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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

I can’t believe what I just read. I am a Catholic and a psychotherapist. I think you need to step into [the present] and out of the dark ages. I suggest you broaden your horizon; then maybe you could help today’s society.

 
Every psychotherapist knows that when a client says, “I can’t,” the client really means, “I won’t.” And it’s usually because of his or her fear that the client won’t do something.

Now, as for doing what Christ told us to do—deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me—even Saint Teresa of Avila understood the difficulty of it all:

And His Majesty, as one who knows our weakness, is enabling the soul through these afflictions and many others to have the courage to be joined with so great a Lord and to take Him as its Spouse.
You will laugh at my saying this and will think it’s foolishness. . . . I tell you there is need for more courage than you think.

—Saint Teresa of Avila
The Interior Castle
VI:4. 1–2.

And so you yourself have named your own problem: you can’t believe. Or, to be more honest, you won’t believe. In your case, we can see by association that the “dark ages” signify your fear, your spiritual darkness.

  

When the Roman Empire collapsed as a result of barbarian invasions and the destruction of Rome, all of the technological expertise of the Roman culture was lost as well. In the following centuries, the Dark Ages of Western Europe were dark because of the loss of secular learning. But there was no loss of faith. In fact, during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church provided western culture with its only light, its only source of human dignity and hope.

Today, we are awash in technology. We are so overly dependent on trust in gadgets—and the glorification of the self that they buttress—that most persons have lost any sense of trust in God. And so we are on the brink of a new Dark Age—a spiritual Dark Age of ingratitude, insolence, and atheism, lost in its own spiritual blindness.

  

Where Christ is, there is light. The mystics have been confirming this for ages, and it’s just as true now. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (cf. Hebrews 13:8).

But where Christ is, there is also the cross, which Christ commanded His followers to take up and carry. Yet, in their spiritual blindness, many so-called Christians today have thrown down the cross and run from it.

And there you are, in your personal dark age, angry and blind. But, since you won’t believe, there isn’t anything left to say to you, except—for your sake, and for the sake of your clients’ souls—to remind you of what God Himself told Ezekiel:

  

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear Me say anything, you shall warn them for Me. If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he (the wicked man) shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked man, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

  

— Ezekiel 33:7-9

 


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A Guide to Psychology and its Practice
 

 
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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.