When we’re depressed or feeling blue, this prayer from Padre Pio is a way to reach out

By January 11, 2018Articles, Prayers
When we’re depressed or feeling blue, this prayer from Padre Pio is a way to reach out

If you find yourself in a state of darkness, the key is “to reach.”

The small framed unsigned print reads “Reach up as high as you can today, and God will reach down the rest of the way.” It’s my go-to quote for those times when I feel an emotional darkness—depression—coming on. For many of us this darkness is a familiar not-so-good old friend, the Black Dog mentioned by Sir Winston Churchill—or seasonal affective disorder.

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has clinical definitions for depression, and there is as well the spiritual darkness that St. John of the Cross writes about in Dark Night of the Soul. However you’ve come to a depressive state, and for whatever history brought you there, the key in both of those dark times is to reach.

The state of darkness and depression is not a void. It is a space filled with insights that we are momentarily blinded to. When we try to go it alone, we are often too wearied to keep from going under, instead succumbing to the waves of hopelessness.

To reach is not an intuitive movement when psychologically and/or spiritually sinking into depression. Even though we’ve been taught that to despair is to turn our backs to God—which is a sin—there is another element to despairing that is sometimes overlooked. It comes from the Rule of St. Benedict, “In all things may God be glorified.”

In a recent confession, when I was in a season of depression, the priest gave me a very specific penance. I was to read about Jesus walking on stormy seas, and Peter’s fear in Matthew 14:30-31. Then reflect, specifically, on that moment when Peter is desperately reaching out to Our Lord—that second just before Jesus takes his hand.

It was a dark and doubt-filled moment for Peter, whose faith had faltered. It was also an intuitive response to a person physically drowning — reaching out, trying to grasp at anything to save his life.

Father gave me imagery by meditating on and fulfilling that penance; a metaphor to psychologically and spiritually reach for the hand of Christ. I was surprised by how quickly the instinct to survive spiritually soon matched the desire to live physically when exhausted and in deep waters.

Assured that the Lord had taken my hand so I will not drown, I often read this prayer, sometimes three times through!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have you present so that I do not forget you. You know how easily I abandon you.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need your strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for you are my life, and without you, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear your voice and follow you.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love you very much, and always be in your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if you wish me to be faithful to you.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for you, a nest of love. Amen.
~St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Prayer After Communion

Depression is a battle, and for some of us a lifelong cross to bear. In bearing it as best we can while reaching up and out for help, we are led in to a deeper maturity of faith—which like most virtues, is not easily won.

11 Comments

  • V.Canez says:

    Padre Pio pray for my Son’s EliasandEricBustos in the name of Jesus!

  • Nancy says:

    Padre pio please stay with my husband today for his first chemo do not let him get sick help him sleep and be with no pain pray hope and don’t worry amen

  • Shereen says:

    Pray for brother’s conversion so that they may be cure of their sicknesses

  • Lina katarina says:

    please guidance, protection and blessing for happpy magda, stevani, hubert in fostering family and looking for its future. Amen

  • Lina katarina says:

    please lucia sunarja, etty, darmi pay off his debts to me now. Amen

  • Lina katarina says:

    please bless for every one I sell my best-selling merchandize money. Amen

  • DARM says:

    Padre Pio I pray for my children and husband. Please heal them emorionally and physically in Jesus name Amen!!! ❤

  • Francis says:

    St Padre pio pray for me to the lord Jesus christ to bless,protect me,my family,friends and colleagues and also to answer my prayers.Amen

  • Jonas says:

    St. Pio please pray for my mother’s good health. That she will go back to her usual normal eating habit. That her NGT as an instrument for her good nutrition will not be there for so long instead she will eat normally by mouth. That no more serious sickness, no any pain, her new caregiver will protect her physically & emotionally, that my whole family will gain more strength to look after our mother. That all my financial obligations will be fixed right away. Pray for my niece’s new working place soon in Ireland that her batch will reach Ireland safely with good employer and co-workers. Pray for my nephew & his gf’s relationship and their upcoming wedding plan next year. Pray for our protection, good health physically and emotionally. In Jesus name. Amen.

  • Chris says:

    St.Pio pls.guide my family my brother ,my sisters,nephew,niece my relatives and friends .protect us from all dangers.give us healthy mind and body.I also pray for my co teacher who have been my second mother heal her lord for her sickness.I also pray that in school we have a peaceful and goid relationship.thank for evetything.

  • Jean says:

    Please pray for my grandson who is overwhelmed with depression. He needs blessings and guidance. Thank you.

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