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Good morning Luke, thanks for your response, in particular your observation that a human being is an event in the sense of being "in permanent and inextricable communion, collaboration even, with the God who gives himself to us unconditionally at every moment." Makes sense to me. My two cents: I think the relationship is even closer. In Jungian terms, the ego (human, self-reflective consciousness) is one "part" of the Self (the organizing principle of the psyche as well as its totality). The Self IS each of us, and everything else (and no-thing, a mystery beyond comprehension). The Self loves the ego, so to speak. God loves each of us. I watch this love in action, and feel it, and respond in kind, every morning in dreams (created by the Self for the ego's benefit) and experience it otherwise. Sorry for the off-putting psychological terminology. I have to convert religious ideas/language into a language I understand; otherwise, I get lost. Regards.
Saint James, Missouri, USA
About that Rahner sentence, to me it makes more sense to describe a human being as an ongoing event than as something static and unchanging. I feel myself constantly in flux, in process, in all my dimensions and especially in my relationships, so how much more in the one with God who started the whole process in the first place. So we as human beings are not to be thought of simply as how we were when we first came into existence but throughout our life, and therefore likely to be in need of forgiveness. But Rahner's sentence describes a human being not only as an event but an absolutely mind-blowing one - in permanent and inextricable communion, collaboration even, with the God who gives himself to us unconditionally at every moment.
Good morning James,
Your question is similar to one asked of Joseph Campbell, in the book “Thou Art That” (Novato, California: New World Library, 2001, at 109-10). Campbell's response: “When you can let the literal meaning of a religious tradition die, then it comes alive again. And this also frees you to respect other religious traditions more. You don’t have to be afraid of losing something when you let go of your tradition. . . . The churches have to ask themselves: Are we going to emphasize the historical Christ, or the second person of the Blessed Trinity, the one who knows the Father? If you emphasize the historical, you deemphasize the spiritual power that is the symbol of the basic consciousness that is within us. . . . The mystical writer Meister Eckhart once wrote that the ultimate leave-taking is the leaving of God for God. People feel panicky at the thought that we might all have something in common, that they are giving up some exclusive hold on the truth. It is something like discovering that you are a Frenchman and a human being at the same time. That is exactly the challenge that the great religions face in the Space Age.” If you'd like to see in action what Campbell was talking about, may I suggest your showing up at a Jung Institute conference in London? If it's similar to those at the Jung Institute in Chicago, you will see in attendance Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, nonreligious, etc. Etty would have felt at home, I'm sure. Regards, Ed S.
Saint James, Missouri, USA
What Ed says is interesting--but then it raises some very interesting questions about what the role is of a particular religious tradition. Etty is at once very Jewish, and yet gets beyond it.
To James Forbes: This is in response to your question, “How was it that such a vivid religious awareness [Etty Hillesum’s] could be developed in that way?” I think I know since I share a similar sensitivity and found myself saying “yes” to everything she had written, in reading Alexandra Pleshoyano’s article in the January 2005 edition of The Way. Like her, my awareness developed subsequent to exposure to Carl Jung’s depth psychology. There is a mind in our heads, so to speak, other than the one with which we are usually familiar and generally identify with. When one pays attention to one’s dreams, visions, moods, feelings, spontaneous insights, etc., and understands them to some extent, understands what this “other mind” (the Self, God, etc.) is doing within one with its dreams, etc., understands that this other mind loves us more than we love ourselves and is always trying to heal our woundedness whether we ask for help or don’t ask, well, one then loves this other mind (God) in return and wants to help it. The love deepens over time, as does the desire to help. If you are interested in pursuing this and are unfamiliar with depth psychology, I’d suggest reading John Sanford’s “Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language.” It’s simple yet profound: a real eye opener for anyone wanting to comprehend how Etty Hillesum could have developed her love and desire to serve. Best wishes.
Saint James, Missouri USA
I found the article on Etty Hillesum moving and interesting. How was it that such a vivid religious awareness could be developed in that way?
James Forbes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Karl Rahner's theology is something I have just recently come upon, and I would like to ask a very basic question. What does Rahner mean by "event" and "forgiving" in his sentence: "Man is the event of a free, unmerited and forgiving, and absolute self-communication of God." I ask because defining a human being as an "event" strikes me as a bit odd and because "forgiving" seems to imply that we come into the world already guilty of something and in need of forgiveness. Thank you.
Saint James, Missouri USA
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