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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

What about terrorism? Surely we have a legal right to avenge ourselves.

Outline of the Answer
• Two Fundamental Points
• Agents of Evil
• Not Innocent
• Pushing God Out of Our Lives
• Fight Fire with Fire—and Sin
• Real Lives of Christian Peace
• God’s Perfect Justice
• Only One Wisdom

 
When saying anything about terrorism, it is important to keep in mind two fundamental points:

1.

The agents of terrorism are agents of evil.

2.

Those attacked by terrorists are not necessarily innocent.

 
Agents of Evil

Now, the first point is self-evident. Using any means that they can—bypassing all rules, all justice, all fairness, all truth—terrorists seek to undermine and destroy all that opposes them. And that is the essence of evil, because evil will stop at nothing to achieve its own satisfaction.

The second point, though, is often overlooked.

 
Not Innocent

We need to remember that no secular government on this earth seeks to do only God’s will. This country, for example, was founded on the pursuit of happiness, not on the desire for holiness. So there are many things in our society which are legal or socially accepted that are not holy and so don’t deserve to be defended. Abortion ... divorce ... assisted suicide ... artificial birth control ... embryonic stem-cell research ... lifestyles defiant of chastity ... immodesty ... pornography ... prostitution ... marijuana ... exploitation of workers ... exploitation of the weak and helpless ... abuse of the environment ... greed ... gluttony ... self-indulgence ... and all contempt of Christian values in general. These things should be repented, not defended.

If these things are not repented, however, we push God out of our lives, and in the process we push away His protection. 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
in vain do its builders labor;
unless the Lord watches over the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch.

—Psalm 127:1

 

Read an excerpt from a homily by St. Macarius, bishop
about a soul that has lost its master

 
Pushing God Out of Our Lives

And so, even though Christ commanded us to return a blessing for any insult and gave us the Golden Rule (“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12), when we push God out of our lives, we push away even the Golden Rule. Then we put ourselves in a very bad place, because without God’s protection backing it, the Golden Rule is useless. Without God’s protection backing them, those who don’t defend themselves with their own hands will be annihilated by evil as soon as they turn their backs.

  

A presidential candidate in a South American country ravaged by terrorist kidnappings ran on a platform of peace. She invited the terrorists to negotiate, saying, “Come on, guys, let’s be nice. Stop the kidnapping.” So what did the terrorists do? They kidnapped her.

  

 
Fight Fire with Fire—and Sin

Therefore, any civil government that rejects God as the center of its being—and therefore rejects God as the only source of peace—has only one alternative when attacked by evil: to take matters into its own hands and fight back. Without God’s protection, it has to fight fire with fire—and sin. Without God’s protection, it has to fight evil with evil, hatred with hatred. Consequently, it is left holding the Satanic inversion of the Golden Rule: Do to others what they do to you. Deceive them and kill them. That’s called revenge.

So, you say you want peace?

  

When you fight hatred with hatred you will certainly get burned yourself.

  

And have no doubt that Satan knows this. If he cannot destroy you directly with a frontal attack, he will try to make you destroy yourself through your own sins of hatred and hostility that you employ in retaliation for being attacked. Then he will be your accuser on the day of your judgment by God, pointing out that your betrayal of love for the sake of revenge proves that you do not love God. Then you will know the truth: that you were duped, duped by your political and military superiors into believing that you were serving God by killing the enemies of your country, when really you were serving the devil.

 
Real Lives of Christian Peace

Note that when men such as Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, St. Martin of Tours, St. George, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Jerome Emiliani, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. John of God, and St. Camillus de Lellis fully embraced Catholicism they gave up all their childhood illusions about military power, laid down their weapons, and took up real lives of Christian peace. They understood that the ultimate welfare of any soul must be a personal, not a political, matter.

If you want to preserve your own soul, therefore, turn your attention to defending the Magisterium of the Church: repent your own wickedness, detach yourself from the wickedness of the world, turn away from the pernicious ideal of revenge, live in chastity, and pray constantly. And be prepared to suffer for witnessing your faith, because all true faith leads only to the cross.

Pray especially for the morally weak and the spiritually blind who have been duped by evil into becoming terrorists.

Pray that all self-indulgent social impieties in our culture of “self” are seen for the sins they are, because these sins are what provoke terrorists in the first place.

Pray also that politicians who support these sins are brought to repentance, because, even though they have been using the masses to do their dirty work, all their talk about “serving your country” has just been a ploy to increase their own status and power, and, in the end, they will find out the hard way that they, too, have been duped by the devil.

 
God’s Perfect Justice

When we encounter individuals who commit offenses and seem to “get away with it,” the irritation that we feel is justified, but we can also be drawn into the desire to take matters into our own hands and get revenge. If we remember, however, that every crime—every sin—every offense against love—that a person commits is an offense against God that will be accounted for during his or her judgment at death, then we can understand that no one can evade God’s perfect justice. All sins will be paid for. If the sins are not repented, they will be paid for in hell, but if the sins are repented they will be paid for in Purgatory, thus demonstrating that mercy is a fundamental part of God’s justice. To trust in God’s justice, then, is to set aside our anger for the injuries inflicted on us and to let God administer His own justice according to His will.

 
Only One Wisdom

In all of this, there is only one wisdom: If you want to change the world, begin by changing yourself. If you want the world to be more fair, treat the world fairly even when you are treated unfairly. If you want the world to be more kind, treat the world with kindness and return a blessing for every insult. Show the world by your good actions—not by military power, political sentimentality, or protest—that you are willing to live according to what you profess to believe. Regardless of how the world treats you, live the true Faithanyway.

Let your country trust in itself, because, sadly, that’s all it has. But you have more, if you want to claim it: “Jesus, I Trust in YOU!

 

Who wrote this web page?

 


 
Recommended Reading
 
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips in book form.

 

Disasters and Trauma by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. explains how an event is traumatic because it disrupts your previously secure sense of self. Consider that wild animals live with a constant, sharp awareness of perpetual danger, yet most people live with a naive—and deceptive—sense of safety and security to the point of denying their basic vulnerability and fragmented sense of self. So when something disastrous happens, the psychological damage from the shattering of your illusions about life and identity may be more problematic than any physical damage.

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