One of the most popular concepts in Personal Development over the
last few years has been the phenomenon known as the Law of
Attraction. It is the subject of widespread public interest and has
been the subject of a huge number of e-books and other digital
products, all claiming to be able to change people’s lives by giving
them affirmations that force “the Universe” to give people
everything they wish for. Simply by saying an affirmation such as “I
attract money effortlessly into my life” repeatedly, the Law of
Attraction states that you will attract this money by forcing “the
Universe” to listen to you and this will allow doors in your
life to open and the promised money to appear.

This started maybe some 20 years ago, although things really
started moving when a movie called “The Secret” came out in
2006 that popularized the Law of Attraction and brought it into
mainstream thought. Since then a wide range of “gurus” have
come out that practise this Law and numerous success stories have
been reported, although there have also been a large number of
negative events, too. It is heavily supported by Oprah Winfrey, who
has read many books on the subject and recommends these books to her
many fans.

So, as a Personal Development expert myself, what’s my take on all
of this?

I am a Roman Catholic and I always try to give you the best
advice. I consider being a Roman Catholic to be an advantage in
Personal Development, since the teachings of the Catholic Church have
been refined and refined to a high degree of accuracy and its
dedication to the Truth of Jesus Christ and to the way things really
are have impressed me. I was blown away by the pinpoint theological
accuracy of the “Summa Theologica” of Saint Thomas Aquinas,
who goes into absolutely painstaking detail on a wide range of topics
regarding the spiritual life and the meaning of sin, the teaching of the Church, how to go to
Heaven, virtues, vices, the soul, philosophy and a whole bunch of
other stuff. I mean, this guy is just dead-on. There are not many
heresies and errors that can get past him, and if any do, then
there’s always Saint Augustine to knock them down!

So, not only as a Personal Development expert, but also as a Roman
Catholic, I am morally obliged to inform you, on pain of sin
requiring confession to absolve it, that, in its absolute sense, the
Law of Attraction is a heresy. The Law of Attraction states that “the
Universe” can be controlled by Man using his own mental power.
Since practitioners state that “the Universe” is a synonym
for God, this is tantamount to saying that Man has power over God and
can become “like God” (which is Satan’s greatest ambition).
Furthermore, I have to tell you that the Catholic Church has seen
this all before. We are the oldest denomination, and most heresies
have already been thought of years ago and have just been recycled
over and over throughout the past 2,000 years. So I have to tell you
that attempting to control inanimate objects and the behaviour of
other people using the power of occult forces and your own brain is a
very old-fashioned sin. It’s called SORCERY. It breaks the First
Commandment (“Thou shalt have no other god before me”) and
is against the virtue of religion, where we render worship to God on
account of His Goodness. So there!

So now, having laid down the law and given you the hard word, it’s
time for the good news. I believe that, in a more restricted sense,
there is some benefit in some of the actions performed by those who
believe in the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction needs to be
reined in so that it is within the boundaries of right reason and
empirical science. On a personal level, I believe that it is
acceptable to look at the Law of Attraction as “an atheist’s
name for Divine Providence”. Many events take place in the world
and I believe as a matter of faith that God moves people and things
in such a way that all His creatures are directed to their natural
end – rain feeds the soil, plants grow, food is available for animals
to live and breathe, dead organisms decompose into the soil to
provide minerals and sustenance for the next generation, and so on.
In the lives of human beings, God often directs this or that person or thing to serve
His interests and bring His people to the life that He has chosen for
them on this earth, so that His Will be done. Thus, to the believer
in God, many seemingly unconnected events can be viewed through the
eyes of faith to be willed by God so that we arrive at our
supernatural end, which is to enjoy the Beatific Vision of God in

Now, as for “the Universe”, this can be construed, as
even a Law of Attraction practitioner can attest, as a synonym for
God. So “asking the Universe” just means “asking God”.
Many practitioners complain that the Law of Attraction doesn’t always
work. This can be explained by simply stating that what you are
asking for is not in accordance with the Will of God. God wants the
best for you but to know what He wants is to seek His Will. To ask
for a Ferrari to suddenly appear outside your house tomorrow morning
may not be God’s Will for you. The fact is, you need to face up to
the fact that if you are an unemployed bricklayer living in a trailer
park with debts up to your eyeballs and the IRS knocking on your
door, that Ferrari is not going to arrive any day soon! You need to
wake up to reality, quit fiddling around with the Law of Attraction
and start pounding the sidewalk to look for a job. TAKE ACTION
towards your goals, make things happen and constantly bet on
yourself. DO THIS FIRST, and then ask God if it is His Will for you
to have this or that job interview. See which doors open and which
doors close. If two doors are open, that’s when you should ask God
which one to take. If you want to know God’s Will, start by trying to
do His Will on your current knowledge of Who He Is. So get started on
the Ten Commandments and make it your daily habit to obey all of
them. God will see this and doors will open. Obeying His Commandments
means leaving old habits and pastimes behind. This may involve some
sacrifices but that is to be expected. “Deny yourself, take up
your cross and follow Me,” says the Lord.

As for affirmations, I view these as simply prayers. Talking with
God is praying. That’s fine. Everyone should do that more!

What about the phenomenon of people “manifesting” things
and “their subconscious mind hears this” and stuff actually
starts happening in their lives? Well, I feel that science can
explain this. Constant repetition of one dominant thought over and over again creates neural pathways in
the brain due to a feature of brain circuitry that scientists call
“plasticity”. This is where often-used neural pathways
strengthen and become more numerous the more they are exercised,
while neural pathways that are only occasionally used atrophy and
weaken and finally disappear. The subconscious mind is not
well-understood by science but I believe that it CAN have some
considerable effect on our thought patterns. Thinkers such as Sigmund
Freud spoke of the “id”, the “ego” and the
“superego”, where the “id” is the reptilian
brain, the base, animalistic primitive brain close to the brain stem
which he viewed as being carnal, instinctive and mainly concerned
with immediate gratification of simple bodily urges. The “id”
is controlled by both the “ego” and “superego”.
I’m not sure I agree with everything Freud said but I feel that the
subconscious mind does have an “underground” influence on
conscious thought patterns but that this influence is moderated by
the conscious mind (Freud’s “ego”) and our values and
beliefs on what is right or wrong (the “superego”). I feel
that if a Law of Attraction practitioner consistently “manifests”
the same thing over and over, neural pathways in that person’s brain
concerning the thing he is manifesting will be strengthened. This in
turn leads to heightened sensitivity and awareness to outside events
that take place in that person’s life that could have a possible
connection to this dominant thought. This heightened awareness allows
the practitioner to seize upon opportunities related to the
“manifested” thing more quickly and effectively, where,
previously, a more “average” awareness would have not
noticed any perceived connection and the opportunity would have slid
by. Thus the practitioner is able to perhaps benefit from suddenly
taking action on these events and so the likelihood of the
“manifested” thing actually happening in real life is

So that’s my opinion on the Law of Attraction. In summary then, I
can advise you of the following –

1. In its absolute sense, the practice of the Law of Attraction
represents an attempt by Man to control his destiny and the lives of
others using occult forces and his own mental power, and this action
is traditionally known as sorcery. It is gravely immoral and under no
circumstances can I ever recommend this practice to you as a means to
achieve your dream life.

2. However, in a more restricted sense, the practice of the Law of
Attraction can be a healthy way to focus your mind on achievement and
to become alert to possibilities that life offers you, and render you
more ready and able to take action to achieve your life goals, while
at the same time allowing you the freedom to adhere to your usual
rational beliefs concerning faith and science. This more restricted
sense should be defined as follows –

(a) “The Universe” is God.

(b) “The Law of Attraction” is Divine Providence.

(c) “Affirmations” are prayers.

(d) “Manifesting” is using mental repetition of a single
dominant thought in order to create strengthened neural pathways in
the brain, which leads to heightened awareness of life events that
have some possible connection to the manifested desire, and a greater
readiness to seize such opportunities as they arise, so that progress
towards life goals can be made more efficiently, thus allowing the
manifested desires to become a reality more often.

I can therefore recommend this more restricted practice to you as
a healthy way to pursue your life dreams!