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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

Thank you for this website. You’ve saved my life, I think. . . . But none of the priests in my Church preaches these things. None of the parishioners [that I know] lives this way, and none of my family and friends lives this way. What am I supposed to do now?

Outline of the Answer
• The Truth
• Snatched by Demons
• Getting It Wrong
• The Few—and the Rest
• A Few Good Friends
• A Constant Vow
• With Trials as a Teacher

 
Welcome to the true Catholic Church. This is the pain of it all. Once you have had your eyes opened to the truth, then you will see clearly that hardly anyone else understands—or even desires to understand—the truth.

 
Snatched by Demons

The truth is, the Christian faith is simplicity itself. It doesn’t require a philosopher to understand it. It simply requires a chaste and pure life dedicated to holy love. But, as one of my clients told me, “Yes, it’s all so simple. But until the mind has been cleansed of all the filth of its anger and hostility and resentment, it can’t see how simple everything is.”

Yes, if you are carrying resentment, you can’t carry the cross.

Judas Iscariot carried his own resentment and ran from the cross, and individuals like him will continue in the Church to the end. It’s a bit like that science-fiction movie from the 1950s, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, such that we always have to wonder about how others may be hiding their emotional wounds behind an outward appearance of “service.”

That seemingly nice usher back there—is he a genuine example of community service, or, in his anger at his parents’ arbitrary use of authority, has he been snatched by liberal humanism? That seemingly devout woman praying the Rosary over there—is she a genuine example of piety, or, in her humiliation by childhood abuse, has she been snatched by a drive to feel socially important? The priest at the altar—is he a genuine model of surrender and courage, or, in his resentment at his parents’ lack of love, has he been snatched by a subversive plan to undermine Church tradition? The bishop himself—does he genuinely want to feed the sheep, or, in his fear of his alcoholic father, has he been snatched by an administrative pragmatism that would feed the sheep to the wolves in order to keep the wolves quiet? So, yes, let us wonder how many seemingly devout Catholics have actually been snatched by demons and don’t even know it.

 
Getting It Wrong

After the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, when illiteracy became the norm of the general population, the average Christian depended on icons and preaching for guidance in the faith. And for centuries thereafter, even with the Renaissance in the West, lay Catholics depended on educated clerics for religious instruction.

Now that’s all well and good, except for the fact that when the clerics get it wrong, everybody suffers. And that is precisely the case in the modern world. Most priests today feed their flocks little of any holy substance but offer them, day after day, the spiritual equivalent of potato chips and soda pop—or, as it is in many parishes, coffee and donuts. Instead of teaching the people to seek the bread of angels, parishes feed them the junk food of demons. Furthermore, religious education has, more often than not, fallen into the hands of those who dissent from the true faith. Religious educators, seduced by the social world around them, like the ancient Hebrews embracing the idols and abominations of the heathen lands around them, now place their “faith” in the diversity of secular values derived from humanistic psychology. And all the while the bishops, like shepherds terrified of the wolves, run from the cross with their tails between their legs.

Do you know how people often snicker when they hear the words “military intelligence,” thinking it to be an oxymoron? Well, true Catholics feel the same way when they hear a reference to “Catholic education.” And, even more sadly, especially in the US, the same is true of the words, “holy bishop.”

So I will say it plainly, and yet with tears and sadness: if we can think that being a good Christian means no more than going to church on Sunday, praying the Rosary, and then enjoying ourselves the rest of the time, and if we’re not willing to spend serious time in prayer and reading spiritual texts by giving up social media, TV, movies, video games, and constant texting on your mobile device, then we’re in serious trouble.

“What’s wrong with these things?”

“They corrupt your mind and lead it astray by opening it to demonic influence—and you won’t even be aware that it’s occurring.”

“That’s ridiculous. I use Facebook and Twitter and watch TV and movies all the time, and I don’t see anything wrong with them!”

“That’s what I just told you.”

Sadly, we’re all in danger of having our minds snatched by evil, and most of us don’t even realize it—even those who have already been snatched.

  

But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. . . . For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.
 

  

— 2 Timothy 3:14–15; 4:3–5

 
The Few—and the Rest

Nevertheless, even though you may not know of them, there are a few who seek Christ at all costs. They are quiet and humble, and they bear their suffering silently, so you may not notice them or think much of them when you see them.

Aside from those few, the rest don’t want to do anything it takes to live holy lives; instead, they want to live in comfort. They enjoy the satisfaction of thinking they lead holy lives, and yet they balk at accepting the hardships a holy life entails.

  

In the old days, martyrs allowed themselves to be cut to pieces and burned without so much as a whimper. Today, most Catholics faint at the thought of a pinprick and lack the courage to defend anything other than, well, their own complacency.

  

 
A Few Good Friends

So, when bishops and priests offer a watered-down version of the faith, and when the people around you act with ignorance and irreverence before the divine mysteries, resolve that you will do anything it takes to be a good friend to Christ. He needs a few good friends right now.

As for the others, pray for them anyway, and let your life be a humble example, for them and for all. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Now, and always.

 
A Constant Vow

Living the true faith is a lonely place to be, and you won’t be able to survive unless you cling to prayer. So keep in your heart the constant underlying prayer, “O God, protect me from the darkness and evil in the world around me!”

Moreover, cling to a constant vow—your spiritual mission, as it were—that you will remain pure no matter what happens in the world around you. Tell yourself that whether you are attacked or seduced you will not succumb to sin.

In every difficult situation, be aware of your feelings of hurt and resentment and irritation and temptation; acknowledge the fantasies that come to you; and then tell yourself, as an act of will—of love—“No, I do not want to do these things. I will remain true to my mission.”

Finally, pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. I’m so alone. Give me the courage to remain pure no matter what happens around me. Deliver me, O Lord, from all attacks and seductions; deliver me, and protect me in all these trials. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. . . .”

 
With Trials as a Teacher

You might wonder why some persons grow to such great spiritual heights and why others make so little progress. Well, Saint John of the Cross explains it.

  

And here it ought to be pointed out why so few reach this high state of perfect union with God. It should be known that the reason is not that God wishes only a few of these spirits to be so elevated; He would rather want all to be perfect, but He finds few vessels that will endure so lofty and sublime a work. . . . There are many who desire to advance and persistently beseech God to bring them to this state of perfection. Yet when God wills to conduct them through the initial trials and mortifications, as is necessary, they are unwilling to suffer them and they shun them, flee from the narrow road of life [Mt. 7:14] and seek the broad road of their own consolation, which is that of their own perdition [Mt. 7:13]; thus they do not allow God to begin to grant their petition. They are like useless containers, for although they desire to reach the state of the perfect they do not want to be guided by the path of trials that leads to it.”

  

—Saint John of the Cross
The Living Flame of Love,
Stanza 2.27

 


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The text of this webpage, integrated with other material from my websites, has been conveniently organized into a paperback book of 350 pages, including a comprehensive index.

 

Though Demons Gloat: They Shall Not Prevail
by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

 
Though we are attacked by liberal activists from without and by apostasy from within, the true Church—that is, the body of those who remain faithful to Church tradition—weeps, and she prays, because she knows the fate of those who oppose God.
     Our enemies might fear love, and they can push love away, but they can’t kill it. And so the battle against them cannot be fought with politics; it requires a pro­found personal struggle against the immorality of popular culture. The battle must be fought in the service of God with pure and chaste lifestyles lived from the depths of our hearts in every moment.

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