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Our drinking problem, our food addiction, our reliance on drugs to meet our dependencies, our lusting after power…our unrealized hopes, our cruelty to others—whatever looms as our basest fear or despair or hopelessness—now turns out to be just the occasion and place where God comes to us. We are found on our own cross. We cannot get out of that gap to get to God. We do not leave behind our problems to get to God. God comes to find us where we are weakest, in the secret hiding places of our compulsions, in the segregated district of self that we despise and oppress…God comes to us
— A.B. Ulanov
Disease is a disorder and yet it does not obliterate everything since if this were to happen the disease itself could not exist…For that which totally lacks a share in the Good has neither being nor a place in existence, whereas that which has a composite nature owes to the Good whatever place it has among beings, and its place among them and the extent of its being are directly proportionate to the share it has of this Good.
— Pseudo-Dionysus
 
 
The Medicine of the Psalms

It's been a long and hard week in the world. As Christians around the world prepare to enter Holy Week, with East and West on the same calendar this year, I was reminded of this extraordinary clip of an Assyrian monk chanting Psalm 53 for Pope Francis during his visit to Georgia last October. He is accompanied by Iraqi and Syrian families, and is chanting in Aramaic. The Church Fathers recommended the Psalms as 'medicine' for unrest of soul. I wonder if, much like Jung's archetypal approach, they helped connect individual suffering to the collective, and created a container for lament. 

Here is another hauntingly beautiful clip of Fr. Serafim and parishioners chanting the Trisagion: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy on Us."

Pia Chaudhari
Jung on Religious Experience
No one can know what the ultimate things are. We must therefore take them as we experience them. And if such experience helps to make life healthier, more beautiful, more complete and more satisfactory to yourself and to those you love, you may safely say: “This was the grace of God.”

No transcendental truth is thereby demonstrated, and we must confess in all humility that religious experience is extra ecclesiam, subjective, and liable to boundless error. Yet, if the spiritual adventure of our time is the exposure of human consciousness to the undefined and indefinable, there would seem to be good reasons for thinking that the Boundless is pervaded by psychic laws, which no man invented, but of which he has ‘gnosis’ in the symbolism of Christian dogma. Only heedless fools will wish to destroy this: the lover of the soul, never.
— C.G. Jung CW11 Par.167-168
Pia Chaudhari
On Theology and Transformation
The solution comes first, and then the problem is discerned...The transforming vision that the encounter with Christ effects with respect to the comprehension of the Scriptures, brings about a similar transformation in our own lives. Before the encounter with the Christ proclaimed according to the Scriptures, we do not understand that—and how—we are sinful. We might know that we have some problems, but we usually think that we can overcome them, should we want to (through the means offered us by various therapies and counseling, should we need them). It is also clear to us that the world is beset by problems; but if we are honest, we would probably say that, if only everyone were to agree with us, most of these problems would be resolved. That we are sinful, broken and subject to death, to the very core of our being, is something that we can only begin to comprehend in the light of Christ, a light which simultaneously forgives, redeems and recreates. When we think about ourselves, we think of all the various experiences that we have had, told from the vantage point of the present, and that past acting in the present in ways of which we are largely unaware, and so to which we are subject unknowingly and involuntarily.

But the encounter with Christ provides a new, and yet eternal, vantage point from which to understand one’s own past: we are invited to see our own past retold as nothing less than our own “salvation history.” In this nothing is left aside or glossed over, as being too shameful or painful, something that we would prefer to forget, but which even as “forgotten” continues to act negatively in the present. Rather, just as it was in and through that which is all-too-human, his death, that Christ shows himself to be God, so also it is in and through our sinfulness and brokenness that we come to know the transforming and loving power of God, not that we should thereby sin some more, as Paul warns (Rom 6.1-2), but to see ever more clearly how deep our brokenness extends. “It is,” St Isaac of Syria affirmed, “a spiritual gift of God to be able to perceive one’s own sins,” and such a one is greater than those who see angels or raise the dead by their prayers.

To plumb the depth of our fallenness is to scale the heights of divine love. The more we are given the grace to see in this way, the more we begin to understand how everything is encompassed within the divine works of God: standing in the light of Christ, we can see him as having led us through our whole past, preparing us to encounter him. He alone knows the reason why he has led each of us on our particular path, for we walk by faith not by sight (2 Cor 5.7), but it is a faith that all things are in the hands of Christ, and that “in everything God works for good with those who love him” (Rom 8.28).

In this way, then, such theology is not merely words about God, but a living and active word. It does not merely report what happened in the past, nor pretend to describe, objectively and in an uninvolved manner, a God who is “out there” and his dealings with creation. It is nothing less than the proclamation of the Word of God to this world, allowing it to be at work through us here and now.
— J. Behr
Pia Chaudhari