Despondency – Introduction from Fr. Tryphon‘s blog from the monastery of All-Merciful Savior which is on Vashon Island, just off the coast of Washington, whose Blog you can visit here:

Fr. Tryphon (referenced above) in his morning offering, expressed very clearly his own personal struggles with despondency and how he found encouragement in the writings of St. Seraphim: “Like Saint Anthony the Great, I cry out to God, “where are You?”, all the while floating in a river of grace. I want to be a friend of God, yet often feel like the chick who has been pushed out of the nest by the mother eagle. Yet I am comforted by the counsel of Saint Seraphim, who instructed his spiritual children with the words…”

When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: “What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head.”

How often I must feel despondency, but don’t recognize it until too late, when I am reflecting on it later in prayer. I know why, too. It’s mostly because I automatically find a way to distract myself from it, losing all the grace available through just feeling my inner emptiness and offering it to Christ. I think for hermits, it is the most trying of temptations. The noon day demon is what it was called by the desert fathers. They just had to learn to bare it. And in doing so, came to understand its value.

But in our day and age, we have so many available distractions that we turn to just so we Won’t have to feel that same emptiness that they felt. It wasn’t just for emptiness sake. That would not make much sense. But when the time for prayer came, the Psalms they prayed then ever more deeply reflected their interior state in ways that our reading of the psalms today without that intensity just never seem to. 

I find there is a power in the Psalms if we allow them to penetrate us deeply. They are especially enriched when prayed during The Divine Office. But it takes a certain willingness and vulnerability to live that deeply in the Lord’s presence at all times, in order for them to have their most efficacious and transformative effect on our souls. 

A Blessed Peace, THERESA+ – Hermit of the Holy Cross



  1. I was just at a Book Study last night and the topic for the evening was the Psalms. I have prayed the Liturgy of the Hours for several years and find that just hearing some refreshing words of encouragement as I did last night, can help one to forge on. We can’t give up on the Psalms even when they don’t seem to speak to us. The Saints for example St Teresa of Avila, had many dry spells in her prayer life and we will too! However if we keep in mind that just because God may not be speaking to us today in the Psalms, he may next week or month or year. God uses our prayers as He wishes – distributes the graces where He wishes. He knows best and we can trust in this when we think we are not seeing the results of our prayers. As long as God is present, that is all that really matters! God bless…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Psalms reveal the hearts of all humankind at every conceivable juncture of the journey. Sometimes for persons with chronic illness and pain, the best encouragement Psalms might offer is simply to know that one’s sufferings are as much a part of the journey of humanity as one’s joys. Simply to be with one’s pain then becomes an avenue to share in the pain of all human kind simultaneously.
      The Psalms of heartbreak and near despair are often over-looked by the majority in favor of finding the ones that will better lift people’s moods..But the suffering borne in peace for the good of others which is at the core of our Ministry is keen and experienced deeply, sometimes without the consoling words of the brighter Psalms even being sought.
      May I thank you for sharing your journey with us!
      Blessings – THERESA – HHC


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s