Today is the feast of St. Irenaeus. He is a saint that is near and dear to our heart here at Alpha Omega. His words, seen above, were chosen to be our motto when the clinic was founded. Throughout the years, this quote has been a guiding light as we aim to further our mission. At the risk of overstating our imperfect efforts, we are so proud of the work we do. It has been a privilege and honor to see how God has worked through Alpha Omega to be with our clients in their suffering.
To celebrate today’s feast, I wanted to offer a reflection on what it means for the human person to be fully alive. In the spiritual sense, we can turn to another quote from St. Irenaeus: “Jesus Christ in His infinite love, has become what we are, in order that He may make us entirely what He is”. The Eastern Catholic tradition refers to this process as “deification”. In short, it is the idea that through our participation in the spiritual life, Christ heals and liberates our humanity from the effects of the Fall, namely sin, and in the process we become more and more like Him.
From a mental health perspective, becoming more fully alive means healing or managing the ways in which our humanity has been limited or restricted due to suffering. Like a physical scar that limits our mobility, emotional and mental scars limit our psychological flexibility. The more we endure, the more we need to protect, shut down, and be on alert for further suffering. While this makes sense and can be a life saving coping strategy, it can also be a prison of pain. Therapy seeks to restore the psychological mobility that has been lost, liberating us from what restrains our functioning. There will still be scars and pain that comes live but it won’t hurt as much and we will be free to reach for others when in need. This opens the door to explore more options for coping and ways of living that were previously inaccessible.
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* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.