OCD and Christianity

“What pleases God is the blind hope that I have in his mercy.”  –St. Therese of Lisieux

Greatest single statement ever made by an OCDer? I vote for this powerful profession of faith by my favorite Catholic saint, Therese of Lisieux. She suffered from severe OCD that began in childhood, and eventually overcame her OCD after coming to a true understanding of what it meant to truly trust in God. This statement tells us what she learned do when hit by a severe obsession: She put herself entirely and completely in Jesus’ hands. She knew that He would always be merciful. So she gave Him full responsibility for her tormenting fears. No matter what would happen, she would trust in him.

When we do compulsions we are trusting in ourselves. We are banking on certain mental gymnastics or physical acts to prevent the feared outcome of a tormenting obsession. What we OCDers must try to do every day is to give to God more and more the responsibility for our tormenting thoughts. More and more we trust in him and rely on His mercy. Then we must demonstrate our faith by resisting compulsions. We need to make a concerted effort here. If we are not at least now and then winning a little victory over compulsions, we are not actually trusting in God, rather we are still trusting in ourselves.

ote that Therese stresses in her writing that to trust in God is extremely pleasing to Him. In fact, nothing is more pleasing to Him.  Isn’t that the special call of OCDers…to please God by trusting in him like this?

Also (and I really like this), she says her faith is “blind.” What does she mean by that? Well, isn’t that the way it is when we are being overpowered by an obsessional fear? There’s no sensible contact with God at all. We are, indeed, blinded. He seems to be nowhere around. Yet, that is when it counts the most to have faith!

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