How was prayer against depression born and who was the first to manifest his devotion to Our Lady of the Smile?
Some devotions are born from the personal experience of those who, tormented by some pain, have found comfort and consolation in Jesus or the very sweet image of their mother, Mary. This is the case of the Prayer against Depression, born from the devotion of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus to Our Lady.
Saint Therese, or Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, left a unique model of spirituality and heartfelt poignant faith. And this even though she died very young, barely twenty-five years old, after a life spent largely in a cloister. His love for Jesus was expressed in every gesture, in every action, and was made up of simple, everyday things. It was born from the absolute abandonment to love for God, inevitable, once we became aware of our being nothing, before the Most High, fragile, humble creatures, in need of protection and loving and safe guidance. Here is the wonder of the faith of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who never ceased to feel like a child before the fullness of God’s love, and in this feeling of being small and fragile resided her wealth, a wealth that was born from poverty, from the need to be filled with Grace and Love.
But how did Saint Therese’s devotion to Our Lady of Smiles come about? Meanwhile, we cannot help but think that the smile is a prerogative of the Virgin, the Mother par excellence, and as such always ready to address all her children, especially the most fragile and vulnerable, the sweetest smile that only a mother can give. The smile that comforts, that encourages, that instils the strength to face every snare, to bear every burden.
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus suffered from various ailments that undermined her body and spirit. Among other things, she suffered from depression and panic attacks, which left her bedridden for days. Well, the Saint recounted that on 13 May 1883, the feast of Pentecost, while from her bed of pain, she contemplated the image of Our Lady, it seemed to her that the latter smiled at her. A very sweet, tender smile, which made her look even more beautiful and lovable, and which touched the heart of Saint Therese until it moved her and made her cry. The awareness that that enchanting smile was only for her, a gift from the Mother of all mothers, made her heal from every difficulty.
Thus was born Our Lady of the Smile, one of the Marian titles with which the Virgin is known and adored in the world. It was Saint Therese who wanted to tell her experience, first to her family, then to the Carmel of Lisieux, where she took vows. It was thanks to the Carmelite orders that this particular devotion spread throughout the world.
But St. Therese did more. To her experience of faith and healing, we owe a special prayer dedicated to Our Lady as a helper for those who are tormented by depression and in general by psychiatric disorders and diseases that poison the body through the mind. Just like St. Therese, many people have recovered from depression, or have found relief from illnesses and disorders of the soul, by reciting this prayer.
Here is the text of the prayer to Our Lady of Smile. At the end of the prayer, it is appropriate to recite two Hail Maries to remember the two tears of joy that slipped on the cheeks of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus on the day when the Virgin smiled at her.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother,
who with a clear smile have deigned to console
and heal your daughter Saint Therese of the Child Jesus from depression,
restoring to her the joy of living
and the meaning of her life in the Risen Christ,
look with maternal affection upon so many
daughters who suffer from depression, psychiatric
syndromes and psychosomatic ills. Your beautiful
smile does not let the difficulties of life
darken our souls.
We know that only your Son Jesus can satisfy the deepest
anxieties of our hearts.
Maria, through the light that blossoms from your face,
pierces the mercy of God.
Your gaze caresses us and convinces us that
God loves us
and never abandons us, and your tenderness renews our self-esteem,
confidence in our abilities,
interest in the future and the desire to live happily.
The family members of those suffering from depression
help in the healing
process, never considering them as caregivers
of the disease with interestsVirgin of the Smile, obtain for
us from Jesus the true cure, liberate us from temporary
and illusory reliefs. Cured, we
commit ourselves to serve Jesus with joy,
disposition and enthusiasm as missionary disciples,
with our witness of renewed life.