So wrote Richard Rohr in his Meditation today*, a day which is both the Feast of the Transfiguration and the 70th Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima . He wrote the article in the context of a series on the spirituality of S. Thérèse of Lisieux. In it he observed that ‘through prayerful self-reflection on her spiritual journey, Thérèse came to know the depth of her self-centredness, the extent of her God-inspired desires, and the role and significance of her thoughts, acts, and feelings in the spiritual life.‘ Rohr went on to observe that ‘as Carl Jung taught after the First World War, so much external hatred and carnage could only have emerged if it was preceded by decades of inner fear, hatred, and negativity that grew unchecked and unrecognized. Because the inner world was not healed or renewed, Jung predicted that another blood bath was on its way, which of course became the Second World War.’
In reading the article I found myself reflecting on the present refugee crisis in Calais and the cancerous growth of negativity and hatred that has developed towards those who are seeking to enter Britain. Whilst recognising that there are a number of reasons why people are there, it is that negative reaction that needs addressing. How does the reportage of newspapers such as the ‘Daily Mail’, which taps into our sense of fear and hatred, affect us? Instead of seeing these refugees as people the reporting seems to de-humanise them and they become the focus of anger and hatred. Is this one of the consequences of our being a secular society which does not want to recognise the power of spirituality for good (yes, and for ill)? If we don’t realise the negative power we can unleash then it will, as Jung pointed out, give birth to violence. What might it take to remind us of our need for self-reflection as we face the image of that which we seek to become. In his reflection on life in the risen Christ, S. Paul wrote: ‘Cloth yourselves in love’ (Col.3:14). Perhaps we need to remember this in the face of so much fear and hatred.
* http://conta.cc/1P7GnhM via #constantcontact