Liz Montigny shares how a good friend, the advice of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and a hot bath revived her for Advent.
Recently I was struggling through a period of heaviness and cloudiness, not only in my relationships but my work too. It was exhausting. I shared with a dear friend how I wasn’t depressed but I certainly was motivated either. She counseled me to look up Saint Thomas Aquinas and “torpor.”
St. Thomas says this about torpor:
If, however, the mind be weighed down so much, even the limbs become motionless, which belongs to "torpor." (Summa Theologica, I IIae 35.8)
In other words, you're mentally drained so you feel it physically too.
Decision fatigue can paralyze you if you don’t have your heart in the right place.
Thankfully, Saint Thomas gave us a remedy for this. You’ve heard of it before: self-care. Specifically, weeping, a hot bath, and a nap.
But what does this have to do with Advent? We know Advent is a time of preparation, not just our homes and to-do lists as the world tells us, but for our hearts. It’s hard to receive the Lord when you’re filled with “blah.”
Well, I took action on this simple remedy. I turned on the faucet to fill the tub, lit a candle, poured a glass of wine, locked the bathroom door, and then soaked. The tears eventually came, and I not only felt refreshed but a revival in my heart. If you’re already jumping ahead to your Christmas plans, I encourage you to slow down and get your heart right first. This is the most important work.
Our world is so noisy, not just sound but all the things we see. We actually have to work at quieting our minds so we can hear what the Lord has to say. If it’s hard for you to get to Adoration, then try Saint Thomas’ remedy for torpor.
Whether you’re in Adoration or your tub, all you have to do is be where you are. If distracting thoughts come your way, give them to the Lord and ask Him to help you with them later, telling Him that you really just want to hear Him now. I needed a little extra help in this area, so I set the tone by listening to some music on Hallow. If music seems too “loud” to you, you could read a Scripture passage to help you begin.
Now that you're quiet and in a posture to listen, then you can receive. Cue the tears. Let them flow and what is put on your heart next is from the Lord.
The Lord reminded me who I am, and I brainstormed with Him. Then, I was clear on my next steps. I didn’t hop out of the tub to write this all down, and I didn’t judge what I felt or what the Lord shared with me. I trusted in the Lord that He would help me remember it all—and I did as I wrote in my journal before I slept.
Allowing the Lord to work on you from the inside out is where you’ll find peace and clarity. It should not feel heavy or cloudy as before. I felt reawakened, with a new fervor to journey through my challenges and permission to have fun with my work. I felt lighter.
Moms, we’ve all heard that we “can’t pour from an empty cup.” We know it’s true, so let’s not forget to live what’s true. Enjoy your bath, sister.
Copyright 2023 Elizabeth Montigny