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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

What do the mystics say about prophecy? What about Biblical predictions of the “End Times”? I hear so many conflicting things about this that I don’t know what to think.

Outline of the Answer
• Introduction: Repent and Pray Constantly
• Using Knowledge to Avoid the Cross
• Doing, Not Knowing
• Staying Out of Sin

 
Despite a variety of personal experiences through the various social crises of the centuries, all of the legitimate Catholic mystics have heard in prayer—or have been told by apparitions of the Blessed Virgin or of Christ Himself—the same two things: repent, and pray constantly. That’s it, and that sums up the nature of a true Christian lifestyle. No matter what the particular crisis of the time, only one course of action ever needed to be taken: repent your sins, and pray constantly for your own protection and for the conversion of others.

Therefore, you don’t have to know anything about prophecies of the “end times.”

 
Using Knowledge to Avoid the Cross

Nevertheless, you can find many Protestants who are always talking about the “end times,” even to the point of making the Bible seem like it holds some sort of mysterious secret about “what’s going to happen” that has to be unlocked with special knowledge. But this approach to the Bible is just a form of Gnosticism (from the Greek gnosis, having knowledge), an early Christian heresy that thinks salvation is dependent on what you know.

And you can find many Catholics today who chase after apparitions and visionaries, eagerly awaiting the next weekly or monthly “message.” All of this running after fairy lights in the dark is just a psychological avoidance of the hard drudgery of carrying the cross in suffering service to others.

 
Doing, Not Knowing

Real Christianity depends not on what you know but on what you do, because real Christianity, as all the genuine Catholic mystics have verified, is based in one thing, and one thing alone: love. To love God with all your heart and mind and soul, to turn away from your sins and desire nothing but holy service to God, and to pray constantly that God’s will be done in you, in your neighbor, and in the whole world: that is the soul’s expression of love.

Listen to what Christ said about salvation:

   

THERE  was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
     Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law. How do you read it?”
     He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
     Jesus replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live” 

   

—Luke 10:25-28

Notice the words. Christ did not say, “Know this and you will live.” Instead, He said, “Do this and you will live.” That is, if you love the Lord, your God, “with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself,” then you will live.

Read an excerpt about faith and knowledge 
from an instruction by Saint Columban
 

 
Consider these words carefully, and notice the mistakes into which you can fall if “knowing” is your unconscious motivation:


   

Complacently Knowing.  To “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind” is a profound commandment. You cannot fulfill this command merely by sitting around complacently knowing that God exists.


   

Preoccupation with the Social World.  You cannot love the Lord, your God, “with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind” if most of your heart, most of your being, most of your strength, and most of your mind are preoccupied with knowing the corrupt social world and its lust for sin. For example, the Seven Deadly Sins—pride, wrath, envy, lust, greed, gluttony, and sloth—which are the functional basis for most cultures today, all serve one self-indulgent purpose: to push God out of your heart, out of your mind, and out of your being. Therefore, when the desire to know the social world leads you into complacency or self-indulgence—or even spiritual pride—rather than self-sacrifice, there is a sure violation of the greatest commandment.


   

Lack of Concern About Your Salvation.  To “love your neighbor as yourself” also has profound implications. If you love yourself in the true Christian sense, you will be concerned primarily about your salvation. Therefore, to love your neighbor as yourself you will be concerned primarily about your neighbor’s salvation. If, however, you use your neighbor for the purpose of knowing your own narcissistic pleasure, you drag both of you into sin. And if you use yourself—whether it be your body or your God-given talents—for the purpose of knowing your own narcissistic satisfaction, you deny your neighbor the benefit of your helpful service, and so you drag yourself into sin. Either way, then—that is, when you mistreat your neighbor directly or indirectly—you have broken the second greatest commandment, and, because you’re mired in sin, you have broken the greatest commandment as well.

 
Staying Out of Sin

Consequently, your greatest task in life should be to stay out of sin so that you can love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind. If you do this, and if you endure to the end (see Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13), it will make absolutely no difference when the end finally comes.

 


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