OCD: Our Consolation in Divine Mercy

By Marc Massery

When Colin Nykaza, originally of Newport, Rhode Island, was in his first year of seminary with the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the early 2000s, he struggled to decide whether or not he ought to leave diocesan seminary to join a religious order. He didn’t realize it at the time, but symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were clouding his judgment. 

“Long story short, I’m in the chapel one day. I’m suffering tremendously. I was discerning that God wasn’t calling me to this religious order. But because of the OCD, it got into my head that I was turning my back on God. It ripped me apart.”

For weeks, Colin suffered terribly. “I ended up losing 12 to 15 pounds,” he said. “Nobody knew what was going on. I experienced terrible torment, anxiety, and fear, feeling that I was turning my back on God, that I wasn’t doing His will. I felt like I was in danger of going to hell. All these lies were sinking in.”

While he was in that state, praying in a chapel, he happened to look at a Divine Mercy Image prayer card he had been using as a bookmark. While he gazed at the Image, Colin suddenly became overwhelmed with a sense of peace. “I got pummeled with this grace that helped me realize the reality that Jesus was real and that He knew what I was going through. It just hit me. All of my anxiety, all my fear, all my depression went away for about three days. It was very sudden, it was very powerful, and it came through the Image.”

Jesus told St. Faustina:

Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 47, 48)

He also said:

I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. (Diary, 327)

At first, Colin didn’t make the connection between the Divine Mercy Image and the grace he had received. “I thought it was just a grace from God in general because I didn’t know much about the Divine Mercy Image at that point. But as time went on, when I started learning more about Divine Mercy, I realized the grace I had received must have come through that Image. I’m realizing now that Jesus allowed me to experience these moments because I would one day give talks about Divine Mercy.”

Colin remained in seminary with the Diocese of Bridgeport for four years. He left for two years, only to come back for three more years and then discern out one last time. He eventually discerned not to become a priest and that the Lord was calling him elsewhere. For the past decade, Colin has worked for the Archdiocese of New York as the director of young adult outreach. He now gives a talk entitled, “Divine Mercy: Consolation for Those who Struggle with Fear, Depression, or Anxiety.”

“The bottom line is, my heart has suffered a lot. But God will not be outdone by misery, anxiety, fear, or depression.” Colin is a living proof of that. With God’s grace and medical help, he is doing much better. “If you struggle with anxiety, fear, or depression, there is great hope. Please seek the proper medical help and trust in God’s grace and mercy.”

“Jesus told St. Faustina, ‘[T]he greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy’ (1182). We are living in miserable times. But God is not going to be overcome by the evil in the world.” 

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