Discouragement can become a learning experience.

If you suffer from depression, you are well- acquainted with discouragement.

You may feel like you are not measuring up to the expectations of others. Or maybe you are worried about a troubled adult child who will not accept your help or your inability to focus because of chronic sleep deprivation. There are a myriad of reasons for discouragement, but the feeling is universal to all people.

Did you know that there are saints who suffered from discouragement? Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity, was one of them.

Her writing reflects her feelings of unworthiness and discouragement:

“The heart down–discouraged at the constant failure in good resolution; so soon disturbed by trifles; so little interior recollection and forgetfulness of His constant presence.  The reproaches of disobedience to the little ones much more applicable to myself.  So many Communions and confessions with so little fruit often suggest the idea of lessening them– to fly from the fountain while in danger of dying from thirst.”  

Her spiritual director gave her this advice:

“Begin again today.  What is lost must not cause dejection.  What you have gained [spiritually] will be lost if you do not begin again as if nothing had been done.”

God waits for us to return our attentions to Him in the same way that Saint Elizabeth Seton was instructed to do. Instead of ruminating on the negatives, try focusing on the sufficiency of our loving God. He will take care of the rest.

“But, in a moment, He lifts up the soul from the dust.”

— Saint Elizabeth Seton [15 Days of Prayer]