your answers to some of the questions that people asked regarding following
the secular news, and our dealings with others, and even what Jesus said
to St. Faustina, as to how she would win more souls by praying and offering
sacrifices than by missionary effort. I have a deep desire, especially once
I am healed from the resistances I still struggle with, to help other souls
come to Christ and believe in Him. . . . St. Paul mentions
in one of his letters . . . how he was overjoyed that when
he passed through Macedonia to preach, the people there had already heard
the message since the local believers had been sharing their faith with
everyone. . . . wasnt it also the witness of the Holy
Spirit, the love of the believers, who were all of one heart and one
soul? . . . They all shared their bread and their
belongings, it was really a close-knit community, and their goal was to grow
in faith and purity, and spread it all around.
today things seem to have changed a lot. When I was a Protestant we always
talked about how we should try to emulate that first community and be
of one heart and soul, in order to strengthen our
witness. . . . But human beings seem to be so divided. I know
we have to have the deep, personal relationship with Christ that Scripture
and the Tradition keeps pointing us to; without that, all is vain. But how
should we live with respect to our churches, our communities? As another
person said, nobody today seems to be living like the Gospel says, so to
have genuine Christian fellowship is a truly rare thing. And you
responded, There you have it, thats
the real Catholic Church today.
to me, though, that one of the main purposes of this kind of community is
for the salvation of outsiders. And in our evangelistic witness, is it not
important that we be able to speak with wisdom of some kind to outsiders?
but shouldnt some of us know something about non-Christians?
I have a few books in my home, that I have still not read, but I had a very
specific reason for buying them. Some include the Communist Manifesto
by Marx, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, and others by John M.
Keynes, so on and so forth. These are books that in the last few hundred
years, have shaped the world we live in. I am a staunch anti-Communist; I
know about the tens, possibly hundreds, of millions who have died under communist
regimes in the twentieth century, and especially how one of Marxisms
top goals is the eradication of religion. I know communism is fundamentally
based in anger and revenge and is a direct contradiction to the tenth
commandment. But if I should have dealings with a non-believer, how am I
to tell him that I am against communism and make a credible argument if
technically, I dont even know what communism is? How can I win over
my enemys heart if I dont know who he is? . . .
I know this doesnt mean every Christian should read Marx or Freud,
but God calls each of us in different ways . . . And I know
especially in todays world, understanding is what will win someones
heart, not just spitting at them that communism (or any anti-Christian
philosophy) is evil; how often are Christians stereotyped like this in the
media, as being ignorant buffoons who still think the earth is
same goes for following the news, events in the world . . .
can this be a virtuous reason for watching the news? How I will win my
unbelieving neighbour over to the faith if I fit the mould of the stereotyped
Christian, who doesnt know anything about the outside world, who just
responds with a naïve smile, I dont know, I believe in Jesus,
will I defend the faith in classes here at university, when it is attacked?
We need to be educated, even St. Josemaría Escrivá talked about
thisprovided that your cultural education is a means and not an end,
that love is the end and nothing else.
this to say, it seems to me there is a certain value to secular education
and even having some idea as to what is going on in the world
should we be involved in politics in some way then? Or should we opt-out
entirely? . . . And I do agree we have gone too far to the
other extreme, its quite ridiculous how much protesting there is going
on. But for the salvation of others, should we not have some sense of the
happenings in the outside world, and the history of the world, so that we
will know how to dialogue with them, so that people wont think of
Christians as ignorant and stupid?
our question, even with my considerable
editing, is still quite long; within it I find four major topics: the nature
of real Christian community; the need for Christians to have a good
education; the need for Christians to be aware of current events;
and the place, if any, for politics in Christian life.
I agree that it can be very tempting
to look back nostalgically at early Christian communities. Yet the truth
isnt what we might think it to be. Psychologically, there is something
fundamental about Christianity that makes any Christian community problematic
and ultimately leads to division. As odd as it may seem, that
something is love.
Ancient Jewish communities were
held together socially by legalism, even if it often tended to hypocrisy.
Even smaller Jewish communities, such as the Essenes, for example, who existed
within the larger Jewish social structure, maintained their identity for
several hundred years through their own particular variety of
Saint Paul, however, made it
clear from the beginning that freedom from the law distinguished Christianity
from Judaism. Christianity is based in a mystical love for Christ, not in
the mere adherence to the Law. Christianity transcends legalism with
lovebut, as I said, that is where the problems start.
is a matter of sacrificean act of the willbut all too often it
becomes corrupted by those who believe that love is a feeling.
Instead of remaining unified by the personal sacrifice of mystical love (and
the enormous spiritual battle that this entails),
Christian communities can easily become divided by individuals who challenge
tradition by following their own feelings about theology and all the while
telling themselves that they are acting from love.
Saint Paul had to contend with
these factions and divisions as a way of Christian life; in fact, he had
to direct much of his writing to resolving community disputes. Moreover,
as time passed, as converts aged, and as their close-knit communities loosened
in later generations, full-blown heresies, such as Arianism, developed. All
that division derived from individuals saying, Well, Im not sure
about such-and-such. Thats not the way it feels to me. So they
started arguing about what love felt like to them, rather than
clinging to the deep tradition of mystical love.
And thats where we are
today. Weeven bishops, priests, and deaconssnub
the rubrics, and defy Church law because we feel that things should
be done our way. We are obedient all right, but only to our own
pride! Its ironicand sadbut
Christianity is torn apart by divisions and arguments about
If you started
a Christian community today based in real love it would begin to disintegrate
after the second generationif not before. Only a return to legalism
in some way could save it. Even Roman Catholic religious orders today are
held together more by their laws than by real love. (Sad to say, because
of my clinical work I have heard some shocking and heart-breaking stories
about the lack of love among religious.)
Now, in the midst of all this
division, it often happens that various individuals
seek to return to real community. In fact, such persons are the hope for
the Church in the coming tribulations. But the community they seek
must not be an idealized imagination about times past; it must be a
community of truth: the truth of mystical love, not humanistic
Psychologically, then, only if
you understand the truth about community can you then comprehend how issues
such as education, familiarity with current events, and politics have a
placeor notin a genuine Christian life.
God gave each of us unique talents,
and it is the spiritual task of each of us to develop
those talents. For everyone, some basic education is a necessity, and
for many persons higher education may be necessary.
I studied science
and music in high school; in college I began as a math and physics major,
then I switched to English literature along with sociology and art. My first
masters degree came from a Protestant seminary where I learned about
scholarshipfrom the inside out. My second masters degree was
in education and counseling; my third masters degree and my Ph.D. were
in clinical psychology. So it should be clear that I value
As you say, your talents may
require you to study political science and sociology; other persons may study
law or medicine or philosophy or whatever. All that matters is that Christians
fulfill their talents so that those talents can be put to good use in Gods
service, in a true community of mystical love.
But note carefully: if education
serves your pride and the ways of the flesh, rather than the ways of the
spirit, then you will reap only death.
I agree that every Christian
should have some sense of what is happening currently in the world. The
psychological question, though, is, How?
Keep in mind that hardly anyone
in todays world, with its massive divisions and overwhelming service
of pride and flesh, has any access to news. News
is an illusion. Today we have only propaganda.
Now, its true in general
that, in regard to information, we see only what others want us to see. Even
my website has a bias. Still, I strive to write from the place of surrender
to truth and love rather than from the place of personal pride. But the news
media know nothing of real love; they know only what they personally
love and want to have noticed and supported in society. So whatever
you read or see in the news is nothing but
Dante did not
live to see the full development of political propoganda, commercial
advertisement, and sensational journalism, but he has prepared a place for
( from her commentary on The Flatterers, Canto XVIII
in her translation of Dantes The Divine Comedy I: Hell )
Therefore, if you take the
news seriously, you will be self-deceived and
infected with lies and
What, then, can you do? Well,
I keep informed by visiting a conservative national website
(Fox News) and reading only the headlines. I do not waste my time getting
caught up in reading the stories behind the headlines. All that matters is
that I get a glimpse of what is happening in the world. The why
doesnt matter because I already know the whythe
psychological brokenness that drives us all
So, what do we do with our knowledge
of what is happening?
Well, some persons try to meddle
with it, arguing and debating with other meddlers, hoping to change the behaviors
of others in the community at large. But in doing this they
misperceive community as human
fellowship. Arguing about how to make the world a better place and
solve its problemsall the while ignoring the sin that underlies all
problemsis a fraud. They know
politics, but they know nothing of real
Far better, then, to stop trying
to change the behavior of others and instead focus on joining the real community
of love. There you can learn to pray constantly
and be cleansed and polished spiritually so that real love will reflect off
you for the illumination of others. Noticing the love that
motivates you, others might come to desire it,
cast off their propaganda, and want to join your community.
Let the wicked
continue in their wicked ways, the depraved in their depravity! The virtuous
must live on in their virtue and the holy ones in their holiness!
Remember, I am coming soon! I bring with me the reward
that will be given to each man as his conduct deserves. . . . Happy are they
who wash their robes so as to have free access to the tree of life and enter
the city through its gates! Outside are the dogs and sorcerers, the fornicators
and murderers, the idol-worshipers and all who love
Psychological Healing in the Catholic Mystic Tradition
by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
A treasure of a resource for psychological
and spiritual healing. Information gathered from my websites is now available at your fingertips
in book form with a comprehensive index.
Psychological defenses help to protect us from
emotional injury, but if you cling to the defense mechanisms that were created in your
childhood and carry them on into adulthood—as most everyone does unconsciously—your quest
for spiritual healing will be thwarted by overwhelming resentments and conflicts.
Still, God has been trying to show you that there is more to life than resentment and
conflict, something so beautiful and desirable that only one thing can resist its pull:
So now, and in every moment until you die, you will have a profound choice between your
enslavement to old defenses and the beauty of God. That decision has to come from you.
You will go where you desire.