Anxiety. That gnawing feeling of worry, unease and nervousness that lurks in the corner of our minds waiting to pounce when we are at our most vulnerable. Whether it is stress over something imminent or anxiety about the future, we all experience it even when our lives look pretty held together on the outside.
Will he message me back? Did she enjoy our date? Will I ever meet my spouse? Am I living the right vocation? What if I never figure my life out? To someone looking at our lives, it may appear that we have it all together. But we can often find ourselves crumbling inside.
Maybe it’s the social media effect, but often we tend to portray the not-so-real highlight reel of our lives to others. All the while, we interiorly struggle with worry and a host of emotions underneath. Maybe you’re experiencing anxiety over an impending first date or worrying about a future that you feel you have no control over. One of the most comforting ways to work through anxiety is to reach through and grasp hands with the Church triumphant.
When trying to calm your worries, try turning to your heavenly friends who have all walked this path. They’re here for you as you navigate your journey to the Lord. The saints are some of the best people to turn to because instead of giving into their insecurities or worries about life, they overcame them and grew stronger in their faith instead. Here are five Heavenly friends to turn to the next time anxiety strikes:
Pray to Saint Padre Pio to help relieve worry
Padre Pio is a perfect example of how to take situations that induce anxiety and fight them with prayer. He suffered poor health for most of his life. Padre Pio offered up his suffering in constant union with the Will of God. He often reminded those who looked to him for counsel that everything he went through was for the greater glory of God.
Shortly after his ordination to the priesthood, Padre Pio’s health declined so rapidly that he lived apart from his community. The decline of his health was an unsolvable mystery to his doctors. But instead of becoming discouraged, Padre Pio began offering his pain up for the salvation of souls. “I am fully convinced that my illness is due to a special permission from God,” he once said.
During times of worry, Padre Pio is a wonderful saint to cling closely. Not only was he good good at abolishing worry from his own life, but he was also blessed with many charismatic gifts. He overflowed with spiritual gifts of prophecy, bi-location, discernment of spirits, miracles and many more. His gifts of healing and reading hearts that we can turn to during times of tremendous worry.
Ask for Saint Rita of Cascia’s intersession when life feels impossible
From a young age Rita wanted to become a nun. She walked by the convent and longingly hoped for the day she could enter. But Rita’s parents promised her to someone in marriage and Rita graciously accepted their will for her.
Her family life was filled with strife due to struggles outside of the home. When her husband was killed on the way home from work one day, Rita feared for the souls of her twin boys. She knew her sons would try and seek revenge on those responsible for their father’s death.
She prayed that God would do whatever was necessary to keep their souls clean from the stain of sin. Her prayers were answered in a gut wrenching way when both of her sons died from illness. While relieved that their souls left this world without the stain of murder, Rita grieved over the loss of her entire family. She promised to fully give herself to God for the rest of her life.
Even then, her suffering continued as she was initially rejected from joining the convent. Finally allowed to enter, she was soon after given a stigmata in her forehead which she bore with grace for 15 years. This suffering she happily offered for the physical and spiritual well being of others.
When you find yourself presented with a situation that seems impossible turn to Saint Rita. She knew intimately the suffering associated with the anxiety of loss and affliction and she offered it up for you – yes, you!
Turn to Saint Dymphna with your anxiety
Many Catholics who struggle with anxiety, depression or mental illness are familiar with Saint Dymphna. Born to a pagan father and Christian mother, Dymphna lived an emotionally complicated childhood. After consecrating herself to Jesus and taking a vow of chastity, her mother died and her father decided to take his own daughter as his new wife.
When Dymphna learned of her father’s intentions, she fled. When her father found her, he demanded she move back to Ireland and marry him. Dymphna refused, and her father became irate and beheaded her with his sword.
Dymphna was named a martyr and many miracles have taken place in her name. At such a young and tender age of 15, she vowed to protect her chastity at all costs. She even surrendered her life at the hands of her terribly mentally ill father.
Are you are anxious about your vocation in life, or whether or not you’ll ever meet the right person? Saint Dymphna is an excellent saint to turn to because she died defending her vocation.
Seek out Saint John Baptist de la Salle’s intercession if you worry about your vocation
Saint John was a French priest who is famous for teaching and championing for underprivileged boys. He’s an interesting saint because he found happiness doing something that he initially resisted. Originally living a noble life, it was hard for John to leave a prestigious position and move to a less desirable roll. But he felt the strong tug of God calling him to work with boys who had no one else in their corner.
John had tremendous success teaching delinquent and underprivileged boys and experienced a life of happiness and fulfillment as a result. He is a great reminder to us that sometimes our calling in life isn’t always the one that we had in mind for ourselves. When dealing with anxiety about your vocation in particular, Saint John Baptist de la Salle is a wonderful saint to implore for guidance.
Invoke the Little Flower when you are feeling anxious
Because of how misunderstood this precious saint is, many will find it surprising to see her name included in this list. Known for her “little way”, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux may strike us as someone who was young and childlike, innocent and happy. People have often said that she is a saint they can’t relate to because she seemingly had it so easy.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Thérèse suffered through much psychological and physical torment in her life. She lost her mother at a young age and her older sister (who was like a second mother) joined the convent when Thérèse was still a child. This nearly broke her heart.
Thérèse struggled with tremendous anxiety as a direct result of her scrupulosity. She knew what it felt like to be dragged through deep and pervasive thoughts and come up for air only to be pushed down again. Her anxiety and fears were very real and were not less painful just because she was so holy. She is a tremendous example and witness that physical and psychological troubles don’t keep us from holiness and they don’t mean we are failing.
Whether it be a novena or a simple prayer, there are many ways to reach Thérèse and ask for her intercession. She knows and understands the terrible way anxiety can creep into our lives and she is at the ready to help you take control of yours. She said that she would spend her time in Heaven by doing good works here on earth!