Over the summer I experienced a sudden and seemingly permanent end to a friendship. The abruptness and not knowing why it ended sent me into a tailspin of deep sadness. I cherished that friendship. I was heartbroken and devastated.

As a mental health therapist, I counsel many clients with depression and anxiety. This is the first time depression hit me and I was reminded of how debilitating it can be.

Preparing for this pilgrimage, I asked the Lord for the grace of healing. In today’s reflection, James Martin, S.J., spoke of Nazareth as a backwater town, the butt of a joke. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” asked Nathaniel. I wondered: “Can anything good come out of me?” In a depressed state of mind, the answer is easy; no, nothing good can come of me.

Except with the healing grace of God’s love. Mary’s “yes!” came out of Nazareth. Jesus came out of Nazareth! Ask if us pilgrims come out of Nazareth—touched, refreshed, renewed. And with the grace of God, healed.

— Rod J. Herrera