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When the devil gets in

I have recently heard sad stories from one or two Secular Carmelite groups of destructive conflict and clashes that have led to decline. It's a salutary reminder that the devil can get in and disrupt a good work, and any reader of Teresa and John of the Cross will have noted their shrewd sense of human psychology and its weaknesses. As I study The Dark Night by St John of the Cross in particular, I am amazed by the way that he wields his scalpel to dissect our poor human character and lay bear its weaknesses. Teresa's Way of Perfection is also marvellous as a study of what can go wrong in communities. It is the wisdom of experience, as she witnessed the strains and stresses for herself and no doubt sometimes wept over them. We too should weep when things go wrong in previously harmonious groups.

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