“God does not call those who are worthy, but those whom He will.” Therese of Lisieux
The interface between indigenous spiritual life and Christian Mysticism may prove to be a fruitful ground towards addressing some worldwide challenges such as psychological alienation and climate change.
For example, Indigenous Sacred Geography -the idea that Nature is sacred and that Geography is the map that describes where the sacred spirits dwell- could help us see the divine aspect of Nature, in order to address the rampant destruction of the Earth. Also, the Jungian view of the Self -the center and totality of the individual- ,understood as the Divine within, could provide an epistemological and an experiential framework in which a fragment of God dwells in the human heart. There is a Divine Without and a Divine Within -two aspects of God located in Nature and, also, located in us. A continuum of Divinity.
According to Kogi Indians (Colombia), the material world (trees, stones, animals, water, etc) is a reflection of the thought-world named Aluna. Aluna is thought without form. Aluna is both the spirit world and the “thinking and acting life force” behind the concrete world (Taironatrust.org). Aluna could be understood, also, as “universal consciousness”, “the Mother’s thought”, and “the spirit of all things.” Aluna is revered by the Kogis and, I hope, likewise, each of us to revere the Divine in Us.
A study of the interface between the Kogi’s Aluna, the Jungian’s Self, and the Mystic’s Divine Within could open fateful doors for a planetary balance. In order to do so, let us start by taking a look a sentence by the mystic, Therese of Lisieux:
“God does not call those who are worthy, but those whom He will.”
God. Gods. Goddesses. And Spirits.
God: The immensity sees you. We are the seed in a large piece of land. The chest opens up and receives the universe. Look above and see your size in the largest blanket of stars. Your presence is next to me. We rest because the profuse flesh is circularly open to the breath. We do not know why we look above, but the blood of the Divine coolly washes the soul and, finally, we can rest.
One experiences God through one’s own Psyche, and the feeling of God is so beautiful and terrifying. Fortunately, the Feeling Function allows the heart to open up to the magnitude of life. Sensing the grandeur and immensity of Nature, as a face of the Divine, God reveals its presence. That is why spirits live in rivers, dwell in mountains, and partake in caves, burial grounds, and cemeteries (especially on the Day of the Death!).
“God does not call those who are worthy……..” There is nothing we can do to be called. Why? Because the calling does not originate from the ego. It originates from the Divine, and the Divine has a tiny spark that lives in the heart. The calling seems to come from what. Jung called “the Divine Within” but, as a scientist, he preferred to use the term, the Self or, at other times, he used the Collective Unconscious or the “Objective Psyche.” Human beings do not control the Collective Unconscious or the Divine Within and, therefore, each of us -the ego- do not determine the Call. God does, or to be more psychologically precised, the Divine Within/Collective Unconscious does.
Human beings can list the countless behaviors they engage in to be worthy of God’s call, such as acts of charity, verbal and physical expressions of kindness. However, those worthy behaviors, designed by an ego, may not be rooted on messages from the Divine or the Collective Unconscious. Distinguishing between messages from the ego and messages from the deepest aspect of the inner life -the Divine Within or Collective Unconscious are key in order to ascertain the call. The Call comes God Within, and not from the ego. Therefore, Divine messages, such as dreams, visions, and synchronicities, are given to human beings, and are not created by the ego. That is the beauty of the visions obtained during a indigenous vision quest, or the visions obtained through drinking a concoction from sacred plants (i.e., ayahuasca). These imaginal experiences are not created by the ego; instead, they are facilitated by a sacred plant or a sacred ritual that knocks on the door of the Divine Within/Collective Unconscious.
Again, from the point of view of Analytical Psychology, the sentence, “God does not call those who are worthy” may refer to the difference between a message from the ego versus a message from the Self/Divine Within.
When Therese of Lisieux wrote, ‘God does not call those who are worthy’, she may have emphasized the separation between God and human beings and, more specifically, that the Call is within the purview of the Divine Within or Collective Unconscious, and not determined by the human ego. Something much greater within us that guide the ego, through dreams, visions, and synchronicities, is at play here. Therefore, actions that are deemed to be worthy, such as random acts of kindness, charity efforts, social activism, environmental protection, are socially respected, praised, and encouraged, but they are not the determining factor for the Call.
The Call is from within, not from without. Needless to say, worthy acts are important and desirable in life.
It makes sense why Indigenous and aboriginal people from around the world did not rely on their opinions, but sought to seek guidance through divination, dreams, vision quests, sacred plants, synchronicities, and rituals. They wanted to communicate directly with the Divine, the Spirits, or the Gods and obtained, thus, a helpful message, from them, about life, rather than relying on their own subjective thougths and feelings.
The implication from Therese of Lisieux’s sentence (‘God only calls those He will’) is the importance of relying significantly more, in terms of hearing the Call, on the previously described ways the Divine has communicated, throughout the ages, with indigenous, aboriginal and common people, rather than relying on a life full of “worthy thoughts and actions”.
This post was first published on thehealingpsyche.org.
Freddie Taborda, LCPC, PsyD is a Jungian Analyst with over 30 years of clinical experience. He maintains a private practice in Chicago, Illinois.