In our chaotic culture, personal and family breakdown, disconnectedness, disease, confusion and loneliness, we find ourselves seeking out many ways to soothe ourselves: exercise, alcohol, medications, therapy and busyness.

I would like to suggest that a very powerful and often overlooked remedy and antidote is worship. To worship the God who created us, who loves us unconditionally, who yearns for connection with us, is to address all the issues mentioned above.

Indeed, we are hardwired for worship. God in His all-loving “knowing” invites us, actually commands us, to worship on a weekly or daily basis, publicly in Mass and throughout our daily lives in prayer and thanksgiving. Unfortunately and tragically, we often find ourselves setting worship aside, giving priority to other activities.

As a health care provider and marriage and family therapist, I would like to suggest several reasons why we might want to give worship preeminence in our lives and how it will lift our mood and reduce our anxiety.

  1. Whether public or private, worship gives us time to step outside our crazy schedules. It gives us quiet time, something we so desperately need, to smooth our ruffled feathers.
  2. It also gives us opportunity to think, and for the Holy Spirit to remind us of what we may need to be taking care of, e.g., recent or past wounds, broken relationships, reaching out to someone who is hurting.
  3. Worship helps us get outside our negative mindset, encourages gratitude, gives us a bigger perspective. It helps us to see God’s love and protection and what is good in our lives.
  4. Worship, because it takes us outside ourselves, helps us to recognize the “bigger picture” in which our lives are embedded.
  5. Worship takes us out of isolation, helps us know we are not alone. When we cultivate our relationship with God, we soon realize that He can comfort us better than anyone, that His love surpasses all others. And, worshipping publicly at Mass, we also come to realize t hat we are in community, in a family that can and should be bigger and better than our own less- than-perfect human nuclear families.
  6. Worship, public and private, helps us know we are not alone in our suffering and loneliness. Public worship in particular gives opportunity for others to support us. Worshipping in Mass is not just an individual event, but we are worshipping together, in community, which can be and should be significantly empowering and comforting. For many who come from broken or toxic families, the Church can be a second chance at family, the Church family.

Cultivating a sense of worship through our day brings God into our daily lives with His love, perspective, protection and support. It orients us to what matters most.

Ultimately, worshipping God cannot be completely understood or analyzed, but undoubtedly it integrates our physical, emotional and spiritual lives, makes us whole, lifts our mood and orients us toward something bigger than ourselves, a love that our hearts yearn for.

—Sharon Trani, a nurse practitioner, is a marriage and family therapist with Vermont Catholic Charities Inc.

—Originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.