. Maybe there are even be times where you contemplate ending your life.

Mary is always there to point the way to her Son and to constantly remind you that “He will never leave nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Even when your symptoms are at their worst you can always trust in God to see you through. In John 14:27 Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.¬†I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled¬†and do not be afraid.”

Having a mental health issue does not mean you cannot pursue holiness. We are called to embrace our particular cross,carry it with dignity, and share our experiences with others.

What what you are facing today? Where are you in your walk of faith? It is my prayer that you have the courage to say “Behold! I have a cross and I trust in the Lord.”

Thanks for reading! Please Visit our Resource page at https://thebeholdproject.com/resources/ and https://www.biblegateway.com for quoted Bible verses. God bless.

-Brian Caley