Both St. Francis de Sales and Padre Quadrupani warn of the dangers that befall the soul obsessed with sad and gloomy thoughts.
Quadrupani warns: “As the sound of a trumpet gives the signal for a combat, so sad thoughts apprise the devil that a favorable moment has come for him to attack us.”
St. Francis de Sales says that “sadness is the worst thing in the world, sin alone excepted.” He advises: “Always be as happy as you can in well-doing, for it gives a double value to good works to be well done and to be done cheerfully.”
Padre Quadrupani suggests a way to overcome a stifling sadness. He writes: “It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.”
“Recreations and amusements are to the life of the soul what seasoning is to our corporal food. Food that is too highly seasoned quickly becomes injurious and sometimes fatal in its effects; that which is not seasoned at all soon becomes unendurable because of its insipidity and unpalatableness.”
“As to the amount of diversion it is right to take, no absolute measure can be given: the rule is that each person should have as much as is necessary for him. This quantity varies according to the bent of the mind, the nature of the habitual occupations, and the greater or less predisposition to sadness one observes in his disposition.”
Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).