December 6, 2022

Having given lectures on the spirituality of mental health, I realized that people are in dire need of spiritual accompaniment and spiritual counseling.
Last year, government agencies, church groups, and schools have requested for activities and lectures on the spirituality of mental health. The activities were quite demanding but they gave a lot of reflections and sense of fulfillment among the participants and to me as the facilitator.
The spirituality of mental health was conceived when I started to work with mental health professionals from Baguio, Bontoc, and Sagada. It was a big realization that mental health must be seen in a wider dimension so that it should address the three essential aspects of life such as the three “Hs,” head, heart, and hands.
More importantly, we must see that the foundation of spirituality of mental health is God. Hence, there is a need for a leveling off among the participants on our conviction that a person has a soul that makes them dignified beings who owe their life to God.
Without fundamental grounding, the spirituality on mental health will be difficult especially among those whose hearts are engrossed with materialism. It was an honest admission among our team that the scientific approach has issues that cannot be fully treated by sheer science but the spiritual approach can at least address.
People are thirsting to listen to the word of God and for forgiveness especially in the sacrament of reconciliation. People are tired of vengeance as the cultural sense of justice and accumulating bitterness and hatred.
People are realizing that with hatred, bitterness, resentment, and pride, the spirituality of a person is being pulled down and unguardedly manifested in their physical health.
One advantage of priests conducting the spirituality of mental health is the capacity to administer the sacrament of reconciliation.

Epiphany is God’s glory.
Envy and jealousy are tools of the devil. They blind us from appreciating beauty, goodness, talents, and qualities of people. These can impel us to put our fellow down especially when they are reaping success, aside from destroying life.
King Herod was prompted by envy and jealousy. He plotted evil and ordered the killing of innocent children.
Let us conquer envy and jealousy with the glory of God.
It is unhealthy to compare our life with others. We will be insecure if others are better than we are. We will surely be envious and plot evil against them.
It is healthy to compare our life in 2021 so we can improve it in 2022 but a daily comparison of one’s life to others will drag our life to bitterness and unguardedly, to self-pity. It will worsen and might even develop to anxiety and depression.
One of the reasons for depression is the habit of comparing oneself with others with the desire to compete when our capacity is not even at their level. We will surely be frustrated and at one point, fall into destroying ourself or the lives of others.
Insecurity is symptomatic of envy and jealousy. Our incapacity to appreciate and affirm our fellowmen is also symptomatic of envy. Seeing the talents and giftedness of our fellow as threats to our life is living in insecurity, jealousy, and envy.
On the Feast of the Epiphany, let us conquer jealousy and envy with God’s glory so that we will not turn to be losers in this life but collaborators of God’s goodness and beauty.

2022 couple’s blessing
After a half-day lecture, a woman with teary-eyes hugged me, “Pachi, I am so thankful that God heard my prayers. After devastating years, my husband and I are reconciled. He underwent radical conversion through our prayers. Thank you for the spiritual counseling you did years ago and the prayers that accompanied it. We are now living together as a family.”
Shan Tudlong is a grade 11 student of Saint Vincent’s School, who was helping herself and others to overcome anxiety and depression. She had been with me sharing her testimony during my talks on the spirituality of mental health. She challenged parents to settle marital conflicts and to never think of separation as solution. Children will suffer the worse effect of marital separation.
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