It's getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that something is very wrong in the Church and in the world. One of the symptoms is the current epidemic of narcissism. In a much earlier post, I mentioned the fact that, according to published reports, Pope Francis has decried the fact that narcissistic behavior is apparent, even at the level of the Vatican.
So, if that's the case, we can expect to see much disorder in society as well. It's a pious believe that what happens in the Catholic Church, founded 2,000 years ago by Christ himself, is reflected in the state of the world. So it's no surprise that Pope Francis, the 266th leader of the Church, is hoping to change some hearts.
Yesterday, while watching Mass on EWTN, I was struck that the celebrant, in his homily, also mentioned the huge problem of narcissism and its attendant proud, arrogant and haughty behavior.
So, how do we survive, when narcissists seem to be everywhere? I certainly don't have all the answers, but here are a few things I've learned from an unfortunate encounter with church bullies, whom appeared to suffer from what psychologists call narcissistic personality disorder.
- Keep Your Expectations Low. We are living in very disordered times. Don't expect a perfect church experience.
- Watch Your Back. Be careful whom you trust at church, especially when you're just getting to know them. Troubled times breed troubled souls, and many of them gravitate toward church, hoping to find a purpose in life. Sometimes, these people can become extremely territorial and psychologically aggressive.
- Change Parishes. If a situation becomes intolerable, and a chief instigator manages to make life difficult, your spiritual life may suffer. Moving away from this toxic environment is probably your best option, even if it means driving a distance to Mass.
- Pray a Lot. This can include special prayers for spiritual protection, which I've talked about in the past, and will discuss again in a future post.
- Pray for the Bullies. People who emotionally abuse others are in dire, desperate need of prayer and conversion. We'd hate to have this jeopardize their eternal salvation. We are praying for them to become the people God wants them to be.
- Life is Short. This too shall pass. Very soon, for all of us, we'll enter eternity. Will yourself to forgive these bullies. With time, this is possible. Don't let them keep you out of Heaven.
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