You will remember from your days of basic training how to keep your patient from that odious occupation called prayer. The astonishing thing is that the little chimpanzees actually believe they are talking to the enemy himself!
Happily, in this matter we rarely have to go beyond our basic training. You know the ground rules: keep the brutes busy and keep them distracted. It is better to keep them busy and distracted with all the delightful entertainments of our world, but if that fails, keep them busy with what they think is the enemy’s work. I had one female patient who spent her entire life running around ‘helping people’. She thought she was doing ‘the Lord’s work’ when in fact I had very carefully made her into the most troublesome gossip and busybody. She was one of those who ‘lived for others’ and you could tell the ‘others’ by their hunted look. In the end she was obsessed with her mission to help others, and when she was brushed off or didn’t receive the gratitude she wanted she was deliciously horrible to everyone. Even when she came down to us she was looking for people to help. The ‘others’ soon gave her the truth about herself. She was eaten up by it.
I’m happy to say that keeping the little rodents busy and distracted works for most of them most of the time. However, should your patient decide to take prayer seriously (and during this season they call ‘Lent’ that is a real possibility) make sure that he spends all his time asking the Enemy for things he wants. The pleasing thing about this is that the thickheaded little amateur doesn’t even know what he wants, and so he will very likely ask for things which, if he got them, would only help to bring him closer to our eternal feast. Your patient may try to experiment with other forms of ‘prayer’ like liturgical prayer, adoration, meditation or contemplation. If he does, make him feel bored, restless and irritated. Remind him how many important things he has to do, and that he is really wasting his time. He’ll soon get up off his knees.
Most of all, keep your patient from the most horrible practice of praying the Rosary. How I hate the clattering of those tacky beads and the sound of old ladies (of both genders and all ages) rattling off those silly repetitious prayers. It stinks Hogwart! It’s so common–so lacking in taste!! Do you know when it comes to ‘praying my beads’, even some of my most educated and sophisticated patients don’t seem to mind behaving like fat, ignorant Italian peasant women? I’ve seen a perfectly respectable college professor–a man who otherwise was one of my most successful cases–suddenly start reciting the rosary. He even bought beads that smelled of roses and kept them in a plastic box with a picture of that nauseating little French girl Therese Martin. It’s unimaginable that the Enemy would stoop so low. It’s a cheap trick, Hogwart, cheap, nasty and just plain disgusting.
I must go. I’ve just noticed that one of my patients–a very conservative Catholic–has started to read a book on the Renewal Movement. This could be very dangerous! I know it is a tedious subject. but I will try to write a bit more about prayer tomorrow.
Yours in haste,