Finding God’s love in the midst of depression


(Editor’s note: Father Marty Goetz, pastor of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington and St. Mary Parish in Dodgeville, shares the following homily that he gave on June 10.)

“Therefore, we are not discouraged….”

And I wonder why Paul wasn’t discouraged. He has been shipwrecked, stoned, beaten with rods three times, five times he received 40 stripes minus one, imprisoned, betrayed and his ministry questioned.  (Kinda like Jesus in the Gospel today!)  And yet because of his faith and trust and hope in God, he continues on — and will do so — until his death.

Fr. Goetz

This past week, we heard of two people who, unknown to those closest to them, were discouraged: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, who took their own lives.  Ms. Spade was 55; Mr. Bourdain was 61.


I’ve been open about my struggle with depression.  It’s a cross I didn’t — and don’t — want.  I question God almost every day why he made me the way he did.  I have been dealing with this disease now for over 19 years since I was first diagnosed and started taking medicine — and will do so the rest of my life.

When I was in Rome a couple of years ago for the canonization of Mother Teresa, leading a pilgrimage for The Catholic Messenger, I had the honor of celebrating Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit, and it is the official sanctuary of Divine Mercy. I’m not sure anyone else knew, but it was one of the darkest times of my life. I preached that day on Luke 5:1-11 when Peter — after the large catch of fish — asks Jesus to depart from him for he was a sinful man.

I told the pilgrims that there were many times I felt like St. Peter, telling Jesus to get away from me for I wasn’t worth it. After Mass, I went over to the image of Divine Mercy in front of a cross, and if it is possible, had a “coming to Jesus” talk with Jesus. I spoke from my heart and decided that day that if Jesus had given me this cross, he would help me carry it. I didn’t realize this for a long time, but my depression has become — and always has been and will be — a gift.

So many people hide their depression out of fear — even hiding it from Jesus. Some see it as a weakness.  It can rob you of your energy and make the simplest things seem difficult.  Depression can make getting out of bed in the morning and going to the bathroom and brushing your teeth and taking a shower and getting dressed feel like a big deal. Sometimes the darkness can seem so close and overwhelming that people think the only way out is taking their own life.

Learn from St. Paul who knew that Jesus was close to him, that Jesus is the peace that the world cannot give. In those times of discouragement and darkness, hold on to your faith and to God and don’t let go. He loves you so much and will never abandon you. As St. Paul says in another letter, “Nothing can separate you from the love of God!”

I’ve been blessed — I have a great support system in place. So many people don’t. Reach out to those closest to you.  Tell them that they are loved and not alone.

“Therefore, we are not discouraged….”

When you feel that the weight of the world is on your shoulders and there is no other way to turn, remember St. Paul. Come to know in your heart that God knows you and your pain and hurt and darkness. He is with you. Nothing can separate you from that love.
If you feel depressed and have no one to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.  It is available 24 hours every day.

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2 thoughts on “Finding God’s love in the midst of depression

  1. Thank you for shareing. It’s hard for us who don’t know that feeling, how to address it.
    It helped me see a few of my friends in this story. I will reach out to them.
    God Bless.

  2. You never know who is carrying this burden of anxiety and depression. So many of us live our lives with the struggle. The absolute all consuming, daily draining of energy….the feeling of being so SO alone. The feeling of being in a deep, deep hole that you don’t even have the energy to try to climb out.

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