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NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Start March 12 to December 12

Wednesday, May 8, 2024


Pentecost Novena

Praying for a 

"Supernatural Revival In Our Land"

Begins May 10

Recall this year, because it fell during Holy Week, the Feast of the Annunciation was transferred from its usual spot on March 25 to April 8. This “happened” to be the same day of, what some are calling, the Jonah Eclipse.


Why “Jonah Eclipse”? Because some are taking note that the eclipse passed over seven cities of our nation named, Nineveh, while the eclipse entered the United States by passing over a city named, Jonah. Even more interesting is that the 40 days that follows this eclipse brings us to the Feast of Pentecost. Recall the story of Jonah and Nineveh:


Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth (Jonah 3:2-5).


Moreover, astronomers have determined that a total eclipse occurred at the time Jonah was prophesying in Nineveh. Some believe this could explain the dramatic and immediate repentance of the people of Nineveh.


There is much more to contend when looking at these recent signs and their timing. I urge you to take the time to listen to this prophetic homily given just days before the April 8 “Jonah Eclipse” …


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv-0JvP7AMw


Whether or not God is giving us a warning, and I believe He is, I am among those who believe that we have long passed the atrocities of Nineveh, as well as those of Sodom and Gomorrah.


Heralded for almost all of its 248 years, our nation has led the world in its strong morals, character and values. It would seem the writers of our constitution were inspired geniuses, yet President John Adams quickly warned that …


“… we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams, October 11, 1798.


“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” There it is. Our constitution does not create strong morally and religious people, it depends on the strength of the moral and religious for its survival. And this is why our nation, in recent years, has been a sinking ship that is about to go under.


I was born in 1958. Faith and morals were strong in America. As much as 75% of all baptized Catholics attended Mass regularly. Prior to the 2020 pandemic, that barred souls from attending their churches, we had eroded to just 30% who practiced their faith. After the 2020 pandemic, fully one-third of those did not return to the faith. This means we are left with just 20% who are the strong moral and religious among us. In Europe, it is a startling 5-10% who remain with this strength of the faith.


Let’s face it, we are greatly outnumbered by the unbridled among us – up to 80% – whose unbridled passions are prone to greed, power and vengeance, or those who dutifully or even fearfully do the bidding of those who have seized power and control.

The two greatest tactics of the devil – pride and fear – are in full force. An aristocratic ruling class has seized total power and control. Unbridled as they are, they have no moral filter. And so, they are totally free to lie, cheat, steal and bully their way into this power and control as they dictate to the masses every horror unto God.


So, here we are, in the last few days of the 40 days until Pentecost. We need to repent, and we need to pray as never before. Will you PLEASE pray with me for a Holy Spirit filled “Supernatural Revival” in our land?!?!

 

Pentecost Novena - Novena to the Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit


The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.


US Grace Force Participation in the 2024 Pentecost Novena


For those who wish to join forces in praying for an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the USA, you can find the daily prayers at usgraceforce.com, and/or enlist in the US Grace Force and receive each day's prayers in your email.


You can enlist in the US Grace Force by clicking HERE


 

HERE IS WHAT DAY ONE LOOKS LIKE:


FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)


Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!


Special Intention - For a Holy Spirit filled “Supernatural Revival” in our land


The Holy Spirit


Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin? Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."


Prayer


Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.


Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.


ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT


On my knees I before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.


PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen


CARDINAL BURKE'S NINE-MONTH NOVENA PRAYER


O Virgin Mother of God, we fly to your protection and beg your intercession against the darkness and sin which ever more envelop the world and menace the Church. Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, gave you to us as our mother as He died on the Cross for our salvation. So too, in 1531, when darkness and sin beset us, He sent you, as Our Lady of Guadalupe, on Tepeyac to lead us to Him Who alone is our light and our salvation.


Through your apparitions on Tepeyac and your abiding presence with us on the miraculous mantle of your messenger, Saint Juan Diego, millions of souls converted to faith in your Divine Son. Through this novena and our consecration to you, we humbly implore your intercession for our daily conversion of life to Him and the conversion of millions more who do not yet believe in Him. In our homes and in our nation, lead us to Him Who alone wins the victory over sin and darkness in us and in the world.


Unite our hearts to your Immaculate Heart so that they may find their true and lasting home in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ever guide us along the pilgrimage of life to our eternal home with Him. So may our hearts, one with yours, always trust in God's promise of salvation, in His never-failing mercy toward all who turn to Him with a humble and contrite heart. Through this novena and our consecration to you, O Virgin of Guadalupe, lead all souls in America and throughout the world to your Divine Son in Whose name we pray. Amen.

MISSION: The United States Grace Force (USGF) is a “special operations force” specifically trained in spiritual warfare, spiritual strength training and intercessory prayer. The USGF capabilities include the large-scale use of powerful supernatural weapons (sacramentals, etc.) and prayers. While there are various special operations, the primary mission of the USGF is to implore God’s protection and blessing on our nation, especially imploring God’s protection (“Got Your Six”) for those who put their lives on the line to protect and defend our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

 

Rogationtide Wednesday

ST. MICHAEL

 

Job, Chapter 39, Verse 16

She cruelly disowns her young and her labor is useless; she has no FEAR.

Job is now being confronted by He that Is.

“The wings of the ostrich flap away; her plumage is lacking in feathers. When she abandons her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, she forgets that a foot may crush them, that the wild beasts may trample them; she cruelly disowns her young and her labor is useless; she has no fear. For God has withheld wisdom from her and given her no share in understanding. Yet when she spreads her wings high, she laughs at a horse and rider.

Discourse of God[1]

·         Enter God. He comes down in a whirlwind and poses a number of rhetorical questions to Job, all of which are designed to show Job how small he is in relation to the universe...which, by the way, God created. 

·         God's wisdom isn't like human wisdom. After all, God is concerned with making waves flow and the architecture of the heavens.

·         This doesn't mean that human affairs don't concern him; they're just one part of a vast, unknowable whole. 

·         Basically, Job's question is answered with a bunch of equally unanswerable questions. He is completely and totally out of his league on this one. 

·         God talks of natural things in human terms so that Job can understand them. By doing so, he illustrates how the mortal and the immortal are so far apart even though they are physically close together (38:28).

Has the rain a father? Who has begotten the drops of dew?

Humility at its source is knowing that all goodness comes from the Spirit, even in the mist of our crosses.

This prayer by Saint Francis de Sales is a great consolation for those who do not understand the crosses which God has entrusted to them.[2]

Prayer

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, alms of the all-merciful love of God.

Rogationtide Wednesday[3]

Today would be a good day to reflect on what we want to harvest this fall; so, like farmers we must till the soil of our soul reflecting this day on our use of our TREASURE (yes money/tithe) and look at in what ways we may offer our money to Christ to help build a harvest for His Kingdom. It has been said that money is the root of all evil. Yet, this is not exactly true for the real root of all evil is not money but the LOVE of money. Those who fear the Lord know that money is a gift from God. It is not to be buried but sown. This is the correction that God wishes us to accept. We are all sowers, and we are to spread the seeds or gifts that God gives us out. Does God need a tithe from us? Or Does God need our hearts free from the love of money? Do not make my house a marketplace. For love of money or the lust for money is what corrupts men not the money itself. 

Donate a Day Wages to a Charity Day[4]

We all have causes that we care about, problems we want to see erased from society, and issues that have affected us deeply throughout our lives. However, most people are busy and haven’t had the time or opportunity to dedicate as much as they would want to charities and the causes of their choice. Donate A Day’s Wages to Charity Day is there to change that. Whether you have trouble keeping up with charitable donations and you want to make a difference or you believe that you should make a pledge that matters once a year, it’s the day to do it.

Your Money or Your Life[5] 

At this tense moment in our history, when external wars and internal violence make us so conscious of death, an affirmation of the sanctity of human life by renewed attention to the family is imperative. Let society always be on the side of life. Let it never dictate, directly or indirectly, recourse to the prevention of life or to its destruction in any of its phases; neither let it require as a condition of economic assistance that any family yield conscientious determination of the number of its children to the decision of persons or agencies outside the family. Stepped-up pressures for moral and legal acceptance of directly procured abortion make necessary pointed reference to this threat to the right to life. Reverence for life demands freedom from direct interruption of life once it is conceived. Conception initiates a process whose purpose is the realization of human personality. A human person, nothing more and nothing less, is always at issue once conception has taken place. We expressly repudiate any contradictory suggestion as contrary to Judeo-Christian traditions inspired by love for life, and Anglo-Saxon legal traditions protective of life and the person. Abortion brings to an end with irreversible finality both the existence and the destiny of the developing human person. 

·         Conscious of the inviolability of life, the Second Vatican Council teaches: God, the Lord of life, has conferred on man the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life, a ministry which must be fulfilled in a manner that is worthy of man. Therefore, from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes (Gaudium et Spes, 51).

·         The judgment of the Church on the evil of terminating life derives from the Christian awareness that men are not the masters but the ministers of life. Hence, the Council declares: Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person...all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator" (Gaudium et Spes, 27) 

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. 

Are these words just words highlighted by men during the age of enlightenment or are they the inspired will of the creator? America is special in that the founders realized this when they wrote our constitution which was established to ensure that laws are enacted and enforced that support life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Much of our misery in this country is caused by laws that reverse the order ensuring that wealth trumps liberty and liberty trumps life. No, it must be life first.

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

The protection of Life has primacy.

·         If we are the children of the creator, we know that life must be protected at conception to its natural end.

·         We must seek the dignity of the unborn, the living and the aged in our laws and traditions.

Are you into composting?[6]

When Americans die, most are buried or cremated. Washington could soon become the first state to allow another option: human composting. The novel approach, known as “recomposition,” involves placing bodies in a vessel and hastening their decomposition into a nutrient-dense soil that can then be returned to families. The aim is a less expensive way of dealing with human remains that is better for the environment than burial, which can leach chemicals into the ground, or cremation, which releases earth-warming carbon dioxide.

“People from all over the state who wrote to me are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative for themselves,” said state Sen. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat, who is sponsoring a bill in Washington’s Legislature to expand the options for disposing of human remains. The recomposition bill would also make Washington the 17th state to allow alkaline hydrolysis, the dissolving of bodies in a pressurized vessel with water and lye until just liquid and bone remains. Pedersen plans to introduce the bill when the new legislative session begins next month.

Well, I guess we wouldn’t have to depend on Russia for fertilizer

This is scary, sounds like the movie “Soylent Green” was prophetic. Maybe if you are over fifty you need to stay healthy as possible for as long as you can.

Apparition of St. Michael[7]

It is evident from Holy Scripture that God is pleased to make frequent use of the ministry of the heavenly spirits in the dispensations of His providence in this world. The Angels are all pure spirits; by a property of their nature, they are immortal, as is every spirit. They have the power of moving or conveying themselves at will from place to place, and such is their activity that it is not easy for us to conceive of it. Among the holy Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are particularly distinguished in the Scriptures. Saint Michael, whose name means Who is like unto God? is the prince of the faithful Angels who opposed Lucifer and his followers in their revolt against God.

Since the devil is the sworn enemy of God’s holy Church, Saint Michael is given to it by God as its special protector against the demon’s assaults and stratagems.

Various apparitions of this powerful Angel have proved the protection of Saint Michael over the Church. We may mention his apparition in Rome, where Saint Gregory the Great saw him in the air sheathing his sword, to signal the cessation of a pestilence and the appeasement of God’s wrath. Another apparition to Saint Ausbert, bishop of Avranches in France, led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel in the sea, a famous pilgrimage site. May 8th, however, is destined to recall another no less marvelous apparition, occurring near Monte Gargano in the Kingdom of Naples.

In the year 492 a man named Gargan was pasturing his large herds in the countryside. One day a bull fled to the mountain, where it could not be found. When its refuge in a cave was discovered, an arrow was shot into the cave, but the arrow returned to wound the one who had sent it. Faced with this mysterious occurrence, the persons concerned decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that the cavern where the bull had taken refuge was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all the Holy Angels.

Accompanied by his clergy and people, the pontiff went to that cavern, which he found already disposed in the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and there arose in this same place a magnificent temple where the divine Power has wrought great miracles. To thank God’s adorable goodness for the protection of the holy Archangel, the effect of His merciful Providence, this feast day was instituted by the Church in his honor.

It is said of this special guardian and protector of the Church that, during the final persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully defend it: “At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince who protects the children of thy people.”

Judgment Day[8]

How will the Last Judgment begin?

At the command of God, the angels, with the sound of the trumpet, shall summon all men to judgment (i. These, iv. 15). The bodies and souls of the dead shall be again united, and the wicked shall be separated from the righteous, the just on the right, the wicked on the left (St. Matt. xxv. 33). The angels and the devils will be present, and Christ Himself will appear in a bright cloud with such power and majesty that the wicked, for fear, will not be able to look at Him, but will say to the mountains, “Fall on us,” and to the hills, “Cover us” (St. Luke xxiii. 30).

Why will God hold a general and public judgment?

1. That all may know how just He has been in the particular judgment of each one.

2. That justice may at last be rendered to the afflicted and persecuted, while the wicked who have oppressed the poor, the widow, the orphan, the religious, and yet have often passed for upright and devout persons, may be known in their real characters and be forever disgraced.

3. That Jesus Christ may complete His redemption, and openly triumph over His enemies, who shall see the glory of the Crucified, and tremble at His power.

How will the Last Judgment proceed?

The books will be opened, and from them all men will be judged; all their good and bad thoughts, words, and deeds, even the most secret, known only to God, will be revealed before the whole world, and according to their works men will be rewarded or be damned forever. The wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, but the just into life everlasting (St. Matt. xxv.46).

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

CHAPTER THREE-THE LIFE OF PRAYER

Article 2-THE BATTLE OF PRAYER

II. Humble Vigilance of Heart

Facing difficulties in prayer

2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. the bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!'"

2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit." If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart:
"Apart from me, you can do nothing."

2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.

THIS WE BELIEVE

PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The Mass

“Why should I go to Mass every day?”

The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer! (Pope Paul VI).

For each Mass we attend with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death. (Revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the Great)

St. Padre Pio, the stigmatic priest, said, “The world could exist more easily without the sun than without the Mass.”

The Cure d’Ars, St. Jean Vianney, said, “If we knew the value of the Mass, we would die of joy.”

Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God’s goodness and asked Our Lord, “How can I thank you?” Our Lord replied, “Attend one Mass.”

Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph

The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night, perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.

·         Devotion to the 7 Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph

Do the St. Joseph Universal Man Plan.

Dara’s Corner 

Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated.[9]

6 Common Depression Traps to Avoid-Expert advice on how to sidestep pitfalls that often accompany depression.[10]

    Trap #1: Social Withdrawal

    Trap #2: Rumination

    Trap #3: Self-Medicating with Alcohol

    Trap #4: Skipping Exercise

When Orion Lyonesse is getting depressed, she turns into a hermit. She doesn't want to leave the house (not even to pick up the mail), and she cuts off contact with her friends and family.

"The more I'm alone, the deeper the depression gets," Lyonesse, an artist and writer in Lake Stevens, Wash., tells WebMD in an email. "I don't even want to cuddle my cats!"

Avoiding social contact is a common pattern you might notice when falling into depression. Some people skip activities they normally enjoy and isolate themselves from the world. Others turn to alcohol or junk food to mask their pain and unhappiness.

Depression traps vary from person to person, but what they have in common is that they can serve to worsen your mood, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Here are six behavioral pitfalls that often accompany depression -- and how you can steer clear of them as you and your doctor and therapist work on getting back on track.

Trap #1: Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is the most common telltale sign of depression.

"When we're clinically depressed, there's a very strong urge to pull away from others and to shut down," says Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of books including The Depression Cure and associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas. "It turns out to be the exact opposite of what we need."

"In depression, social isolation typically serves to worsen the illness and how we feel," Ilardi says. "Social withdrawal amplifies the brain's stress response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it."

The Fix: Gradually counteract social withdrawal by reaching out to your friends and family. Make a list of the people in your life you want to reconnect with and start by scheduling an activity.

Trap #2: Rumination

A major component of depression is rumination, which involves dwelling and brooding about themes like loss and failure that cause you to feel worse about yourself.

Rumination is a toxic process that leads to negative self-talk such as, "It's my own fault. Who would ever want me a friend?"

    Related:

    Can a Routine Prevent Bipolar Depressive Episodes?

"There's a saying, 'When you're in your own mind, you're in enemy territory,'" says Mark Goulston, MD, psychiatrist and author of Get Out of Your Own Way. "You leave yourself open to those thoughts and the danger is believing them."

Rumination can also cause you to interpret neutral events in a negative fashion. For example, when you're buying groceries, you may notice that the checkout person smiles at the person in front of you but doesn't smile at you, so you perceive it as a slight.

"When people are clinically depressed, they will typically spend a lot of time and energy rehearsing negative thoughts, often for long stretches of time," Ilardi says.

The Fix: Redirect your attention to a more absorbing activity, like a social engagement or reading a book.

Trap #3: Self-Medicating with Alcohol

 

Turning to alcohol or drugs to escape your woes is a pattern that can accompany depression, and it usually causes your depression to get worse.

Alcohol can sometimes relieve a little anxiety, especially social anxiety, but it has a depressing effect on the central nervous system, Goulston says. Plus, it can screw up your sleep.

"It's like a lot of things that we do to cope with feeling bad," he says. "They often make us feel better momentary, but in the long run, they hurt us."

The Fix: Talk to your doctor or therapist if you notice that your drinking habits are making you feel worse. Alcohol can interfere with antidepressants and anxiety medications.

Trap #4: Skipping Exercise

If you're the type of person who likes to go the gym regularly, dropping a series of workouts could signal that something's amiss in your life. The same goes for passing on activities -- such as swimming, yoga, or ballroom dancing -- that you once enjoyed.

When you're depressed, it's unlikely that you'll keep up with a regular exercise program, even though that may be just what the doctor ordered.

Exercise can be enormously therapeutic and beneficial, Ilardi says. Exercise has a powerful antidepressant effect because it boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals that often ebb when you're depressed.

    Related:

    3 Ways to Manage a Major Depressive Disorder Episode

 

"It's a paradoxical situation," Ilardi says. "Your body is capable of physical activity. The problem is your brain is not capable of initiating and getting you to do it."

The Fix: Ilardi recommends finding someone you can trust to help you initiate exercise -- a personal trainer, coach, or even a loved one. "It has to be someone who gets it, who is not going to nag you, but actually give you that prompting and encouragement and accountability," Ilardi says.

Trap #5: Seeking Sugar Highs

When you're feeling down, you may find yourself craving sweets or junk food high in carbs and sugar.

Sugar does have mild mood-elevating properties, says Ilardi, but it's only temporary. Within two hours, blood glucose levels crash, which has a mood-depressing effect.

The Fix: Avoid sugar highs and the inevitable post-sugar crash. It's always wise to eat healthfully, but now more than ever, your mood can't afford to take the hit.

Trap #6: Negative Thinking

When you're depressed, you're prone to negative thinking and talking yourself out of trying new things.

You might say to yourself, "Well, even if I did A, B, and C, it probably wouldn't make me feel any better and it would be a real hassle, so why bother trying at all?"

"That's a huge trap," says Goulston. "If you race ahead and anticipate a negative result, which then causes you to stop trying at all, that is something that will rapidly accelerate your depression and deepen it."

The Fix: Don't get too attached to grim expectations. "You have more control over doing and not doing, than you have over what the result of actions will be," Goulston says. "But there is a much greater chance that if you do, then those results will be positive."

Daily Devotions

·         Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Protection of Traditional Marriage

·         Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan


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