Today we find ourselves confronted with the reality of a mental health crisis. It manifests itself in various illnesses like depression, which can be silent and can take over the individual who suffers from it. Depression attacks the depths of human beings, taking any sort of hope for life and its capacity to feel something beyond sadness. Smiles turn out to be non-genuine or, in some cases, non-existent as a result of the lack of meaning felt in one’s life. It is so insidious and harmful that it can even lead to death.
We hear so much about depression these days, that we have become desensitized to it, and we erroneously believe that it will not happen to us or to anyone we know, especially not the children and teenagers in our lives who, for us, represent the promise of life and are our hope for society. Yet, we find out that these kids are experiencing immeasurable voids, accompanied by an anxiety that makes them feel drowned and lost their path, which then results in an unwillingness to keep living. With such painful cases we hear phrases like, “Why did he do it? He was so young!” or, “Why did he do it if he was so loved?” or, “She had so much life ahead of her!” or even, “Where is God?”
Despite all this, we cannot allow ourselves to get stuck on these questions and doubts that threaten to end our hope. Jesus Christ has shown us time and time again, that He triumphed over death with His sacrifice of love on the cross. During the time of Lent, we contemplate the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord. It is a mystery because it is not humanly possible to understand how an innocent person could withstand so much humiliation, pain and suffering for an unjustified death penalty; but also, we cannot understand or rationalize how this death brought salvation through the resurrection. Because of this, we can only understand it from a place of faith. This is how we find hope, even in the middle of pain, by encountering the presence of God who redeems us and saves us. Therefore, we should not stay stuck in this physical event that happened long ago; instead, we are called to contemplate the mystery of the cross in our present, within our own circumstances and in situations such as this mental health crisis among our youth.
Even though we are asked to do this, God doesn’t want us to do it alone. He is almighty and could do it all, but He prefers to work with us. He wants to use us as an instrument of His love, in order to get to the hearts of those in need, specifically within this new generation which is particularly battered by this fatal illness. Therefore, let us pray for our children. Let us make God a part of our lives from the beginning to the end of the day. Let us teach our children the power of the love of God for His children. Knowing and feeling God’s love, our youth will understand that it is possible to enjoy life and have, not only the desire, but the need to live despite their tribulations.
Although I am not a parent myself, I have experienced God’s unconditional love as my Father. That’s why I can tell you that God’s love is the only one that never ends or is extinguished. Therefore, if you are a parent, love your children, but love them through the love of God. Now more than ever, we must embrace, listen and accompany our youth on their journey. We must guide them towards Jesus in everything they do, because He is all they’ll ever need. The cross would have never made any sense, without the love of the one who carried it; Jesus’ death would have never made sense, without His resurrection.
Let’s make sure that this desert of Lent and the resurrection of Easter, help us to contemplate the pain of those who suffer in silence, so that we may be with them, being the support, they need while lifting the heaviness of their cross. Let’s pray that the Lord gives us the grace to accompany our youth, who in the silence of their hearts, feel unprotected; and let us pray that God gives us the grace to teach our youth that the love of God is enough to feel dignified in living now and always.
Sofía is a 23-year-old Colombian who has been in the service of God and the Church in a formal way since she was 17 years old, doing spiritual retreats, youth groups and pastoral work in her parish. She is currently on the verge of receiving her title as a Social Communicator and seeks to put her profession at the service of the Church — specifically in the creation of audiovisual and advertising content. This work helps with the evangelization and propagation of those stories of the Church that need to be told so that the world knows the goodness of God’s love in the lives of believers. Sofía has also started her work as a missionary, going to places where the Lord calls her.