Fr. Joseph M. Esper: How The Saints Faced Anxiety

Back to School? ‘No Thanks’ Say Millions of New Homeschooling Parents, by Kerry McDonald
July 14, 2020
The Little Sisters and the Court: Muddling Through, by Hadley Arkes
July 14, 2020

By Fr. Joseph M. Esper, Catholic Exchange, July 13, 2020

Fr. Joseph Esper studied at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1982. ….

This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Esper’s Saintly Solutions to Life’s Common Problems, which is available as an ebook or paperback from Sophia Institute Press.

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:6-7

Fr. Joseph M. EsperSome saints were as prone to worry and anxiety as the rest of us are. But, by placing their trust in the Lord’s presence and care, they were able to overcome their fears. Some of these fears were relatively minor ones, as faced by Bl. Helen of Udine, who, during a period of distress, was terrified even of loud noises.

Others were serious fears, as faced by St. Augustine of Canterbury, the abbot of a monastery in Rome. In the year 596, he was chosen by Pope St. Gregory the Great to lead a group of forty monks on a missionary journey to England. (There were some scattered Christian communities there, but the island as a whole was pagan and uncivilized.) Augustine and his companions set out, but on reaching France, they were frightened by stories of the dangerous waters of the English Channel and the fierce temperament of the Anglo- Saxon tribes. Leaving his companions there, Augustine hurried back to confer with the Pope. Gregory encouraged the worried missionary and sent him back on his way, after telling him, “He who would climb a lofty height must go by steps, not by leaps.” Augustine returned to the other missionaries; they crossed over into England and there experienced great success in spreading the Gospel.  ….