Yesterday a friend called me and when I mentioned the name of Our Lord in the course of conversation, she started off on a huge tirade of hate, saying the Christian God was mean to her and blaming Him for her difficult work situation and the ethnic prejudice she experiences. She’s not often like that but she has done it before. She’s a cradle Catholic who left the Church and is deeply into yoga and neo-Hinduism.
After letting her vent, I observed that the reason she blamed Him and not Shiva was because deep down she knows that Jesus Christ is alive and responsible for the world, and Shiva is not. I advised her to try to get enough sleep, even if it meant cutting back her volunteer teaching at the yoga center, and not to be too hard on herself. Psychologically that seemed to be sound advice – I’ve struggled with work burnout too – but I wonder if there is a spookier side to it. The purpose of yoga is to open a person to “spiritual” influences which are by definition not of Christ. Some years ago my friend told me of fellow yoga disciples who would not sleep at the yoga center or at her home for fear of demons or ghosts. I didn’t think much of it, because I knew these people and was aware that they had mental health problems. Still, one never knows… I got to thinking that my friend never pronounced the name of Jesus during our conversation, but called Him “that one”. What was she afraid of??
Can any of you give me advice on how to help my friend, both on the human and the spiritual level? I offer prayer, adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and hearing Mass in intercession for her. When she is more relaxed we often talk about spirituality and she does lend an ear to my witness on behalf of Christ and His Church, for whose traditions she still has a kind of sentimental respect when she is not in these moods. Mostly I have tried to be there for her and be a good listener, but in a situation like this, “good listening” alone seems dangerously unhelpful.