Friday, October 27, 2006

The Suffering of Solitude, Saintology and Assignment Closure

I was on assignment for over three years for a soul in great need. Since the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, 2004, the suffering and assignment was active. I can't go into it here or now, but it has been HUGE. How could you believe it? How could I describe the pain of body, mind, heart and spirit--for this one soul?

He has been nearly six months in treatment, now. It is the path of psychology, and I have learned by necessity to choose the science of the saints, or "saintology" as my means to navigating this world, for I have no health insurance. Besides, a psychologist might not comprehend what I express, as it is very bizarre to the secular world. Yet, the assignee, the soul for whom I have been asked to suffer and of which I agreed, is on a track of psychology, of the 12-Step Program, Sexaholic Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, therapy, direction, physical training--all very good, but it all seems to pale compared to saintology.

What has been termed by psychology as narcissim, the saints would call "selfishness". They would treat it with almsgiving, self-denial, and mortification. What psychologists term "histrionic personality disorder", the saints would call "wanting to be noticed". They would treat it with more mortification and humility. What psychologists term "sex addiction", the saints would call the vice of "lust". Many have been known to beat the lust from their very flesh; St. Anthony flung himself naked into a thorn bush.

Saintology works, given 2000 years of success stories.

But I couldn't seem to make a dent in my assignee's stubborn insistence to go his own way, to rely much on therapists not plugged into saintology, and to gain advice from other deviant and disturbed "guests" in the treatment center. Then there were the phone calls and contacts with past friendships, still connected with some of his problems. Some of the statements made seemed outrageous, for one of his training and vocation.

My patience wore thin. It often does. A saint might have stuck it out. Or, a saint might have been intolerant sooner, thus showing courage and strength to confront and challenge to an even higher degree than what I did. But I wrote a letter and basically brought to closure my active duty, at least for now. It was a rather harsh, stern letter: direct, sincere, clean-shot.
I haven't heard back. This somewhat bothers me as I must discern if I have not done the Lord's will in handing this soul back to him on the paten, as I did at Mass on the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Yet, it was becoming senseless, or so it seemed, to spin the wheels, to not let go of my assignee who seemed dead-set on going his own way, or rather, not the way of saintology.

In the past three years, due to the nature of the assignment, I could little discuss it. This is like being on the special forces: only vague references, or some detail to a rare few. As the assignment came to a point of needing to report, the stakes were high. Now, in a transition as the assignee prepares to leave the treatment facility, a graduation seems in order. But somehow, it seemed best that I return to interior work rather than any exterior interactions on this case.

The assignee must be let loose to go and grow, for better or worse, in God's will or his own will. We shall see. Well, some will see; it may not be my place to see at all, not anymore!

In the meantime, I have had much grieving and concern for this soul, all week. Perhaps more prayer and penance has been conferred on his behalf as a result, than what has been offered for awhile. The solitude of this assignment, especially now of not having counsel from those in charge--the men in the offices, so to speak--has left me like the agent abandoned.

Thankfully, one person has been of consolation. I am grateful to God for this one! And brief confessions have helped, sometimes more, sometimes less, as in these times no concrete advice could be given, so sensitive the situation. No, it was left for me, by God, to discern. I did so like a person trying to make arrangements for her death, while a couple of breaths shy of dying, not knowing what was coming next or how to proceed yet having to make decisions.

I left it with the assignee that I had to go on. I couldn't wait for him to decide at what level he wanted (or not) to pursue the spiritual life, the path of holiness, the way of perfection. I could not dally in the valley of neediness of being approved or liked, of reading St. Augustine and not acting upon the choice he acted upon, oh too little too late, as the saint later lamented.

Somehow I am in this state of solitude, and tonight I must offer to God to accept it, to accept the solitude of an assignment either finished in the active phase or finished for good, by His will and desire, or else finished because I could not see what else to "do" or how more to continue. It was kind of a tough love decision, I suppose, although I'm not sure what the saints would call it. I didn't do it gently, and perhaps I didn't build upon the good the assignee has accomplished. But his ego at times seems too much as it is, and the saints hacked down egos to humble pie. They did this mostly to their own, but St. Padre Pio wasn't known for his white gloved treatment of souls in the confessionals. No, he wore bloodied mits and said it how it was, sometimes shouted it how it was.

This is all part of the suffering of solitude, of the suffering involved in being a victim soul. There are unknowns in the work, and God obviously is allowing my grieving for this soul, for a reason, and for me to go through the pain of closure. I must look into the future with hope, while remaining very much in the present moment alone, unsure of the job I've done, and more feeling as if I have failed, perhaps, or not. I really don't know. It is a closure in itself, and one of pain in itself, mortifying, not to know the outcome of the assignment. Maybe I could say it is like an agent finishing his or her part of the mission, and knowing nothing more and the probability that nothing more is to be known.

But there is always prayer, and offering suffering, without anyone ever knowing except God. In this way, the assignee may benefit; and so there is hope and joy, after all, in the letting go.