This is why such a soul experiences excessive sadness and despair soon as signs of its own lack of integrity show up, with the consequence that it immediately feels unacceptable to God.  That’s why a sick soul is always hiding the truth from itself, the mechanism for which is endless self-justification. And why the correction of such a soul is always taken as rejection.
(more)
___________________
 
On Helping Souls That Are Being Tried
Do not lose your serenity on account of those who are being tried.  Pray for them; offer the sufferings of My Passion and some acts of self-denial, some self-imposed sufferings for them.”
Jesus to Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity
 
When souls are being tried, what they need from you is deeper love of Me—so that, through you, I may give them the grace they need.  So you see, you need your serenity even more at such times.  Do not try to buy peace for souls by losing your own!  Offer up your act of self-denial at such times, so that the soul who is suffering may get the grace to accept in joy what she cannot change—through your free offering of love.  You will see more and more how you are all instruments in the communication of My Love, for one another as for yourselves.  The more you will understand that, the more you will love one another.
_____________________
 
On Feeling Unloved
Only the realization that I love you now, I, Jesus, who know all your misery, all your sins, the failure of your whole life, only the knowledge that I Who know how underserving you are of anyone‘s love, yet love you nevertheless with the Love of God Himself, can take away the pain and anxiety of feeling unloved by so many persons, and not undeservedly.
_____________________
 
 The Age of St. Bernard’s is not like Ours.
St. Bernard, commenting on the Canticle (Song of Songs)

"Or perhaps, drawn away and seduced by his own concupiscence, he is still being dangerously tempted. Such a soul as this does not need a Bridegroom but a Physician, and for this reason receives, not kisses or caresses, surely, but only remedies for wounds in oil and ointments."

Yes, Bernard, in your time this was true — for the time had not yet come to force men willy-nilly from the highways and byways to the wedding feast. Men were still strong and able to overcome concupiscence with a help of the Physician less than the Kiss of His Mouth, less than the embrace of His intimacy. But now we are as children, impatient as we are weak, and needing, therefore, to be fondled and kissed by the Mother and her spouse, by Mary and Jesus.  0 Bernard, those of your age, who could help yourselves, needed the Physician only to supply the ointments of which you speak. But we need the Kiss of this Bridegroom who condescends to the weakness of little ones, like this little one who is too weak to help himself and therefore cries out:
"Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth, for thy breasts are better than wine.  For my justification now is not that I am healed by the ointments of the Physician, but that I am in the arms of His Mother, that it is her purity that makes me worthy of His embrace, not my virtue."
_____________________
 
If Something Is Painful
It seems I always assume that if something is painful, it is evil and to be avoided. Then, when I am suffering, I begin to think, and I do not rest until I have discovered some truth which I hope will remove the pain. But I do not think I do this only because I want to avoid suffering: it is rather that I look upon suffering as a sign that I am wrong somehow, that God is displeased with me, and therefore something in me must be changed.
    

Posting Twelve (cont'd)

   

Curing Souls That Cannot Take Correction (Cont’d)
To someone who does not understand this condition, it might seem to be nothing more than pride.  And it is, materially, since the sick person does love his own excellence unduly.  But the reason is not because he wants to rejoice in his own excellence, as is the case with the person who is proud in the formal sense, but rather because he feels unacceptable to God unless he is perfect. We can see this in the observed fact of "perfectionism" as a neurotic characteristic.
 
When these signs of his own lack of integrity persist, the troubled soul feels that he will be condemned by God, even though he wants to love God and be accepted by Him.  And in this lies the principle of his cure. This conviction that God must reject him because of the soul’s sinful inclination is of course theologically false, and this falseness has to be communicated to the troubled soul.  But it cannot be efficaciously communicated in the form of a lesson in theology. The relation to God is a personal relation, and the emotionally troubled person must be helped in his relation to God in and through a personal relation to some person who is trying to help him, someone who can convince the sick person, above everything else, that he is loved and accepted as he is.  Only then will a troubled soul be able to face what he is, where his defects are, what they are, what his evil motivation is, how far he is dominated by that evil motivation, etc.  In all this there is an identification of the psychiatrist, priest, counselor or friend, whomever is helping him, with father, mother, and ultimately with God.
 
And in this way the disposition of such a person becomes open to the fullness of his relation to God. Knowing that the counselor or friend he loves and trusts loves and accepts him, he is disposed to believe this more and more of God — and this is especially so if the father-mother figure uses this opportunity to teach him about his relation to God, and how it is theologically impossible for a soul, no matter what sins it has committed and how many, to be rejected by God when that soul comes to God.  Such a soul must be taught the meaning of Christ's redemptive act, that He came to save sinners, "to save what was lost." And such a soul has to learn to see that it must do violence to its own feeling in this matter of trusting God.  It must be taught to see that at a purely emotional level, God will be felt as an enemy in the face of our sins, and that to the extent that a soul acts in accordance with its emotions, its relation to God is false therefore.  Because God is not the enemy of sinners, but a Friend. 
Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” (Lk 19:5)
In this way a healthy conscience is formed, and the foundation for a sound spiritual life — of which the whole principle is truth, the two-fold truth, of God's Goodness and our own perversity, and the living realization, therefore, that our relation to God exists in principle only because of His Goodness, and that this Goodness is never denied to us when we go to Him — in fact our very going to Him is the effect of that Goodness.
We can see here, too, why neurosis is a kind of duplicity sui generis, because the sick soul  cannot face the truth about itself — that would make it feel rejected by God (authority).   So therefore it is driven to live in a contrived world where it can feel acceptable — perfectly acceptable, in rebellion against an objective order and the authority of truth.  Not that it succeeds in this — but that is its mode of living. The sick soul must feel perfectly innocent in order to be accepted. And therefore it is continually seeking to prove its innocence, to justify itself no matter what — which is, objectively speaking, the essence of duplicity or hypocrisy.  And yet it is not hypocrisy in the formal sense because it is only the effect of the need to be loved and accepted, and the neurotic cannot, subjectively, feel loved and accepted in any other way.
 
From all this it is clear how the first principle of counseling such souls is not any particular "technique"— technique is at most an instrument.  The first principle is love, true love, "charity unfeigned." And therefore what a sick person needs more than anything else is this loving understanding and acceptance. For a sick soul has not rejected God. The danger, all too great, is that it feels God has rejected it.
And clearly the Physician needed here is Jesus. But Jesus, too, depends on His instruments, and His instrument in this case is the psychiatrist, the priest, the friend, whoever is helping the disturbed soul. And like any instrument, this instrument is good only to the extent that it responds to the will of the user. And since the User here is God, it is clear that the essential implement of the psychiatrist, or whoever is doing this work, is his charity —  since it is by charity, the union of one’s will with God's will, that makes a person disposed to understand and act as God would want him to.
​______________
    

home