My Dear Wormwood,
I have received your letter regarding your patient’s strained encounter with that friend of his who frequents one of these so-called spiritual directors, and am delighted to learn of your comfortable insinuations that these types of fellows are only for really unusually fanatical and pious men. Do go along with this tack, which I think will continue to yield wonderful results for you. The last thing we want is our patients to begin thinking of themselves as becoming involved in a contest with us, to seek out coaches of this kind, to “practice” or “work out” as they call it these days (in the old days those withered, pesky Greeklings in the desert would call it “ascesis” or “asceticism”).
Without a regular confessor, your patient will be totally on his own, and you, who have so admirably perceived and seized upon the benefit of regular direction from an exquisitely experienced old hand, will obtain and keep the upper hand.
Your affectionate uncle,