The fact that mental illness is plaguing our society is blatantly obvious for anyone who has eyes to see or ears to hear. This plague is particularly acute with Gen Z (people born in 1997-2012). A new study from “The Christian Post” attests to this phenomenon by showing that approximately 42% of Gen Z adults reported that they were diagnosed with a mental illness the vast majority of these adults claimed anxiety and depression as the particular condition (Blair 2022). If we were a sane society then we would recognize anxiety and depression not as a mental illness that needs to be medicated but as part of the human condition. Sadness and fear are simply a part of life and of reality. In order to escape from this condition, mentally ill young adults seek constant distraction via the myriad of different entertainment devices and services. This only makes the problem even worse. If one seeks peace, they should instead spend time in reality, where one can encounter God. The source of our reality, and our lives is the “Logos”, the eternal Word, our Lord Jesus Christ. As a fellow “Gen-Zer”, I too dealt with moderate anxiety as an adult before my reversion. The late nights of drowning oneself in YouTube with a fast heart rate and tension headache are all too familiar. Anxiety over my health was often exaggerated and I would mentally overreact to any pain in my body, even an accelerated heart rate. At one point I was medicated to alleviate this issue, but fortunately I didn’t really use the medication too often given its side effects of drowsiness. Now, anxiety, at least in the acute form, isn’t part of my life almost in any way. What changed everything around was my reversion. Specifically living the Catholic way of life and thus receiving the Lord’s Peace.
Our Lord throughout the Gospels warns His disciples of the suffering they must endure if they are to do the will of the Father and to spread His Gospel. Why shouldn’t we expect the same treatment? In a post Christian world, many have chosen to reject our Lord. Why should we not expect the same as servants of Christ given that “a servant is not greater than his master” (Jn 15:20)1 ? In fact, our Lord promises us that when He says: we “will be hated by all for My name’s sake”, in all three of the synoptic gospels (Mt 10:22; Mk 13:13, Lk 21:17). How then is a Christian supposed to have peace in this life? The gospels make it perfectly clear that we will be persecuted and hated, but we know through faith that “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:11).
Trials, tribulations, roadblocks and suffering in life cannot take away the peace of a Christian. For we know de fide “that in everything God works for good with those who love Him” (Rom 8:28). When you have a relationship with someone, it becomes far easier to trust that individual. Now when that individual also happens to be all-good, all-loving, and all-powerful, this trust becomes second nature. This individual is our Lord and I know that He wills the good of all of His children. Late in Romans St. Paul refers to God as the “God of Peace” (Rom 15:33) and he even teaches the Galatians that one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace (Gal 5:12).
Fear and anxiety are a thing of the past. Ever since my reversion to The Faith, the time when I decided to “put on the new man created after the likeness of God” (Eph 4:24), I no longer seek asylum with distraction and little pleasures. Now in a pursuit of a closer relationship with our Lord, I only seek Him for peace. This is what He gives His children. No time during the year is more perfect than during the Christmas season to ask for this grace of peace. Let us together say with the angels in prayer, “Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis” (Lk 2:14).