Gospel-living Does Help Mental Health!

By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.  

One of the more popular mental health leaflets listed the characteristics of sound mental health under three general headings.  It struck me how every quality listed, without a single exception, 
called for the practice of a certain virtue.

Therefore, we’ll present here these various characteristics of good mental health, and then add, in parentheses, the virtue that they called for.  Our conclusion will be that living the Gospel is the 
best therapy of all of for the preservation of sound emotional health.

-You’re not bowled over by your emotions-by your fears, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or worries. (The virtues of temperance and fortitude make sure we don’t get “bowled over”.)

-You neither underestimate nor overestimate your abilities.  You can accept your own shortcomings.  (This job belongs to humility.)

-You can take life’s disappointments in your stride.  You’re able to deal with most situations that come your way.  (Who had more “disappointments” than our Blessed Lord?  He dealt with them in His Father’s way.)

-You have self-respect.  (Why shouldn’t you?  Aren’t you a child of God – a temple of the Trinity – and an heir of Heaven?)

-You get satisfaction out of simple, everyday pleasures.  (God made us to be happy HERE – as well as hereafter!)

-You’re able to give love and to consider the interest of others.  (How can you do otherwise and still be Christ-like?)

-You have personal relationships that are satisfying and lasting.  (Live up to the above and this will follow.)

-You respect the many differences you find in people.  (We must reverence the uniqueness God has given each person.  Thank God, we’re not all alike!)

-You expect to like and trust others, and expect others to like and trust you.  (Our Lord commanded us to love one another as He has loved us-even when we are pretty difficult to love!)

-You feel that you are part of the group.  (We call this the “Mystical Body of Christ” and there’s just no other “group” like it!)

-You feel a sense of responsibility to your neighbor and fellow man. (You should…Aren’t we all members of the same Body?)

-You accept your responsibilities.  You make your own decisions.  

-You do something about your problems as they arise.  (To stall too long can be an offense against the virtue of prudence.)

-You shape your environment whenever possible.  (Every Christian has a mission to bring Christ and His Spirit into the market place.)  You adjust to it whenever necessary.  (A true apostle becomes all things to all men.)

-You plan ahead but do not fear the future.  (After all, our Heavenly Father is still in charge!)  You welcome new experiences and new ideas.  (God’s world is wonderful, but we can and should strive to improve it.)

-You set realistic goals for yourself.  (The most realistic goal of all is the goal of sainthood.)  You put your best effort into what you are doing and get satisfaction out of it.  (God never 
asked for more than your best effort-and what’s more satisfying than doing what He asked?)

What’s your score on all these qualities?  If it’s anywhere near 100%, you are not only enjoying sound mental health, you are also a very saintly person!

With a special thanks to the folks at www.cukierski.net

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