John Adams: ‘Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.’
In a time when everything was being swept away, when “the whole world is becoming a giant concentration camp,” [Etty Hillesum] felt one must hold fast to what endures—the encounter with God at the depths of one’s own soul and in other people.
-Robert Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time
To follow their own paths to wholeness, both Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875–1961) and Jewish Auschwitz victim Etty Hillesum (1914–1943) trusted in and hearkened to the voice of God in their deepest Selves.
When accusers called Joan of Arc (1412–1431) the victim of her own imagination, she is frequently credited with this brilliant reply: “How else would God speak to me?”
Intuitive truth, that inner whole-making instinct, just feels too much like our own thoughts and feelings, and most of us are not willing to call this “God,” even when that voice prompts us toward compassion instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of resentment, generosity instead of stinginess, bigness instead of pettiness.
Late in his life, Jung wrote, “In my case Pilgrim’s Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.” Jung, a supposed unbeliever, knew that any authentic God experience takes a lot of humble, honest, and patient seeking.
-Fr. Richard Rohr
[From a letter to a pupil (April 9, 1959). See C. G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950,selected and edited by Gerhard Adler.]