Dealing with Depression or Acedia in Lent, Fasting, and Distractions in Prayer

Fr. Josh discusses how to enter into lent if you struggle with depression or acedia, types of fasting, and how to deal with distractions in prayer.

Snippet from the Show

“Connection is more important than perfection.”


“When you fast and experience hunger, turn to Scripture so you can feed on the Word of God.”


Dealing with Depression or Acedia in Lent

How should I approach Lent when battling acedia/depression. It has recently been brought to my attention that I struggle to love myself and that’s impacting my ability to love my neighbor. I’m trying my best to love God above all things and be more forgiving of my own failings but I’m afraid the mournful tone of Lent is going to be a heavy time. I’m a recent convert and just entered the church last year at Pentecost so I’m still trying to find my feet and understand when to put myself to the side and when to care for myself. Thanks for all you do.


Types of Fasting

Hi Fr. Josh,

I’m struggling to figure out what to give up for lent this year. I have heard that fasting from food is more spiritually powerful than fasting from other things because fasting from food is biblical. Do you recommend fasting from food over giving up social media or netflix for example? I would like me lent to be as fruitful as possible. Also, when we fast from food and we start feeling hungry, what do you recommend we do while we experience this discomforting feeling?



Distractions in Prayer

Can you please give me some advice on how to focus or what to focus on in prayer?? I struggle in prayer, specifically when praying the Rosary or any other series of established prayers. I often find when reciting prayers like the Our Father or the Hail Mary, that my mind will wonder and when I’m done saying the prayer itself, I’m not sure if it really counts or has meaning. This happens when I recite the prayers out loud alone or in a group and when I recite them silently. I try to focus on the words of the prayer or the mystery I am on, but frequently I will start thinking about my problems or my prayer intentions (which are usually the same things) or even other things. I’ll usually repeat prayers if I thought I was too distracted or insincere in my thoughts. I believe my heart is in the right place with my intentions and praying is important to me, but I don’t feel comfortable just saying the words while my mind is everywhere. Any suggestions you have are very welcome!



Meet Fr. Josh Johnson

While Fr. Josh was raised Catholic, he didn’t like the Church growing up. Then, one day in adoration, he fell in love with Jesus and received the call to become a priest.

Now, Fr. Josh is the Vocations Director of the Diocese of Baton Rouge in Louisiana. He is a presenter in four of Ascension’s programs: Altaration, YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body, The 99, and Connected: Catholic Social Teaching for This Generation, as well as the author of Broken and Blessed: An Invitation to My Generation, Pocket Guide to Adoration, and co-author of Pocket Guide to Reconciliation.

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