Monday, July 17, 2017

For Those with a Melancholy Temperament

Bishop Fenelon 

"As for the natural depression which arises from a melancholy temperament, it’s from the bodily condition, and diet and other remedies will diminish it. It is true that it continually returns, but it is not voluntary. When God gives it, we endure it in peace, like a fever or other bodily suffering. The imagination is sunk in profound gloom and is hung with mourning; but the will, which lives by faith alone, is ready to bear all these impressions. We are at peace, because we are in accord with ourselves and in submission to God. The question is not what we feel, but what we will. We wish all that we have, and wish nothing which is denied to us.

"If anything is capable of enlarging and freeing the heart, it is this entire surrender. If anything can render the mind serene, dissipate its scruples and its gloomy fears, relieve its sufferings by the anointing of love, give it a certain vigor in all its actions, and shed the joy of the Holy Spirit even over the countenance and words, it is this simple, free, and childlike manner of abiding in the arms of God.

Spiritual Letters, pgs 195-196


  1. When did Bishop Fenelon live?

    As a person who has been disabled due to Major Depressive Disorder since 1995 and who has endured it since I was 9 years old, I am distressed that someone might read these words and fail to get medical attention.

    Depression is a bio-chemical, psych-social disease and must be treated on many levels.

    Before I knew what was happening to me and I would talk to my Christian friends about how miserable I was feeling, they would tell me this same sort of stuff, as well as other things, and because depression makes it impossible to comply with such advice, I only became ever more ill.

    These kinds of words are the ones that increase guilt, increase the misery, and may lead to suicide.

    A depressed person needs acceptance and love, not judgment. A depressed person needs to seek medical attention first and foremost. One first call is one's primary care physician.

    Help is available, here is a place to start by downloading this booklet:

    Here is a very informative article on depression:

    Another good article:

    Here is a good article fpr those who have friends or loved ones with depression:

  2. Bishop Fenelon lived in the mid-1500's to the early years of the 1600's.

  3. Ah, thank you. I suspect he lived when depression was thought to be a spiritual maladay

    Sadly, many Christians still think that. People have said some brutal things to me about having depression such as I have not given control of my life to Jesus, that I have unconfessed sin in my life, that I was possessed by a demon or demons, and other abusive things.

    It is tragic that among Christians, mental illness still carries a stigma.


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