The patience to know God's will in "our restless and crazy time"

The New York Times printed a letter last November from C.G. Jung, the renowned psychologist. In this letter, originally written in 1959, Jung spoke of the loss of meaning in people's lives, which he had come to feel inevitably accompanies a loss of "religious outlook," or faith. Jung believed that regaining a religious view of life was essential to the individual's health and wholeness, and he also recognized the serious challenge to doing this in contemporary society. He concluded his letter: "The problem itself cannot be settled by a few slogans. It demands concentrated attention, much mental work and, above all, patience, the rarest thing in our restless and crazy time."

Patience does seem a rare commodity these days. The great tendency is to want what we need, or what we think we need, and to feel unduly pressured to accomplish what we're expected to accomplish, right now, this instant, immediately. Yet we may not have taken the opportunity (or even felt we had the time) to consider thoughtfully the real significance of something, or what it may require of us and of others, or what it could mean to our future. And for many, if not most people, to pray about daily affairs and responsibilities just doesn't seem to fit on the desk calendar or in the weekly appointment book. Living "on the edge"—keeping all the demands and responsibilities of any given day in some semblance of order, rushing from one appointment to the next, or simply trying to keep our head above water as the world speeds by—doesn't seem to nourish much patience or prayer.

The story we love to tell
June 27, 1994

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