When I was a child I grew up with the knowledge that we had a family doctor to whom the whole family went if they were sick. It seems that we now have to expand this understanding to include a family ‘shrink’ or psychologist to whom we go for counsel if life gets a bit tough for us. What is this saying about our mental health? What is it saying about the ways in which we live today?

I do not have a problem with the idea of having a family psychologist though I would ask the question whether it is really necessary. A century or so ago this discipline virtually did not exist. I think that people went to consult their local priest or a member of the family that they could trust if they had problems in this area of their life. Does the rise to prominence of the psychologist tell us anything about our faith? I am not saying that psychologists do not perform a useful and valid function, they do. I am just asking us to reflect upon the reasons why today we seem to use them so freely.

Perhaps we should be looking at style of life that we live and try to discern whether or not there are aspects of it that we should change in order to relieve some of the stress of modern-day living. I believe that the pace of life today is a major contributor to the stresses that we live under. If we could somehow slow down a bit, I think we will find that we are a lot more relaxed and less prone to anxiety attacks.

It is here that the Holy Spirit as our Counsellor extraordinaire has a role to play! The Holy Spirit can help us to order our lives well if we will listen to Him. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to lead us into the truth but He is powerless to do this unless we listen to Him and heed His advice. Just as it is useless to consult the doctor unless we are willing to listen to his/her wisdom, so the same is true of consulting the Holy Spirit in prayer.

To whom do I turn when in need of counsel or advice? Do I tend to seek human solutions to my problems or am I open to divine inspiration in seeking to resolve the difficulties that I encounter in life.

Jesus, you were always seeking your Father in prayer. You never let a day go by without placing yourself in His presence and consulting Him for direction. Help me to imitate you in this.