2021 Mary Milligan, R.S.H.M. Lecture in Spirituality featuring Susan Abraham, Ph.D.
Anna and the Blind Tobit, c. 1630 by Rembrandt van Rijn
"'Blessed are those who mourn': Depression, Anxiety, and Pain on the Path of an Incarnational Spirituality"
In many Christian texts, like C. S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, pain and sorrow have a remedial function. There is historical precedence for such a view of sorrow. But for people who experience crippling anxiety and depression, pain does not have a remedial function at all. Depression and anxiety are paralyzing. How then, may Christian theologians take stock of such pain? How do the broken hearted learn to trust in the abundant love and faithfulness of God and believe that God wants us all to have “life and live it to the full?” Scholarly perspectives on depression often begin with the popular psychological-scientific accounts and treatments of medical depression. Theological studies, in a liberal arts university, have the option to begin in a different place. Cultural studies, undergirded by Race and Critical theory, argue that depression has social and cultural roots. Using cultural theory, depression may be understood to be a form of damaged temporality. Cultural studies also open up spaces for forms of spirituality, especially forms of incarnational spirituality that create habits for living life to the full.
Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 6 p.m.
Loyola Marymount University
About Susan Abraham
Susan Abraham is a professor of theology and postcolonial cultures, vice president of academic affairs, and dean of faculty at Pacific School of Religion. She is the author of Identity, Ethics, and Nonviolence in Postcolonial Theory: A Rahnerian Theological Assessment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and co-editor of Shoulder to Shoulder: Frontiers in Catholic Feminist Theology (Fortress, 2009). Ongoing research projects include issues in theological education and formation, interfaith and interreligious initiatives for social transformation, theology and political theory, religion and media, global Catholicism, and Christianity between colonialism and postcolonialism. She brings wide experience and knowledge of higher education and institutional practices through her past affiliations with St. Bonaventure University, Harvard Divinity School, and Loyola Marymount University. Her publications, courses and presentations weave practical theological insights from her experience of working as a youth minister in Mumbai, India, with theoretical perspectives from postcolonial theory, cultural studies, political theory and feminist theory.