The Christian Church Fathers

Christ stated that the Church would last till the end of time and that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.  After the Apostles and early Disciples left their legacy and imprint upon Christianity with their own writings, most found in Scripture, and their own lives, Christianity struggled under persecution but later emerged as the official religion of the Roman Empire.  Various Councils were called that settled heretical disputes and Church Fathers answered the need of the people with concise writings and guidance.  These writings still are a great treasure within the deposit of faith and while not inspired like Scripture carry heavy weight and truth in the faith.

The Church Fathers defended and guided the faith. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Christian Counselors have sources upon sources of spiritual writing on dogma, biblical exegesis , moral instruction and spiritual guidance from the Church Fathers.  The Church Fathers lived in the post apostolic periods in which Christianity suffered persecution in the 2nd Century , blossomed in the 4th Century and continued to grow through the early ecumenical councils of the Church.    Another term for the Early Church Fathers are the Apostolic Fathers.  These early bishops and leaders of Christianity were either young men at the time of the Apostles, or indirect students of the Apostles successors.  Many of these saints faced persecution at the hand of Pagan Rome.  The tradition of great Church Fathers continued at Nicaea where the Nicene Creed was formulated as a basis for the Christian faith.  The the Nicaean Fathers modified the Apostle Creed to further reinforce the orthodox teaching of Jesus’ divinity against the Arian Heresy.  From the 4th Century onward, great Church Fathers would emerge along side powerful early ecumenical councils that would form the identity of the Christian Church and preserve it from a multitude of errors ranging from Nestorianism to Monophysitism and other critical issues that plagued the early church during the ecumenical age.

These writings for the defense and explanation of the faith are a rich resource for priests, pastors, spiritual directors, pastoral caregivers and Christian counselors.  It is hence important to have some idea how to find these resources and know who these men were in relation to Church doctrine and Church history.  The study of the Church Fathers is referred to as Patristics and involves a mixture of history and theology that show the growth of the faith and its articulation of basic dogmas.  The seeds laid by the apostles were merely the beginning of the faith and the Church Father’s mission was to preserve but to also help grow the faith.  This involved reactions to their current times, both social and theological.  Many of the writings clarify teachings of the faith and defend it from heretical views regarding the nature of Jesus Christ and the titles of Mary, His mother.  Through their defenses and the coinciding councils, the faith grew and gave greater explanations about the dogmas that were handed down by the apostles.

The 8 Pillars and 2 Lungs of the Church

A person who is a Church Father must meet a few requirements. They must have lived within the first 8 centuries, wrote  orthodox writings, possessed sanctity and be approved by the Church.

From the extensive period of the 2nd Century to the 5th Century, 8 Church Fathers were given notable recognition by both the Catholic and Orthodox Church and are seen as the post apostolic pillars of the faith.  Their standing and defense of the faith leave them with the titles of Doctors of the Church and of course great defenders of the faith.  In the West, there is St Gregory the Great, St Augustine of Hippo, St Ambrose and St Jerome.  In the East, there is St Athanasius of Alexandria, St Gregory of Nazianzus, St Basil of Caesarea and St John Chrysostom.   All of these saints and Church Fathers played large roles in the early centuries in defining Christian doctrine against heresy and leading the Church in times of trouble and danger.

They clearly illustrate the 2 lungs of the Church, both Western and Eastern, and their importance transcends not only their geographical center but also the entirety of the Christian faith, both then and now.  For instance, Gregory the Great, was not only a Pontiff of the then unified Church, but also a defender of the city of Rome against barbarian invasions.  St Augustine, remains to this day as one of the greatest Christian writers revered in East and West, and Catholic and Protestant circles.  His work, the City of God, is a Christian classic and his defense against the heretic Pelagius helped maintain orthodoxy within Christianity regarding grace.  St Athanasius stands as fierce defender of Christ against Arianism and finally, St John Chrysostom is responsible for the beauty of the Eastern Liturgy.  St Jerome was responsible for the first translation of Scripture into the Latin language.

The Latin Fathers

In the West, including Augustine, Gregory, Ambrose and Jerome are the Latin Fathers who wrote in Latin.  Notable names include St Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, and St Polycarp.  Both Ignatius and Polycarp are said to be disciples of St John the Apostle.  The Epistle of St Clement is the earliest epistle of any Church Father (96 A.D).

The Greek Fathers

St Athanasius defended the faith against Arianism


In the East, including Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil, Athanasius, and Chrysostom are the Fathers who wrote in Greek.  St Justin the Martyr, St Irenaeus of Lyons,  St. Clement of Alexandria, St Cyril of Alexandria, and Origen.

Utilizing these Sources in Christian Counseling

First of all, the lists above are only a sample of the many Fathers.  It is imperative that Christians not neglect these rich and powerful resources for their own spiritual renewal but also for a better understanding of the Christian faith and its dogmas.   Christian Counselors can utilize these sources easily by becoming acquainted with the numerous Fathers and their writings.  There are numerous texts created which collects their most famous exerts as well as resources both online and in libraries where individuals can read the entire work itself.  Of course, like Scripture, most of these are translated from Latin or Greek so it is important to find a reputable translation.

St John Chrysostom is the Father of the Eastern Liturgy


The wisdom of the Early Church Fathers may not be inspired as God’s Word but they carry heavy authority in dogma and teaching.  They provide explanations about the faith and answer numerous questions as the faith grew and developed.  Many heresies today are repeat versions of the ancient heresies.  If one possesses a strong knowledge of the Church Fathers, one will recognize unorthodox doctrine and better be equipped to refute it.

Christian Counselors can also find wisdom in the writings of the Church Fathers and apply it to sessions and guidance of their spiritual children.  St Augustine is a great example of a soul who lost his way but later found the grace of God and converted his immoral life style and became a great saint.  St Athanasius illustrated perseverance to the truth, as he was multiple times chased from his See by heretics who denounced the divinity of Christ.  These individuals were not only great writers and defenders of the faith but many of them were also very holy individuals who one can emulate in one’s own spiritual life.

All are called to discipleship and the Early Church Fathers are excellent examples of what it means to be a disciple after the time of the Apostles.  They teach that all Christians are called to preserve the faith and defend it for their respective generation so that future souls may inherit the faith unsoiled and pure as it was handed down by the Apostles from Christ.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification

Additional Resources

“Church Fathers”. Wikipedia.  Access here

“AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO READ AUGUSTINE’S BIG BOOK, THE CITY OF GOD”. David George Moore. December 4th, 2018.  C.S Lewis Institute. Access here

“Who are the “Fathers of the Church” and why do they matter?”. Phillip Kosloski. February 2nd, 2018. Aleteia.  Access here

“5 Books to Read by Church Fathers”. Gavin Ortlund. July 27th, 2020. Christian Living. Access here

Christian Counseling and Self Harm

One of the most destructive and maladaptive forms of coping is self harm.  Individuals who hurt themselves are not necessarily hoping to die but hoping to punish or escape reality due to past trauma, abuse, guilt, shame, anxiety, depression or mental disorder.  Suicide can grow from it so risk assessment is key, as well as the fact, one can accidentally kill oneself due to the dangerous behavior.

Self harm does not have suicidal intent but looks to punish or distract oneself from mental pain or past unresolved trauma


Many who suffer from self harm are merely hurt individuals trying to escape reality.  They need guidance, counseling and better coping strategies to deal with the emotions and trauma they are dealing with.  Clinical Counselors deal with those who commit self harm and will usually discover a diagnosis as to the core reason why self harm is occurring.  From a spiritual perspective, pastoral and Christian Counselors can also add moral and religious guidance.

The article, “What Is Self-Harm?” by Hope Gillette looks closer at the nature of self harm, the causes, what it entails and how to replace self harm with better coping strategies.  She states,

“When you engage in NSSI, it replaces psychological distress with physical pain, pulling you out of your unhappy thoughts. The trauma to your body also generates a release of pain-killing endorphins, which can give you an all-around, feel-good boost. Being able to escape your thoughts and feel better at the same time can lay the foundation for self-harm to become compulsive and ritualistic. It can become that thing you go to whenever you need to de-stress.”

“What Is Self-Harm?”. Hope Gillette. April 11th, 2023. Healthline.

To read the entire article, please access here

Self Harm

Those who suffer from self harm also need spiritual direction and see the spiritual value of self in Christ


As stated, self harm is not intended as a means to kill oneself, but to punish or escape mental pain.  Individuals who suffer from self harm tendencies look to escape pain from unresolved trauma.  Whether abuse, or severe violence, they look to the physical pain to distract themselves from the mental anguish associated with the unresolved trauma.  This is also common with those who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder as well as severe anxiety and depression.  The physical pain becomes an outlet or escape from the mental anguish.

In other cases, it is a form of punishment to the person.  One may feel extreme shame or guilt and feel the need to inflict punishment upon the body.  Those who are sexually abused are made to feel guilty for the abuse by the abuser and will commonly hurt themselves as punishment.

In essence, this maladaptive form of self abuse without suicidal intent is an attempt to cope with pain and unresolved trauma.  Individuals will cut, burn, bruise, bite, poison and engage is dangerous activities to cope with the primary issue.  It is essential that family or friends identify these injuries or change in behaviors so they can be properly addressed

Unfortunately, many who engage in self harm will attempt to disguise or hide their injuries with longer sleeved shirts or attempt to withdraw more from public and become more private than usual.  If behavioral changes occur and odd interests emerge that include items or medications to treat injuries, then one should further investigate the possibility one is engaging in self harm.

Emotional Self Harm

Individuals however can also harm themselves emotionally BEYOND physically.  Numerous dangerous and high risk behaviors can also manifest.  Individuals may engage in unsafe sex, remain in unsafe relationships, engage in drug abuse, or take high risks with fighting, driving, or various activities.  In addition, individuals may indulge in negative talk about oneself in which abusive names or self labels are applied to oneself.  In other cases, individuals may self restrict as a form of punishment by denying oneself food, water or sleep.

Cognitive distortions are also another way an individual may be too hard oneself.  Individuals who magnify the situation, jump to conclusions, over compare, label oneself, over assume, disqualify oneself, minimize oneself or always speak in the extremes, can fall victim to self punishment and emotional torture.

Ways to Overcome Self Harm

Individuals who suffer from self harm usually require Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which focuses on intense emotions and ways to manage them.  The therapy was primarily developed for those suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder and is a subdivision of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  There are also other special therapies that deal uniquely with self harm itself and how to better manage the emotions that lead to it

Obviously better coping strategies are also essential.  In therapy, individuals can learn different ways to deal with negative emotions from unresolved trauma and abuse.  Individuals can be introduced to meditation, deep breathing, types of prayer, journaling, artistic expression, exercise, reading or finding a good friend to confide in.

Christian Counseling and Self Harm

Self harm can lead to multiple risky and dangerous behaviors. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Beyond the clinical aspects that treat unresolved trauma and correct imagery of self through therapy and dialogue, Christian Counseling looks to help the person understand key concepts regarding Christ and self.  First, it teaches that everyone is dignified and born in the image and likeness of God.  Hence, self harm shames the worth of the human person.  It also assaults the body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Second, Christian Counselors can emphasize how much Christ loves and forgives all things in the past and looks to heal and bring peace to the chaos, consolation to the desolated and security to the anxious.  Christian meditation and focus on the love of God and the value of the human person are key concepts that can help individuals find self worth and better ways to cope with trauma and pain.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification

In addition, AIHCP also offers certifications in Crisis Intervention Counseling and Grief Counseling.  Both these programs can help train professionals deal with the issue of self harm and help those in intense pain, grief and crisis itself.


“What Is Self-Harm?”. Hope Gillette. April 11th, 2023. Healthline.

Additional Resources

“Self-Harm”. Psychology Today Staff. Psychology Today.  Access here

“The Self-Harming Brain”. Terri Apter, PhD.  January 6th, 2020. Psychology Today. Access here

“Biblical Advice For Those Struggling With Cutting and Self Harm”. Michael Williams, PhD. What Christians Want to Know.  Access here

“There’s a Scientific Reason Why Self-Harm Makes Some People Feel Better”. Colin Schultz. October 16th, 2014. Smithsonian Magazine. Access here





Christian Counseling and Borderline Personality Disorder

All suffering, disease, and mental issues are indirectly caused by sin.  When sin entered into the world, so did suffering, death and chaos.  Mental problems while not scientifically caused by sin are still  the indirect results of sin from abuse, trauma and negative genetic dispositions that lead to mental defect.  Christian Counselors try to help individuals from a Biblical view understand mental illness but treatment is always from a clinical perspective by clinical professionals.

Borderline Personality Disorder affects mood stability, self image, emotional security and impulse control in individuals.


Borderline Personality Disorder is one type of mental defect that some may experience when helping others in counseling.  It requires clinical treatment but Christian Counselors can help guide individuals with it through peer support, prayer, compassion and teaching the love and trust found in Christ.  Many with Borderline Personality Disorder feel a severe sense of isolation, fear of abandonment and mistrust.  These intense emotions lead to many of their behaviors. While therapy and medication can aide one in this, the need of Christ is apparent in giving security and hope for those who suffer from these desolations.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental issue that is originally due to trauma, abandonment at a young age, or abuse at the hands of strangers.  It usually manifests in early adulthood and causes a severe problem in forming healthy and secure relationships with other people.   It also causes low self esteem in self perception and can lead to self harm and suicidal thoughts and potential suicidal action.

Those with Borderline Personality Disorder in addition in to insecurity and insecure bonding, also exhibit a whirlwind of emotions that can alter and change within minutes to hours to days.  The individual can be sad, mad, or happy at one moment and then something different at another.  This obviously can be very confusing to a partner, family or friends.  The unpredictability of one emotion from one moment to another can drive wedges in relationships and portray the individual as truly psychotic.

Researchers believe that there is an issue with neural circuits that regulate moods within the brain.  Without regulation, impulsivity, anger, aggression and mood stability are hampered.  Serotonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine play key roles in the pre-frontal cortex in inhibiting emotions from the amygdala and these are not as present with individuals suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

These issues all lead to the impulsive, unwise and unstable behavior displayed by individuals who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder.  It is imperative for one’s overall health and all the relationships one shares to find help and treatment for this disorder.  Many clinical counselors help individuals through therapy but medications that improve Serotonin and stabilize moods as well as unstable thinking..  Among the therapies included are cognitive behavioral therapy, mentalization based therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.

Living with Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Those who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder need clinical care that involves both medication and cognitive therapies.


Perhaps the most difficult thing is to live or be in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.  It can be a serious roller coaster ride.  Unlike Bi-Polar Depression which has swings over periods of the year, mood swings can occur within days or even hours.  One has no idea who one may wake up next to.  The person may be happy or sad or angry or impulsive.  The person may go on a drinking spree or other drugs, or become avoidant.  The person may accuse one of cheating or randomly break up the person and leave, only to return the next day.

This type of gas lighting and unstable behavior is very damaging for the other person.  It is hence important to protect oneself with boundaries and also an understanding of what the other person is going through.  Treatment and carrying through treatment must be a prerequisite for a continued relationship.

Again, spirituality, meditation and Christ are key to individuals who suffer from such mental issues.  Prayer and God can help in therapy and give guidance and inner peace to the turmoil that is running wild in the person.  Christ can become a center of the therapies as a symbol of calm and peace for the person to reach out for.  Again, Christian Counselors cannot treat this type of disorder, but they can help pastorally by implementing Christ into all areas of advice for better healing.  While the individual is medicated or receives various therapies, a Christocentric view can help someone find stability and a central rock.  Christ is the Divine Physician and can help heal and guide all who suffer any ailment and it is important especially for more dangerous disorders for individuals to find Christ.

Christ can supply the love one needs when feeling low, depressed, suicidal, or doubting one’s self image.  Christians can come together and help build a person up against the inner demons who hope to tear the person down.  Those afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder need clinical help but they also need spiritual guidance to help counter the negative impulses of the disorder itself.


Christ’s love, security and calmness are all answers to the chaos of Borderline Personality Disorder. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


If you are a pastor, spiritual mentor or spiritual advisor and know someone in your community or inner circle suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, it is critical to direct one to receive clinical help.  The situation is not only spiritual but also mental and emotional and hence requires mental and emotional aid.  However, the spiritual aspect needs addressed also in a non clinical and pastoral setting where the individual supported by a loving and supporting Christian message.  Whether the message of love comes from family or friends, the Christ-centered message of peace, calm and love is a critical component to healing.  Christ can help anyone facing emotional disruptions.  He can console the sorrowful, give peace to the worried, and security to the unsecure.  In Christ, is a confidence and love that counters the negative emotions in Borderline Personality Disorder.

If you are a pastoral care giver or in ministry, please review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

Additional Resources

“Borderline Personality Disorder”. Psychology Today Staff. August 19th, 2021. Psychology Today.  Access here

Borderline personality disorder. Mayo Clinic. Access here

“Borderline Personality Disorder” 2022. National Institute of Mental Health. Access here

“Why I Struggle in My Faith as a Christian With Borderline Personality Disorder”. Brittany Greene. March 30th, 2023. The Mighty.  Access here


Christian Echo Meditation

Christian Echo Meditation is something I sometimes utilize especially during Lent and when I wish to connect to Jesus during His passion. To my knowledge, I have not seen the concept in any recent publications, but it may very well exist as a practice with some of the saints and mystics.   Hence I labeled it as “Echo” because the meditation, prayer and communication is an echo from the “present” throughout time.  Echo meditation transcends time and in some ways allows one’s thoughts to become in essence a “time traveler”.  One is able to send prayers in a precise moment in history for a struggling saint, or to offer Jesus Christ condolences in the exact moment of His grief.

Through the Incarnation, Divinity entered into the temporal realm. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


For this to work, one must cease to think 3 dimensionally and realize how God recognizes time itself.   Christian philosophy teaches that God exists outside of time.  Classic Thomistic Metaphysics teaches that time is a creation of God and God does not adhere to a linear existence.   Unlike Modernist philosophers who place God and time side by side, Christian philosophy emphasizes the eternal nature of the Holy Trinity.  God exists in the moment encompassing past, present and future.  Creation, on the contrary, is confined to the existence of a linear process involving past, present and future.

The moment the Incarnation occurred, God entered into time.  The Hypostatic Union or the fusing of the Second Person’s Divine Nature with Jesus Christ’s Human Nature, placed the Logos within the time constraint of creation.   As Divine, Jesus Christ was eternal, but as human, Jesus Christ was also subject to past, present and future.  The Humanity of Jesus Christ permitted Him to love humanity within a reciprocal relationship as opposed to a relationship with an immutable Being unaffected in a personal way.  Christ’s Human Nature hence permitted a mutual relationship between Creator and creation that involved a reciprocal sharing of emotion.

Remember, God as Divine loves, but He is also immutable and in a perfect state of existence.  Hence, the change from one lesser state to another is impossible.  Aquinas again teaches that God is immutable.   This means God cannot change.  God exists within a perfect state of being.  He cannot change because anything altered would incur He was not already at the most perfect form of existence because He is God.

This begs the question how much can a Divine Being exist within a reciprocal relationship? Can a Divine Being share reciprocal emotional feelings that entail a relationship with temporal beings?  Can a Divine Being feel slighted or emotional betrayed by a temporal being?  The answer is no. God is not moved by appetites as human beings.   In such a way He has an impassibility that could make Him appear void of emotion.  While a Divine Being is perfectly formed and loves perfectly, the translation can become lost when interconnected with broken temporal creation; The issue is on the receiving end, not the Divine end.  This is why some Modernist doctrines attempted to derail God’s immutable qualities and subject Him to time and interaction at a reciprocal level but these concessions damaged the idea of a Divine nature far more than it helped solve the emotional connection between Perfect Creator and imperfect creation.

The answer to the problem was Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ as a human being permitted the reciprocal relationship and His Divinity retained the immutable essence of a Divine Being.  Jesus Christ and the Hypostatic Union did not only solve the problem of humanity’s redemption, but also permitted God to love humanity in a reciprocal relationship.  Of course Modernists could never accept the notion of a human also being Divine and rejected the Incarnation, but that is different discussion for another day.

What is relevant for the purpose of Echo Meditation is that Jesus Christ permitted Divinity to co-exist also within temporal time.  Jesus Christ’s Divinity is hence a beacon in time to His temporal life that can be contacted at any moment in prayer.  While in traditional meditation, one focuses on the life Christ LIVED on earth, Echo Meditation focuses on the life Jesus is LIVING on earth.  In traditional meditation, one reflects on the past life of Christ and converses with the Risen Lord, in Echo Meditation, one does not reflect but lives and converses with Christ while He is alive and on Earth.

Utilizing the Divinity of Christ as a beacon, since Christ’s Divinity is eternal and senses past, present and future at once, one can speak to Christ’s humanity as well while He toiled on Earth.  Jesus can hence hear one’s thoughts and prayers 2000 years in future while He carries out His Father’s will.  Why is this important and how can Echo Meditation play a key role in one’s relationship with Christ?

In Echo Meditation one does not reflect but experiences with Christ His Passion


Like all instruments, different types of instruments have different functions.  Meditation and prayer also have different functions at different times.  Echo Meditation is to enhance one’s relationship with Christ in other ways than mere past reflection.  It permits one to walk with Christ and be there for Christ.  It is a meditation of service and adoration.  As Simon of Cyrene was so blessed to help Our Lord carry His cross, in Echo Meditation, one can also be present in Christ’s life.  One is able to whisper the echoes of our love to Christ in the moments of His life.  During Christ’s horrible desolation in the garden, one can remain with Him during His dark hour of prayer and whisper through time, words of love and encouragement.   During Christ’s Passion, one can console our Lord as He is physically whipped, beaten, abused and nailed to the cross.  Furthermore, one can stand at the cross and whisper through time, one’s love and words of encouragement to Christ and stay with Him the three hours He hangs from the cross.

Echo Meditation is in essence a meditation of discipleship and service.  It is a meditation of sojourning where one can walk with Christ in His daily life and actually share in the moment as if a disciple.  This does not dismiss reflective meditation and talking to our Lord in the present moment as He is Risen because again different meditations are meant for different goals and needs. Sometimes, however it is a beautiful thing to  actually whisper and echo one’s sentiments to Christ as He lives His daily life.  It is a way one can share the burden and comfort Christ’s humanity through His 33 year life on Earth.  What better gift can one give the Lord, than to encourage His Humanity with praise and adoration during His earthly ministry when so many failed to understand or walked away?  One can be voice of worship when others dismissed Him.  One can be a voice of reparation when others were a voice of blasphemy.   Our Lord, in that moment, can literally hear one’s support, adoration and love.  One’s discipleship can be present while He lived.

Those with stigmata are literally sharing in the present the same suffering of Christ. The boundary of time no longer exists


I believe the miracle of the Stigmata is a manifestation of this deep connection not only with the Risen Lord but also the Lord when He existed on Earth.  The Stigmata or sharing of Christ’s Wounds, experienced by such saints as St. Francis and St. Padre Pio miraculously displayed the wounds of Christ’s hands or feet. The nailed hands of Christ and the wounds were pieced upon these saints as a sign of solidarity and shared suffering.  These were not wounds of the Risen Christ, but wounds shared with the suffering Christ.  In this way, there is a historical connection that spans thousands of years between Christ and these souls.  This connection was current and a literal sharING.

In Catholic theology, the Mass is also seen to be a portal connecting past and present in one moment.  The Mass is seen as the same sacrifice of Calgary and since Christ’s blood paid the ransom of all sin past, present and future, eternally, then the sacrifice itself is an eternal sacrifice that is one and ongoing.  In Catholic theology, The Mass opens the veil of time and allows its participants not to reflect on the death of Christ but to experience the same event but in an un-bloody manner.  While not all Christians may adhere to this theology, it does point towards an idea that time and eternity can meet in prayer.

While this special connection in Echo Meditation can only occur with Jesus Christ since He is Divine as well as human, one can still offer prayers for things that have already occurred. Since God is eternal, one can pray for the comfort of the Blessed Virgin during Christ’s crucifixion, or one can pray for a favorite martyr or saint during their arrest and persecution.  One can pray for graces to be afforded to someone in time of spiritual trouble who lived 300 years ago.  Those prayers through their echo are seen by God in His eternal state and applied to the past itself.  In one account, Padre Pio was once asked by others during prayer, who he was praying for, and Padre Pio responded, he was praying at the death bed of his great grandfather.   The confused asked how could prayers aid one who has passed so long ago, and Padre Pio explained in similar fashion that prayers are eternal and can applied to any time or period.

Past, present and future, the triumphant, militant and suffering all are united in time through the Mystical Body of Christ


St. Paul introduced to the Church the concept of the Mystical Body of Christ.  The beauty of the Mystical Body of Christ, with Christ as its Head, as both Divine and Human, connects all souls, past, present and future in one love and one community.  The souls Triumphant in Heaven, the souls Suffering, and the souls Militant on Earth can all help each other through prayer and mutual love.  Through Christ and His Divinity prayers can be offered for each other throughout one’s temporal life and existence.   The Souls in Heaven can watch over the Souls Militant on Earth, but the Souls Militant can offer prayers that transcend time for even those that came before oneself.  In addition, all souls can pray for the Souls Suffering that they too may share in the life of Christ.

All are connected in time through the Eternal God and all are part of the Mystical Body of Christ, whether as part of His Church on Earth, or currently (as perceived by temporal time) with Him in Eternity.  Humanity’s temporal existence is not forever and the process of time as known on Earth will one day fade to the eternity one shares with Jesus Christ.  Through this intimate connection of the God-Man, the Mystical Body of Christ can cheat the laws of temporality with prayers that transcend time and allow oneself to even walk with Christ in His most difficult moments.  This is the purpose of Echo Meditation.

To learn more about Christian Meditation , please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification

Additional Resources on Meditation

“Incarnation”  Wikipedia. Access here

“What Does It Mean That Jesus Christ Is the Logos?”.  Paul Tambrino, EdD, PhD. December 31st, 2022. The Greater Christian Heritage Publishing. Access here

“MINDFULNESS: A CHRISTIAN APPROACH”. 2019. Focus on the Family. Access here

“Meditating on the Passion of Jesus”. Divine Mercy for America.  Access here

“Aquinas on Divine Immutability”. Austen Haynes. 2015.  PERFECTIHABIA. Access here






Healthy Spirituality

One of the most common neglected health aspects of oneself is spiritual health.  Like many things unseen, it is often neglected, but like many unseen things, they can cause the most damage to oneself overall happiness and health.  Spirituality especially is important since it is the soul that is eternal.  The temporal body is temporary and will one day again rise, but in its current fallen state, its needs should always come second to the soul.

Healthy spirituality within is critical to spreading the Gospel. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Like unhealthy roots to a tree, the soul nourishes the overall life of the body and mind.  When a soul is dark, life itself is dark.  Guided by the impulses of the flesh and self, one can very easily become dark within and have a very unhealthy spiritual life.  Even those who prayer and monitor their own spiritual life can become victim poor health.  Whether is poor spiritual hygiene, gross neglect, or viceful choices, the soul that is unkept is a danger to eternal life.

The article, “5 questions to assess your spiritual health” by Dan Delzell looks at a few questions one should ask oneself in spiritual assessment.   Questions dealing with self righteousness, judgmental attitudes, sinful life styles and selfishness are all things Delzell asks the reader to look for.  He states,

“The Greek philosopher Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” With that insight in mind, here are five questions that can help you assess your spiritual health.  Am I self-righteous, or is my righteousness rooted in Christ alone? Man by nature is self-righteous. That is, man assumes he can make himself righteous in God’s sight by performing good deeds and religious works. Are you attempting to gain entrance into Heaven as a result of your personal righteousness? If so, then you are currently choosing to be self-righteous.”

“5 questions to assess your spiritual health”. Dan Delzell. The Christian Post.

To read the entire article, please click here


Delzell’s article hits the spot for one of the first thing that needs to be examined and that is whether or not one is a Christian in name only.  Does one merely adhere to rituals but never live the faith? Is one’s faith part of one’s life in every aspect?  Does one live a secular life only without any regard to God’s law?  There is always a call to action in Christian life.

Another important element touched by Delzell is one righteous in Christ or self righteous?  Many individuals are Pharisaical in their Christian life.  They judge others and find themselves to be great because they are Christian and someone else is not.  They hold others to standards that they themselves cannot hold and care more about their social look in the church than their private Christian life.

Numerous Pharisaical Christians condemn others, justify their superiority because of the title Christian and feel all must bend their knee to Christian ideals.  All to common, they also mix politics with faith and create a nationalized blend of Christianity that discriminates and hates others.  In many ways, like the Pharisees before them, they would crucify Jesus, Himself, if He stood up to their hypocrisy.

Spiritual Sloth

Spiritual neglect to the soul can take the form in sloth where spiritual hygiene prevents the soul from growing in the grace of the Holy Spirit


Spiritual health is also determined by spiritual life.  It is of no wonder then that after pride and Pharisaical ideals, spiritual sloth is a killer to spiritual life.  The habitual life style of spiritual sloth is likened to poor hygiene.  One’s soul does not receive the cleaning and the grace it needs due to poor spiritual hygiene.  Laziness in prayer, refusal to go to Mass or service, closing oneself to Scripture, or avoiding the Sacraments are all examples of spiritual sloth.  The soul requires grace and through the prayer, fasting, and sharing the faith, the soul awakens and is cleaned by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual Barreness

Some individuals enter into deep spiritual isolation and desolation. They are tempted by the materialism and atheism of the world.  They may be spiritually injured due to trauma, or loss of a loved one and have lost there way.  They seek God but cannot hear Him.  They may be angry, or depressed but they feel no spiritual life.  While in some cases, desolation can bring one closer to God over time, it can also for some lead them away.  The individual loses hope.  They fall into despair.

Others question their faith when prayers are not answered.  They either become angry God would not answer a prayer, or feel their prayer was not good enough.  Their childlike faith views faith as a contract not a covenant.  It fails to see the role of suffering and offering up one’s cross.

Poor Conscience

Others possess a poor internal compass.  The conscience itself which guides individuals towards God’s law naturally is distorted.  It is either erroneous, or poorly formed.  This lax conscience does not sting the soul when wrong is committed, either due to apathy or ignorance.  Some consciences are hyper vigilant or scrupulous in nature and can haunt a person into believing every action is a sin.  Properly formed consciences are key to a good spiritual life.

Spiritual Imbalance

Individuals can also suffer from a spiritual imbalance in life.  In Christianity, spirituality and religious life balance the person as a whole.  Spirituality is the daily personalized and internal element of spiritual life.  It is meditation, Scripture, reflection and prayer.  Religious life is ritual outside one’s personal space.  It is proclaiming the victory of Christ in public and socially with other believers.

Both need to be balanced in order for one find Christ and share Christ.

Christian Guidance

Good spiritual health requires spiritual food from Scripture and the Sacraments which are given through the Holy Spirit and forever fueled by Christ’s death on the cross


Whether secularized, proud, slothful, barren, childlike or a broken conscience, individuals can find Christ.  Like the properly planted mustard seed, it can grow and bear fruit if on good soil.  It is a battle of constant maintenance.  It involves an active prayer life, spirituality, a social religious life, Christian action, and reception of God’s Word and the sacraments.  Only through grace can good actions find any merit or be guided properly.  The Holy Spirit has granted individuals many venues for grace through the death of Christ.  It is important to utilize these sources to live a more full Christian life.

Furthermore, examination of conscience is key.  During Lent, one is especially able with the community of the faithful to celebrate the season of reflection and rectify certain vices, habits, or issues one may have with God.

Christian Counselors, Christian Mentors, Spiritual Advisors can all play key roles in helping one in Christian spirituality and life.  They can be a friend, parent, or member of the clergy.  They are someone with spiritual knowledge and practice that can help one grow in spiritual growth, discern life and share the Gospel.

Beyond becoming closer to Christ, spirituality also encompasses many religions and traditions.  Religious and spiritual mindsets can play very important roles in mental and physical health as well.  Religious principles can guide and anchor oneself when storms arise in life.  They can be a source of calm and peace.  It is also wise to turn to the saints and their numerous writings on spirituality and spiritual life.  Many of their thoughts and ideas can help many struggling Christians.

Christian Counseling

If you would like to help others in their spiritual quest from a Christian world view, then please review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.


Additional Resources

“What Is Conscience?”. Joe Carter. March 4th, 2014. The Gospel Coalition.  Access here

“Spiritual Health: A Comprehensive Guide”.  Jenny Roland. March 14th, 2023. Spirit Restoration.  Access here

“The Spiritual Side of Sloth”. BeliefNet.  Access here

Consolation and Desolation. Vinita Hampton Wright. Ignatian Spirituality. Access here


Christian Counseling and Anti-Social Personality Disorders

Due to the fall of Adam, sin entered the world.  With sin came a host of maladies and pathologies effecting the human brain.  Among the most notable are the Anti-Social Personality Disorders.  Primarily Narcissism, Sociopathy and Psychopathy.   While these conditions exhibit problems within the brain and it functioning, many of them are also learned behaviors.  Hence they are both nature and nurture.  Culpability before the throne of God for souls afflicted with these conditions are left to the judgement of God, but there is definitely not a free pass for the wickedness that exists in the hearts of these individuals.  Scripture speaks clearly against those who love oneself above God and neighbor.  It is clear that the deeds of the wicked that lead to multiple sins and atrocities originate within the heart of the wicked and oppose the law of God and love Christ demands for others.

It is critically important to note that Christian Counseling is not a clinical profession.  Unlicensed counselors are not permitted to treat Anti-Social Personality Disorders.  While Scripture can give one an idea on where these wicked hearts emerge and how one must turn to Christ, it does not provide step by step clinical instructions for therapy.  Only licensed professional counselors and other licensed mental health professionals are permitted to work with these disturbed minds.  If a licensed professional wishes to employ Scripture as a source of guidance and inspiration during treatment this is fine, but Scripture should not be seen as a clinical guide to physically healing the mind.  Instead it can serve as a spiritual supplement of guidance and hopefully a source of grace.

Anti-Social Personality Disorders: Sociopathy and Psychopathy

A sociopath has no moral compass and feels no remorse. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


It is also critically important to note the differences between the Anti-Social Personality Disorders.   Sociopathy while not clinically labeled is a severe detachment from social norms and laws.  The sociopath’s personality over time and development is allowed to corrupt the soul until, like Narcissism, a malignant self love emerges.  In turn, the sociopath puts him or herself above all others and all other laws.  The conscience itself becomes corrupted and unable to offer any moral direction.  In addition, the sociopath experiences lack of empathy for his or her actions.  Whatever it takes, a sociopath will do to complete a desire or task.  Without remorse, the ability to accept consequences, or a properly aligned moral compass, the sociopath will prey upon others to achieve his or her goals.  The sociopath will manipulate, coerce, lie, cheat and in some cases, also pursue physical violence to achieve his or her ends.

Psychopathy is very similar but at a larger extreme than sociopathy.  Psychopaths clinically have issues within the brain that cause a detachment.  Unlike sociopathy which emerges usually to some type of trauma, psychopathy is some type of processing issue within the brain.  It is both nature but through poor nurture can become far worst.  Psychopaths are narcissistic in nature as well but are more cunning and detached.  Sociopaths are impulsive and emotional, while a psychopath is more calculated, cunning and cold hearted in carrying out a plan.   While some sociopaths may recognize fault in some actions albeit still do it without issue, psychopaths exhibit zero emotional reaction.  Both utilize manipulation, lies, and any means necessary to achieve an end, but a psychopath is more equipped to maintain a normal demeanor.  Both can be charming but a psychopaths detachment is far more severe and cold hearted.  It is also important to note that both sociopathy and psychopathy are narcissistic in nature but not necessarily the same as a pure narcissist although closely related.

A Psychopath is far more detached and calculating than a sociopath.


Psychopathy and psychosis are also two different related things but sometimes hand and hand.  Psychosis refers to mental and delusional attachment.   Psychosis is not a personality disorder but a condition usually associated with another condition.   It can stem from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or other maladies that cause delusions or hallucinations.

In movies, especially Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” or “American Psycho” starring Christian Bale or even the Netflix series “YOU”, one sees a more extreme of these anti-social personality disorders.  One sees the common depiction and use of the word as a murderous and crazy individual.  In some cases, even interchanging the words.  While these extremes exist, for the most part sociopaths and psychopaths exist in a less gory reality where they manipulate, cheat, lie and steal without regard for other’s safety, reputation, money, or career.

The Conscience

From a Christian light, again, evil comes within the broken heart of humanity through the sin of Adam.  It is a deviation from God and a choice of one’s will over another.  These personality disorders take the level of sin to a new level of evil.  They are not mere isolated acts of selfishness and detachment but habitual existence of evil itself.  The greatest issue is the broken moral conscience.  The conscience is an important element within Christian spiritual and moral life.  The Natural Law intrinsically guides human beings to what is right and wrong at the most fundamental level.  When the Natural Law, the law written by God in one’s heart, is broken, guilt presides, but with personality disorders, this guilt is silenced.  At a young age, it is important for parents to teach their children about the Law of God and teach children to conform their conscience to the commandments.

When a conscience is not properly formed, it can lead to an erroneous conscience.  This conscience leads one to falsehoods.  Personality Disorders such as narcissism, sociopathy and psychopathy go well beyond the faults of an erroneous conscience, but a completely unrepairable conscience that values only self.  Without any checks or balances on the conscience, the person is free to perform whichever acts without emotional consequence.

Both sociopaths and psychopaths have improperly formed consciences that are incapable of permitting remorse


It is very difficult for such a person to ever ask God for forgiveness or seek help because their personality is so detached and wicked.  It only sees the value of self and seeks not remorse or forgiveness.  At younger ages, therapy can be applied but it is difficult with children to detect a selfish element that is a permanent disposition versus phases of development.  This is why it is important for parents to be vigilant in forming a healthy conscience within their child.  However, for those who are older and trapped by this demonic pathology, it is far more difficult to help due to the fact the person does not seek it.

Those who do seek some type of help can with a licensed mental health professional proceed through a variety of cognitive exercises to curb impulsiveness and identify bad behavior and its consequences.  This cognitive behavior looks to at least help such a person identify wrong, even if the person many not experience the normal emotional responses.  In addition, medical doctors and psychiatrists can prescribe certain medications that are anti-psychotic in nature or mood stabilizing. From a spiritual standpoint, Scripture, reception of the sacraments, frequent confession and reception of the Eucharist can help heal the mentally infirmed through the grace of God.  Again with God all things are possible.


For habitual sins and evil shrouded in disorder, one must pray to God for true healing and conversion. In many cases, only God’s eternal love and mercy and grace can save these souls


If one is living with any of these types of conditions, as with narcissism, it is important to understand the disorder, understand how to respond it, how to protect oneself and how to establish boundaries.   If it is a casual acquaintance it may be best to avoid or find a reason to create distance.  Many Christians feel they are abandoning a soul, but one cannot let ego or spiritual pride step in the way.  One is not the source of grace and salvation but only God.  Sometimes prayer from the distance is the best solution.  For those in closer relationships, emotional safety, counseling, support groups, assessment of their threat level and prayer are essential in their daily cross of dealing with such persons.  Ultimately, these individuals are very dangerous and should be handled with care or left alone!

If you would like to learn more about helping others through Christian principles and Biblical ideals, then please review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

Additional Resources

“Sociopath v. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?”. Kara Mayer Robinson. February 14th, 2022. WebMD. Access here

“How to Recognize Signs of Sociopathy”. HealthEssentials. Cleveland Clinic.  Access here

“Antisocial Personality Disorder Signs”. Christina Mutchler. October 26th, 2022. Health.  Access here

“Sociopathy”. Psychology Today Staff. Psychology Today.  Access here

“Signs of a Sociopath”. WebMD Editorial Contributors. December 16th, 2022. WebMD. Access here

“Psychotic vs. Psychopathic: What’s the Difference?”. Matt Smith. March 13th, 2023. WebMD. Access here

Counseling Through Church Corruption

Religion as a social construct is far from perfect.  Ideals always point towards a higher standard morally, as well as socially, but many individuals corrupt the creed and message to fit their own agenda.  This has been throughout the history of the world as in the name of faith, millions have been murdered or executed.

No religion is immune to this but does this make religion something that humanity must shed itself from?  Is religion truly the “opiate of the people”.   Faith that is directed towards the common good and focuses on the message of its founder are able to make great and good change. Even from a secular view, religion provides great things to social norms, laws of conduct and cultural beauty.

Christ was a reformer against religious corruption. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Unfortunately, many individuals have suffered at the hands of religious people.  Sexual abuse or financial scandal have turned many against religion.  Individuals need to always see the message and fight for reform itself within a particular creed.  However, many have also experienced trauma and may need to help heal themselves.  Church reform itself can help by eliminating corruption and compensating but sometimes deep spiritual counseling is needed for a soul again to open to spirituality and faith.

Christian Counselors can help individuals work through spiritual and religious corruption.  They can help individuals again find faith and in particular Christ.   Christ Himself stands as an example of the purity of faith and religion and stood against the corruption of the time.  Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a certification in Christian Counseling.




Please review the video below on helping individuals through Church corruption


The Christian Tradition and Practice of Lent

The annual spiritual journey of Lent is time of reflection, renewal and rebirth.  It involves self denial, fasting, and penance, but it also involves meditation and spiritual growth.  The individual should not just see it as a time on the calendar to give up random things because one’s family does, but to find time to improve or in some cases regrow spiritual connection with Christ.  It is a time to be reflect on Christ’s passion and to take up one’s own cross with the promise of resurrection.

Lent is a time of renewal, reflection and rebirth. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


AIHCP offers a four year certification for qualified professionals in Christian Counseling.  The program is online and independent study.  Please review the Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

Please review the video below.  The video discusses the history, traditions and importance of Lent in both East and West and also clarifies many of the rules.  Individuals are encouraged to partake in the many Lenten services

Christian Social Doctrine Video

Christian Social Doctrine is based on the Ten Commandments and how one is to treat their neighbor.  At the core is respect of the individual and the family.  When state or governments present contrary doctrines that hurt the individual or families, then they transgress their authority.  In particular, one thinks of two social ideals of the 20th Century, Capitalism and Communism.  Both present unique challenges to human dignity in this fallen world and both deserve their own critique within the light of Christian morality.  The video below looks at the Church’s response to Communism and Capitalism and how proper social doctrine with Christian standards views the relation of the individual, family and state.

Social doctrine in Christianity respects the dignity of the family. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

Please review the video below

Validity of the Resurrection Video

The Resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity.  Without this miracle, the Christin faith is merely another human invention to understand the divine.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead and because of this, Christians are able to proclaim Christ’s Divinity.  Through the Resurrection, the Son’s sacrifice is accepted by the Father and through the Resurrection, all are reminded that their temporal bodies will one day rise too.

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen! Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


This video analyzes the theology behind the Resurrection and defends it against various criticisms and challenges from non believers.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking to earn a four year certification in Christian Counseling.



Please review the video below