Have this on your mind and lips

‘[God] solemnly commands in Deuteronomy 6:6-8 that we should always meditate on His precepts, siting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising. We should have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant mark and sign. Clearly He did not solemnly require and command this without a purpose. For he knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious assaults and temptations of devils. He wants to warn, equip, and preserve us against them, as with a good amor against their fiery darts [Ephesians 6:10-17] and with good medicine against their evil infection and temptation.’

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, Longer Preface

Spiritual training for one stuck in a bout of melancholia, or seemingly plagued by its constancy

  1. The melancholic must cultivate great confidence in God and love for suffering, for his spiritual and temporal welfare depend on these two virtues. Confidence in God and love of the Crucified are the two pillars on which he will rest so firmly, that he will not succumb to the most severe trials arising from his temperament. The misfortune of the melancholic consists in refusing to carry his cross; his [help] will be found in the voluntary and joyful bearing of that cross.  Therefore, he should meditate often on the providence of God, and the goodness of the Heavenly Father, who sends suffering only for our spiritual welfare, and he must practice a fervent devotion to the Passion of Christ …
  2. He should always, especially during attacks of melancholy, say to himself: “It is not so bad as I imagine. I see things too darkly,” or “I am a pessimist.”
  3. He must from the very beginning resist every feeling of aversion, diffidence, discouragement, or despondency, so that these evil impressions can take no root in the soul.
  4. He must keep himself continually occupied, so that he finds no time for brooding. Persevering work will master all.
  5. He is bound to cultivate the good side of his temperament and especially his inclination to interior life and his sympathy for suffering fellow men. He must struggle continually against his weakness.

Rev. Conrad Hock, ‘The Four Temperaments and the Spiritual Life’

(Google the author and title to read more about spiritual training for the other temperaments, especially Sanguine and Choleric)

The dark side of melancholia

“Upon close observation you will notice that melancholic persons are especially inclined to have their own way, to say everything that comes into their mind, to watch for the faults of others in order to hide their own and to find peace in that which is according to their own liking.”

St. Theresa as quoted by Rev. Conrad Hock in ‘The Four Temperaments and the Spiritual Life’