About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“From six in the evening, his martyrdom had continued through the ghastly night until nine o'clock in the morning. After fifteen hours of torture rarely if ever surpassed in the bloody annals of the Iroquois, the soul of Gabriel Lalemant was freed from its charred and mutilated prison and summoned to join his comrade Jean de Brébeuf in the radiant splendor of God. March 17th, 1649, was the date; for Brébeuf it had been the sixteenth.”
— Fr. John A. O'Brien, speaking of St. Gabriel Lalemant

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Why isn't insight and grace enough to overcome denial?
published 27 May 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

The Rector of my seminary is making long term plans for the curriculum. After jotting down everything I said I liked to teach, he smiled and asked, and what is your real passion presently?

“Hmmm! I know! It’s denial. I hate denial in myself and others. As a philosopher I tend to think that denial comes from lack of insight. Plato thought that knowledge led to virtue, but we know that we need grace. But some of us have insight into our worst traits and grace, and we still aren’t much better at virtue. Why?”

“Okay, why not work up a course called 'Denial: Insight and Grace,’ my genial rector asked. So, now I am picking everyone’s brain on what are the elements besides insight and grace that have to enter the picture to produce virtue?

Here are some candidates:

Unless we are willing to suffer in whatever way would be necessary when we want to choose our vice, fault, defect, or flaw, we won’t change. Example: I talk too much. Unless I am willing to accept the suffering of biting my tongue when what I want to say is neither edifying or charitable but just frisky anecdotal one-up-manship (one-upwomanship?) then I will not be able to talk less.

Another suggested candidate is to recognize that the devil wants us to do the evil, wrong, or inappropriate thing. So we need spiritual warfare prayers to move from denial to insight, to actually receiving the grace God is offering us and the devil is trying to deflect. Example: When I am dying to say this sarcastic, juicy, uncharitable thing, I could pray this way instead – “Guardian angel, protect me against the devil’s wiles right now.”

Your challenge! Can you flood my comments section with good ideas from your own experience of victory over denial? This could make my course someday be an inter-disciplinary Watershed virtual offering! Hurrah!

Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.