The Key Anti-Depressant: The Personal Relation

Johan Hari

You have seen this point over and over on this blog. It is the thread running through all the posts. Its grounding truth is the centrality of God Who is Trinity of Three Divine Persons Who ARE RELATION. That means that they are not “Individual Beings” as we understand “individual” but They are ACTIONS. How else to say this? The best Joseph Ratzinger could do which was decisive for me was to write: “(T)he First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, or giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. ONly as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving…” [J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity” Ignatius (1990) 131-132].

Add to that what (again) Ratzinger writes in the context of commenting on the topic of joy: “The root of man’s joy is the harmony he enjoys with himself. He lives in this affirmation. And only one who can accept himself can also accept the thou, can accept the world. The reason why an individual cannot accept the thou, cannot come to terms with him, is that he does not like his own I and, for that reason, cannot accept a thou.”

“Something strange happens here. We have seen that the inability to accept one’s I leads to the inability to accept a thou. But how does one go about affirming, assenting to, one’s I? The answer may perhaps be unexpected. We cannot do so by our own efforts alone. Of ourselves, we cannot come to terms with ourselves. Our I becomes acceptable to us only if it has first become acceptable to another I, We can love ourselves only if we have first been loved by someone else”    [J. Ratzinger, “Principles of Catholic Theology” Ignatius (1982) 79-80].

The point is that we are created in the image and likeness of these Persons, and we cannot be “I” and avoid depression unless we are loved and affirmed by another. A depressed person is a person alone = non-person.

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