The Anchoress writes:
If you are anxious and despairing and worried, here is my advice: get a crucifix.
Keep the crucifix before your eyes, and it will teach you everything. It will train you to the longview.
The earthly goings-on that make us anxious and full of despair are a manifestation of the wholly spiritual war that proceeds apace — continually,though unseen – all around us. When we buy into it and lose hope we are opening ourselves up to a spiritual oppression meant to cast us into the darkness and away from the light. Because the main battle is supernatural, we recognize it in our spirit; we feel it in our spirit, and then, when the pain is too great, we either try to numb ourselves to it, or allow the spirit to collapse, completely.
Better to arm the spirit. Feed it through Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Commuion; strengthen it with the sacramental grace of confession, so that regardless of what happens, despair never enters into the equation, never enters into you — because you understand that God’s hand is still a part of things; we are not abandoned; so much of what is spinning past is illusion and if the rest is real, it is nothing to be afraid of.
If you do not have a crucifix, get one; get a couple of them, and have them blessed.
Study them. While you’re meditating on the crucifix, ask God to show you what you need to know — ask for what Solomon asked for: an understanding heart. Ask Mary to teach you what she learned while she stood beneath the reality of it. Ask her to explain about the longview — about how sometimes what is horrifying and unjust must happen, if something else is to be able to happen.
When bad thoughts enter in — sinful thoughts, dark thoughts, anxious thoughts — follow St. Benedict’s instruction in his Holy Rule: “When evil thoughts come into one’s heart, dash them at once against Christ, the Rock” — imagine yourself crashing them against the crucifix, and they shatter.
You’ll be amazed at how calmly you’ll be able to observe all these goings on, if you keep the sacraments in your life, and your eyes on the crucifix.
“Everything” is about nothing. Everything ended with the sacrifice of the Lamb. All is consummated. We are forever and always at the Last Supper, at the Crucifixion, at the Resurrection. Time ended with the tearing of the veil and the rolling back of the stone. The rest is illusion and catching up. There is nothing to be afraid of.
The Crucifix teaches us balance.