My neighbor – not at all a believer – wonders why so many men and women religious come to my office door. “Oh well, do they need it? ! “, she exclaims when I tell her that I receive them in therapy. Proof that you don’t even have to be a Christian to think that those who have a vocation directly become saints, or in any case angels, without a body, without a psyche and without conflicts.
It seems that many of us think the same way and it is even a kind of conditioned reflex. When “he” or “she” has received a call to consecrate his life to God, do we not make him apart, a little disembodied? Especially “he”, it seems to me, when we see with what reverence some can address the young priest of their parish.
We all need to have an ideal. Admiring certain people and identifying with them is what helps us move forward. But our basic problem, that of our humanity, is that we want everything, immediately, and completely. Chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis therefore constitute a magnificent summary of psychology. Therefore, when you idealize, you go straight for it, but it’s unconscious. We want to have everything and, by extension of this same reflex, the other must be everything. We would like the people we admire to be perfect. They are installed on a pedestal and they must not move on pain of being quickly doomed to moaning.
This is what recently happened to a number of community founders. Far from me the idea of wanting to exonerate them of the terrible damage which they could engender and of their responsibility. But what interests me here is the idealization that underlies these reflexes. Because, if it is an unconscious characteristic of every human being, there is perhaps also a collective dimension to this tendency to spiritualization above ground.
The men and women religious that I receive give me leads. Of course, they are not representative of all the communities or of the Church as a whole, but what they tell me resonates with all these scandals of recent years. “In my community, you have to forget yourself, not take care of yourself, your emotions. To take account of the psychic is almost a sin. Suddenly, nobody gives up. After a while, we put on a role and we all end up playing role plays. We are very much in the spiritual, but the real does not follow. It lacks speech, life, flesh. “
Perhaps we have separated the top from the bottom a little too much, the spiritual from the carnal? Maybe contrary to what my neighbor thinks, a spiritual journey is not a graceful dance in ethereal spheres? Didn’t the spiritual have, for a long time, a connotation of the world above, separated from the world below, that of the flesh, a little despised?
While to be born from above, we must also be born from below, that is to say enter into a relationship with the depths of our human nature, of our body, our instincts, our impulses, the part of our be traditionally seen as inferior. To really make the link, the concrete experience of what our religion of the Incarnation has to teach us.