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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

But there are real social problems that need to be fixed. I need to be involved in the fight. How else will anything get accomplished?

Outline of the Answer
• True Christian Life
• The Social Role of a Genuine Christian
• Fear of Facing Psychological Darkness
• The Greatest Human Service of All Time
• Imprisoned in Self-deception
• God’s Perfect Justice
• Liberation for Everyone

True Christian life has nothing to do with politics. It’s simply a matter of each individual soul finding its freedom in God through total commitment to Christ. Granted, there may be political effects of such a lifestyle, for if everyone did what Christ told us to do, we would have perfect social justice—and peace on earth. Sadly, everyone doesn’t live this way—even most so-called Christians do not live this way—and so we don’t have perfect justice. And we don’t have peace. 

Questions and Answers:
About human rights and the U.S. Constitution

The Social Role of a Genuine Christian

The social role of a genuine Christian, then, is not to force others politically to live holy lives but to show them, through personal example, how to live holy lives. And this means praying for your enemies, not fighting to suppress them politically, or protesting them, or seeking revenge.

Read Anyway,
attributed to Blessed Mother Teresa


The real battle, therefore, is between Satan and your soul, not between you and other persons. Have no doubts that Satan will tempt you through others in every way he can, to induce you to turn against your baptismal promises. And God will allow him to tempt you, as a way of strengthening and purifying your soul.
So what is the point of reforming the world if you lose your soul in the process?


The testimony of the mystics provides ample evidence that if you do trust completely in God, then God will take care of you, and you will be inspired to accomplish more work of more holy and lasting value than you can possibly imagine.

Fear of Facing Psychological Darkness

So why would someone focus on social problems rather than on living a personally holy life with complete trust in God?

The answer is, “Fear.” Fear of facing his or her own deepest psychological darkness.


Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?


—Matthew 7:3

Even atheists perform political works of social justice. And their hidden unconscious motive is to compensate psychologically for their spiritual emptiness that is a private, interior terror for them. In other words, the motive for social concern can easily derive from a narcissistic attempt to make  yourself  feel useful and wanted. That’s a hard statement, but only when you have learned to deny yourself according to genuine religion will you understand the difference between love and pride—and the difference between justice and terrorism.

The Greatest Human Service of All Time

Remember that the Blessed Virgin performed the greatest human service of all time, and yet she went back to being a nobody for the rest of her life. Despite all she knew, and kept close to her heart, about the personal life of the Holy Family, only a tiny portion of it made it into St. Luke’s Gospel—and you can bet that he would have written more if she had let him. And why was she so humble? She understood humility to its most profound depths because she had carried the glory of God within her. And that experience showed her how insignificant all human accomplishments are—and how useless is the pride taken in them.

Imprisoned in Self-deception

Therefore, unless your desire to make the world change—as you believe it should change—comes from an awesome reverence for the glory of God, and profound humility, you’re standing on the brink of pride. Activism is the first resort of those who don’t understand prayer. If religion for you is just a role or a job, or if you have to be disobedient or get yourself arrested just to feel socially useful, then you will be imprisoned in nothing other than your own self-deception.

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.

Liberation for Everyone

Real Christianity, then, is liberation for everyone, including the poor and the oppressed. But it is not a political liberation. It’s liberation from the slavery to sin. It’s the liberation that comes from looking the prevailing culture in the eye and saying, “We don’t want your empty riches and glamor. We don’t want your Hollywood movies and cable television. We don’t want your alcohol and drugs. We don’t want your abortions and divorces. We don’t want your pornography, prostitution, adultery, and contempt for chastity. We don’t want your gambling casinos. We don’t want your sports. We don’t want your cut-throat business competition and exploitation of the weak and helpless. We don’t want your political squabbles, your terrorism, or your wars. We want only Jesus Christ, and in Him we are free.”


Let the wicked continue in their wicked ways, the depraved in their depravity! The virtuous must live on in their virtue and the holy ones in their holiness! . . . I bring with Me the reward that will be given to each man as his conduct deserves. . . . Blessed are they who wash their robes so as to have free access to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates! Outside are the dogs and sorcerers, the fornicators and murderers, the idol-worshipers and all who love falsehood.


—Revelation 22:11–15


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