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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

The Reason for Church Doctrine

If you have died to sin
how can you continue to live in it?

 

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Introduction | Explaining and Communicating | Heresies and Creeds |
The Point of Doctrine | Corruption and Hypocrisy

 
WHO WAS Christ? Who is Christ? These are questions that remove us from an immediate experience and demand an intellectual explanation of that experience.

 
Explaining and Communicating

Now, imagine how it was for the Apostles and disciples who lived with and followed Jesus: they had intimately experienced Him in their lives. They knew His compassion, His wisdom, His love, His divinity. They felt Him in their hearts, and they didn’t have to ask themselves anything more than, “Do I believe in Him?”

But after His death an entirely new situation opened. As the Church grew, and in order to spread the Gospel, the Apostles had to start explaining Jesus to persons who had never seen or heard of Him. And that’s where all the problems began.

How could three years of experience be communicated? Which events were more important than others? And how should any particular event be interpreted?

 
Heresies and Creeds

No wonder we have the admonition from Hebrews: Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching (13:9). No wonder creeds had to be composed and heresies stamped out. Experience is pure, childlike and innocent, but the explanation of it has to flow through the briars and thorns of language and intellect that shred purity into tatters. The psychology of teaching the Faith is not simply a matter of knowing the love of following Jesus in person; it also becomes necessary to answer the questions, “Who was Christ?” and “Who is this Christ?” And in doing so, we enter the realm of doctrine.

 
The Point of Doctrine

So what’s the point of doctrine? Many persons today talk of developing “Christ consciousness” or of making use of “Christ energy”—as if these were commodities of some sort—and they see Jesus as a man who achieved the highest level of humanity, just like Buddha or other wise teachers. But, quite frankly, in Catholic doctrine, Jesus didn’t achieve anything of His “own,” really—His life in this world was an act of God. And that makes all the difference in the world.

As an “act of God,” Christ doesn’t come into our hearts through meditation or ascetic practice—or through political acts of social justice. He comes to us when we choose to die to sin and give ourselves to Him in love. It’s an act of surrender. A serious Christian doesn’t seek Christ to get something but instead simply offers Christ everything. After all, Christ, as true God and true Man, offered us everything.

  

Though He was in the form of God,
Jesus did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at.
 
Rather, He emptied Himself
and took the form of a slave,
being born in the likeness of men.

  

—Philippians 2:6–7

An experience of sacrifice—of love—does not need explanation. It simply is, just like God says, “I am that I am.” But without doctrine—however tattered—we lose the understanding of the “act” of God, thereby also losing the meaning of holy sacrifice—and all of our own sacrifices then become only an act of the self. Lost in pride, with divine meaning lost, with no sense of doctrine to guide us, we pull everything with us back into the darkness.

  

The real point of rules is to help us stay in an enlightened place of humble obedience to love. When you say, “I won’t do this!” or “I’ll die if I have to do that!” or “I want to do it my way!” every I-I-I from your mouth is a defiant expression of Self-Self-Self which flows from Pride-Pride-Pride, and it all plunges you, like a reverse-baptism, into the arrogance of Sin-Sin-Sin.

  

 
Corruption and Hypocrisy

Now, it’s true that the Catholic Church through the ages has had its share of individuals—laity, religious, and clerics alike—who have been corrupted with hypocrisy. And even today hypocrisy, along with heresies of progressive liberalism, New Age impiety, feminism, and lifestyles defiant of chastity, continue to undermine the true teachings of the Church. Nevertheless, anyone who calls himself or herself Christian has an obligation to return always to the truth that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It’s the truth that Christ revealed, that the Apostles preached, that the Fathers defended, that the Catholic mystics have confirmed—and that Catholic psychology now helps to explain.

Why go to Church if it is
filled with hypocrites?

 

The Tradition of the Catholic Church has preserved the essential instructions Christ gave to the Apostles, but the Bible itself records only a small portion of what Jesus did and said during His ministry in the last years of His life.

Much happened, therefore, that never got recorded.

But, “through the remarkable visions that God granted to Anne Catherine Emmerich, people of today are allowed to witness some of these profound and stirring events” (TAN Books and Publishers).

These visions are so psychologically astute, and they so astonishingly explain the divine mystery in all of Christ’s actions, that any serious reader will discover an entirely new dimension to his or her faith.

 

Books from this website

 
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.