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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"Oh, what sighs I uttered, what tears I shed, to mingle with the waters of the torrent, while I chanted to Thee, O my God, the psalms of Holy Church in the Office of the Dead!"
— Isaac Jogues, upon finding Goupil's corpse (1642)

   Send an E-mail to Dr. Ronda Chervin, Ph.D.
Healing of Co-dependency
published 14 February 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

ere are more excerpts from my journals of 1997:

I was at my husband’s grave at the Eye of the Needle Cemetery of St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California –

This time the dialogue at my husband’s grave went this way:

“So, dear old hubby, are you glad your wish came true? You always wanted to be sure I never married again and became a nun instead. Now I have done it. What do you think? I’m going to be Sister Ronda Marie, a Handmaid of Nazareth.”

No answer.

“You think this old Catholic yentah (a Yiddish name for a woman of the busy-body type) can make it to holiness?”
No answer. But I thought I could detect an invisible grin.

“Yentah, yes! Handmaid, no! is that what you’re thinking old husband?

I drove down the mountain from the Eye of the Needle with a liberated feeling. I am the Handmaid of the Lord and therefore not anyone else’s Handmaid. On the psychological plane, for me being the Handmaid only of the Lord would mean something very definite. I would mean not believing that I have to do everything someone I love might want, for fear of losing their love. Concretely it means, in co-dependency language, setting more boundaries. For me right now that would mean staying away from tasks and relationships that are very agitating and difficult and believing that I will get enough love from God and others without straining to do what I really am not meant to do.

More from Fr. Gregory on anxiety in the night. When come these demons of fear of someday being somewhere without human love, how would I let the real hero, Jesus, smack them down? I suppose I would have to picture each terrifying outcome and carefully bring Jesus into that picture. I must imagine him, my beautiful Jesus, right in the picture, as the consoler, the comforter beyond all misery. Then I would have to pray: Jesus, I hope these things will not happen. They are not here right now. Just for today I will let go of these fears. I will believe that you can take care of me no matter what, just as have taken care of me in terrible circumstances of the past, just as you took care of concentration camp victims, and casualties of all wars. The world you lived in on earth was full of horrors. You didn’t slay the tyrants, but you comforted the sheep and gave them hope. So smack down that demon who wants to tell me that there is no hope, no comfort, only gathering misery.

Referring to Tolkien’s book The Lord of the Rings, Fr. Gregory proclaimed that the true saving “ring” is poverty of spirit, the first beatitude. It is the humble hobbits of Tolkien’s saga who save the day, not Gandolf, the wise magician. Using a more contemporary analogy, .Fr. Gregory remarked that “only the poor of spirit have God’s “unlisted number.” Just dial Jesus and you never get a tape recorded answer.

“If you pray with the mind alone,” the monk told me, “you get the tape recording. But if you call with the heart you get the “hot-line.”

I laughed. He added: “To imagine that you need to analyze everything about life with your mind is not the Catholic way. It is more a fruit of Enlightenment rationalism.”

That last idea really struck me hard. Being a philosophy professor, I have a strong tendency to analyze just at the moment where only heartfelt prayer can bring peace.