The Roots of Rage

The first experiences of life take place while we are still in a sub-linguistic and sub-rational existence. For the infant, and certainly for the unborn child, life is nothing but a stream of emotional and instinctive stimuli and reactions. We exist in those pre-rational and pre-linguistic years in an emotional and instinctive soup, and the reason this is important is that just as in these early years our mind and body is forming, so our emotional life and emotional resources are forming.

This is why God ordains that we are conceived in a moment of self giving and beautiful love between a man and a woman, and that this conception takes place within the sacrament of marriage so it is also blessed and inspired by God. Likewise, the first nine months in the womb are to be a time of peace, health, love and happiness for mother and child. As the child receives nourishment from the mother, so he also receives love, confidence and peace. These contribute to a healthy and confident child. If the atmosphere is also one of spiritual nurture, prayer and worship, then the child’s spiritual life also receives a healthy and confident foundation.

What happens though, if those happy circumstances are not in place? What happens if the child is conceived in rape or in a moment of drunken “hooking up”? What happens if the child is carried for nine months in an atmosphere of hatred, worry, anger, rage and fear? I believe the foundation of the child’s life is therefore one of rage, fear, lack of trust and violence. The root of his rage as an adult is at the very foundation of his or her personality. Outward circumstances are only the fuel for that rage. The rage will be there and will find a focus.

Are we surprised that our society simmers with an undercurrent of rage, violence and fury? For fifty years now we have witnessed increased promiscuity, break down of marriage, disintegration of faith, abortion, disruption of community life and the decay of the extended family. Children are born into broken homes, conceived in rape and drunken-ness and drug addiction. When they are born they are shoved into day care and ignored by parents, and now we have repeated the pattern into the second and third generation.

Do not misunderstand me. This is a complex matter. I am not saying every child who is adopted will be a criminal or that every broken home must be a place of hopeless dysfunction and despair. Nor am I saying that the racial, sexual and economic tensions can simply be blamed on promiscuity and broken homes. The social problems are real, and should be addressed and furthermore, I see the same symptoms of rage and fear in families that are not of a racial minority, are well of financially and seem to be functional on the level of social niceties.

I am speaking of the deeper sickness of the human heart–the lack of love which causes fear, which in turn causes anger and rage. I am speaking of the heart’s great wound–the longing not just for human love, but for the unconditional love of the Great Father. The message of the Christian gospel is that the wound can be healed. The broken heart can be restored. The sin can be forgiven. The darkness can be banished by the light.

But for this great wound to be healed there must be a constant turning to God and a constant sacrifice offered for the healing of the nations. Only as that sacrifice is offered and lived and the Divine Love is seen to be alive in the world can our broken hearts and our broken world be healed.

Is this possible? Yes. I have seen profound healing through prayer, loving support of the Christian community, the sacraments and the rosary. However, it is not magic. What is required is great faith, hard work, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a gentle, perseverance in first understanding the roots of rage, then opening the heart and mind and the memories to the forgiveness and healing of Christ. Sadly, there are far too few competent priests, healers and counselors who are familiar with this theory and method. The demands are huge. The numbers who can help are few and far between.

Too many priests are totally ignorant and suspicious of the healing ministry. Too many counselors dismiss the spiritual and emotional dimension. Too many of those who do believe in Christian healing are cranks and charismatic kooks. Nevertheless, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the healing prayers of the church individuals can be changed, and the only way we will change our world is for Christ to change one person at a time.