Tag Archives: Psychology
Laudie-dog is pointing out one side of a two-turn race course, the deep banked holes assisting in skidding to stop after flying through the air, and, using the now banked up back yard, instantaneously turning about, flying in the other direction. Landing on the opposite side of the yard, there is the same skid to stop banked up hole, exactly the same, identical, just in reverse. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
Laudie-dog looks bewildered as this race course of changing of course doesn’t belong to her. This was created by Shadow-dog because Shadow-dog thinks he’s clever. Shadow-dog is a maniac. Behold, Saint Paul speaking of when he was a maniac, running from his good religious plan right into sin and back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, with his good religious plan being the same as his sin, you know, because he is the one doing it under his own “power,” which, of course, is nothing:
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” (Romans 7:14-24).
The idea here is that Saint Paul is critiquing his manipulative usage of religion as a way to congratulate himself. Note the constant mantra of egoism – “I” – “I” – “I” – as in “I myself come up with a religious plan that I think is good for me and I’m clever and I can save myself by my religious plan because I’m so special! Look at me! Look at me! I’m saving myself! /// He’s saying that that kind of attitude is B.S., or better, Chicken S***, inasmuch as what he’s depicted himself as is a chicken with it’s head cut off, running around mindlessly like it’s all normal and good. There are those who don’t get this until they read the last verse which I didn’t include above. You’ll see it below, but don’t read it just yet.
Let me tell you of another crowd who have been a very large part of the crisis of priests not knowing who they are, and of the abuse crisis. They knew the last verse cited further below, but purposely went out of their way to ignore this. There’s a psych institute over in Rome connected to the Pontifical Gregorian University which trains up sisters and priests in psychology to be staff psychologists at seminaries right round the world. Their guru guy, a Jesuit priest, but actually a guru guy, Rulla, cites this passage as the be all and end all of proof that God made a mistake in creating us, or better, that God created us in a way that encourages us to save ourselves with coping mechanisms, you know, to cope with all the mistakes God made in making us. In other words, as I heard one student of Rulla say, “We’re the first ones in the history of the Church to find a way to save ourselves!”
I have very many friends who went to this psych institute and I bought the expensive books of Rulla and the institute, such rubbish, and have studied it all with some intensity. I offered the critique about Rulla’s treatment of this passage of Saint Paul to one particularly close friend who was a student of Rulla. He threw such a hissy fit. He left the lunch table angry and pouting and wouldn’t sit at the same table with me or speak to me for weeks. Finally, he apologized and said I was right. Then, after many years, having become a seminary rector, he contacted me though another friend to repeat that, yes, indeed, I was right. How’s that, you ask?
My critique is that they don’t think of sin, at all, even though Saint Paul here speaks of sin repeatedly. And that’s why they then don’t think of redemption. They don’t think of Christ. Saint Paul does. Behold: after criticizing himself, casting aside coping mechanisms such as is also a manipulative use of religion, Saint Paul points us directly and only to Jesus who is the One to save him, wretch that Saint Paul, on his own, is:
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).
Do we change course by running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth? No. Christ Jesus reaches down and grabs us and snatches us up close to His pierced Heart, and we say: “My Lord and my God.” Thank you, Jesus.
/// Having said all that, don’t think I’m against a good and wholesome psychology. If one takes up the Sacred Scriptures, the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross and Saint Therese of Lisieux, to name but a few, one will be able to glean a well rounded and useful psychology, but this is all based on a good, honest friendship with Jesus Christ our Lord.
I categorize this post with “Missionaries of Mercy” because I insist on all this talk of Jesus to my own peril. One makes enemies in this way. Some years ago over in Rome, while I would ever so quietly mention my opinion, the Rulla-ites, overhearing this, would go so far as to threaten a major public debate. They were actually beginning to plot this as something to be held at the Lateran Basilica of all places, that being chosen cleverly, however, as it is the Cathedra of the Successor of Peter. Perhaps one day.
Shadow-dog is slightly larger than Laudie-dog. But Laudie-dog is, apparently, smarter than Shadow-dog. She successfully took over Shadow-dog’s wolf-cave. She is just so laughing on the inside at her brilliant pawipulations. Shadow-dog looks bewildered that he’s been had in his own wolf-cave by someone who’s not even a wolf. Laudie-dog has the run of the whole house, so I told her to come out, and she did, happy to show me, however, that she’s definitely top dog. Shadow-dog was content that he had his own kingdom once again.
Mind you, it’s not that Laudie-dog wanted to take over Shadow-dog’s cave. It’s that she wanted to make sure that he’s jealous of his wolf-cave, so that he insists on staying there and is not tempted to cry to have run of the house as well. Hah.
Meanwhile, Shadow-dog is no fool. He plays the game, letting Laudie-dog think that she has tricked him so that she is content now to stay out of his wolf-cave, banished to life outside the wolf-cave. Double HahHah! His bewildered look above is instead a pleading with me to play along with him in his double-reverse ploy. Yes. Fine. I’m good with that.
Meanwhile, they’ve both teamed up to
manipulate me… pawipulate me into thinking that I’m the true landlord of the house. At any rate, everybody’s happy.
I have to wonder how our guardian angels deal with the likes of us. Jesus says that they see the face of God right now, and then… and then… there’s us. Goodness!
Just like a textbook study. It’s like this guy is an ossified manualist turning pages and checking off database indicators, still not realizing that baiting baiters can be double reversed, or is that…? But this guy is waaaay too clever for that. This is the guy who writes the manuals. ;-)
Anyway, very quickly in the last number of hours he’s dissociated himself from himself, in two steps.
- Firstly, he has made of himself not just the speaker for people of the present time, but also for all peoples of past ages, a spirit — dare I say a holy spirit in his mind? — who is disembodied from the stalker himself, you know, an other.
- Secondly, it is no longer he who is doing the stalking (as that would be bad), but rather it is merely a spirit, apart from himself, who is doing the stalking, a spirit, however, in whom he revels.
The first level of dissociation is not reached by many before they are tossed into prison for unspeakable crimes. He’s now gone a step beyond that.
Typical in all this is the intensity of ideology. The more he tries to claim he is “of tradition”, the more he falls into referencing cultural indicators of ephemeral merely extrinsic value. He’s lost the plot if he’s ever had it. The prouder he is of being in control of that which he mocks, the more he reveals himself as a fraud. Perhaps he begins to see his own inconsistencies and how much he’s revealed about himself. And then he becomes afraid of his own failure, afraid of his own revelation and, you guessed it, he runs away from himself. And this is what flicks the switch, when people, in such self-made dissociation, become violent.
The problem is that even those who do this for a living, that is, baiting and evaluating and writing reports, can fall into their own trap, unbeknownst to themselves, and take matters into their own hands, believing their very own baiting. Not having the plot, the reality of who we are before God, they become their own reality. It all falls apart from there.
Either we have our identity in Christ Jesus or we crunch in on ourselves. But what to do for the one who, so utterly dissociating his good image of himself from the other he has created comes to an impasse and cannot find “closure”, some sort of logical fix. Perhaps they are to absolved of any malicious intent at that stage. But, as Cardinal Ratzinger way back in his seminary days said, an erroneous conscience does not sanctify.
Update: I’m re-posting this as I found a picture of a mangy donkey…
Easter Sunday evening until today [Easter Monday night 2016]
My neighborhood, in fact, in front of my little rectory, was the epicenter Easter Sunday evening for what so far seems to be the world championship dog happiness days, happy, that is, to get away from what seems to be some ill treatment against them. There were a couple of our friendly police trying to assess the situation, and there were dogs everywhere, six in view and uncountable others screeching and howling and barking, that is since Easter Sunday evening until today, Easter Monday, pretty much non-stop, all night. This recording is taken from my phone. Sorry it’s not very loud. In person, it’s really, really loud:
Meanwhile, someone on yet another street over got out a super-loud martial-law-enforcement-quality public address system, about enough to make the windows of this part of town shake, and — incredibly — started to berate the dogs, as if that was going to do any good. Honestly. The dogs did stop for a few seconds in amazement, but then went on with their happy mayhem.
The dogs that I happened to see were in pretty good shape, unlike the one pictured here. They were thin, but able to run around, at least because it seems they were happy not to be where they had been until that time, which may have been some sort of confinement. There seems to be a consensus among the dogs that the immediate neighborhood of the rectory is safe territory. Wherever they had been before, they seem to run straight here for refuge. I haven’t seen these dogs since I was in Rome until just now (the beginning of February 2016 until Easter Sunday evening).
Mind you, dogs on the loose often smell of rotted fish or whatever carcass they happen to be happily chewing on, but these smelled like their own feces, really rank, really bad. Dogs might eat their own vomit, but they don’t ever roll around in their own feces. What happened is what I want to know, or maybe not. I’m guessing they had been locked up for these months with plenty of food and water, but were never checked, and somehow got out. Nature finds a way. But maybe that’s a silly guess. Did the owner die back in February and the owner has yet to found dead today?
At various times during the night (it was really loud!) I went outside and stood in the street, immediately surrounded by the dogs if they weren’t happily rampaging elsewhere in the neighborhood. They would quiet right down and come up respectfully for a pat on the head, and then lie down then and there to get some rest, right on the road, totally exhausted as they were. Then I would go inside and the mayhem would start all over again.
I was out talking with the neighbor just after 6:00am, and he said that the animal control crowd is going to come by to pick up what animals they can get in our neighborhood. It’s a dogs life, a dog eat dog world.
Holiness is for the dogs
Can’t let this go by without making an analogy, right? How about reading some fallen human emotions and feelings of whatever kind into this kind of doggy situation.
Over in Rome, when my leg was in pre-op traction with some 13 breaks and the traction bolt having been pounded literally right through my heel, with bits and pieces of bones coming out in multiple places, an Archbishop friend came to visit. Many weeks later I thanked him for having taken the time to come by, and he said that surely my happiness and patience at the time was all a bit of a façade, that I had instead really been suffering. It’s not that I was faking it, as it were, but I can see his point; latching on to happiness was, I suppose, a kind of coping mechanism. But, I mean, I would rather go that way than into despair.
So, what about the suffering underneath the surface thing, dragging all the past into the present and projecting it into the future and pulling all that back into the present in one heap of dark existentialism, all with a façade of happiness? It can happen, just like with the dogs chasing about here and there and everywhere, happy to be out, but being pushed into running about in happiness by the great suffering they have endured and are still carrying with them, anxious as well, about what will now become of them. But right now, for the sake of distraction: Happy! Happy! Happy! Hmmm….
Add to that for ourselves that we’re dealing not only with the effects of original sin (weakness of mind and will, temptation, feelings and emotions all over the place, knowing that all is not right with God if we are apart from His grace, sickness, death), but also of whatever effects of our own sin. Self-inflicted suffering is still suffering.
Our is so often the mistake of the dogs, feeling that not all is right even if we are in the grace of God. We look for mercy as an escape, not realizing that, in justice (for ourselves) we must retain the just consequences of sin chosen with the sin as a matter of God’s own justice while we are in this world, a justice which, unbeknownst to us, is the very foundation for mercy.
- Did not Jesus stand in our stead so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, with justice providing the foundation for the mercy? For the sake of His sorrowful passion (justice) have mercy on us and on the whole world (mercy).
- Does not Jesus use the just consequences of our sin, our weaknesses, as the cross He commands us to pick up and carry though meanwhile looking only to Him, following Him? The weakness is the occasion for receiving the mercy of joy, God using our very weaknesses to have us turn to Him, that which could be an occasion to drag us down being the occasion to have us look to Jesus for His strength.
Ignoring the implications of all that, spiritual directors so often offer merely psychological coping mechanisms to lull a person into thinking that they are making progress, when, instead, such Pelagian self-medication cannot save us, cannot introduce us to a personal friendship with Jesus. No matter how many rosaries, holy hours, masses, no matter how much fasting and almsgiving, one can be left with such coping mechanisms with grit determination to be nice covering over a whole lot of repression of the just effects of sin. That’s a recipe for disaster. But this is absolutely typical spiritual direction. It’s insane.
The purpose of the spiritual life in this world is not to be introspective, and its certainly not to be more whole, and nice, and balanced and wonderful, and effervescent. No. The purpose of the spiritual life in this world is Jesus dragging us into reality away from our hell of denial, dragging us right to Himself on the Cross, right through all of hell broken out on Calvary, right up to Himself on the Cross, so that we can thank Him not with fake happiness of any dog on the street, but with the true joy of the Holy Spirit.
The catastrophe of self-referential, self-congratulating, self-absorbed, Promethean Neo-Pelagianists (those who equate psychology and the spiritual life), is that they deny that the spiritual life is about love; they effectively deny that we cannot go to heaven without dragging others there. Thus, psychologically someone might seem to be on an even keel until for some unknown reason the person is thrown into a spiritual tizzy. The psycho-spiritual director might say that this or that aspect of one’s childhood is surely coming to the fore or whatever other stupid thing. Meanwhile, it is just the blinders coming off the person’s eyes just a little bit more as occasioned by the need of someone else of whatever time and place in the Mystical Body of Christ, not that one carries the other person’s cross, but because one is carrying one’s own cross better as occasioned by the need of the other person. When one is simply faithful to Jesus no matter what, this makes one’s very life into an act of intercession for others. How about let’s let Jesus be our spiritual director in His love? I think that that’s the way to go. After all He’s the Way.
The upshot: Just because we are mangy dogs at the beginning of the spiritual life doesn’t mean that we are not already dragging others to heaven. One is saintly inasmuch as one has the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity from the beginning. Sure, one can grow. Whatever. That’s good. But don’t ever feel left out (even if you feel that way!) just because you bear all the more intensely the effects of sin, with Jesus letting you know all the more accurately whence He called you. Even the greatest of contemplative saints, to grow, must go by this way of dragging others to Jesus (by intercession) by carrying one’s own cross all the better. To judge where we are in the spiritual life is not the thing to do. The thing to do is to get direction about how best to be faithful in whatever circumstances one find’s oneself in, letting Jesus do what He needs to do in the greatest most tender solicitation for our eternal welfare and that of others.
The spiritual life isn’t a mind game. It’s love. God is love. Rejoice!
Even I rejoice, mangy dog that I am!
Or is it that I’m a mangy donkey?
Sometimes I think I’m having too much fun. It’s Jesus’ fault.