Acts of mercy, kindness and compassion are an integral part of a mature spiritual life.

Jung is right,

2. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ.

True spirituality has feet and hands. It leads to action.

One of the most frequent criticisms levelled against any focus on spiritual practice is that it is self-serving, self-indulgent, other-worldly, and cut-off from the painful realities of life. People who attend to their spiritual lives are often criticized for failing to take seriously the suffering and need of the world. This criticism comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of spiritual practice.

Mature spiritual practice has one goal. It always aims at enabling me to surrender and submit more fully and deeply to my true nature. My true nature is love. In Christian understanding love is primarily a verb; it does things. Love is never static. Love is always at work to bring about the flourishing of the world wherever I find myself.

Love is not a program that can be laid down for everyone. Love may call me to “feed the hungry.” It may move me to speak out on behalf of the oppressed, to visit the sick or those in prison. It will certainly motivate me to “forgive an insult.” Love may equally, be the force that causes me to care for my children, speak respectfully in the office to an irksome colleague, or to listen deeply to neighbour whose heart is breaking.

Jung courageously faces the deep challenge Jesus left his followers. Most people likely agree that we should love our family and friends, perhaps even the other citizens of the country in which we live. But, Jung understood that Jesus had a vastly greater vision of love. Jesus encourages us to expand our vision of love vastly beyond the commonly accepted gestures of love. As Jung acknowledges, mature spirituality extends the vision of love all the way to my “enemy.” I am called to love the one who seeks to harm me, who refuses to respect me, who oppresses me, and even does violence to me.

The love that Jesus taught and that he modelled is an impossible standard to achieve in my own power. I will only come close to this exalted vision of love, to the degree that I surrender to the power of love by which all creation came into existence.

I John 4:8 says that “God is love.” Love is the energy force of the universe, the creative and sustaining power of all life. As a being “created in the image of God”, the power of love Jesus embodied dwells within me. Love is not only a verb; it is also a noun. Love is my true nature. It is my ultimate state of being. When I open to this presence of love that is my true nature, I will live more lovingly in relationship to all of life. Love empowers me to more fully fulfill my true destiny as a child of Love.

Love causes me to become deeply engaged in life. When I give myself to love, I begin to see that all of life is integrally connected. There are no strangers. The other is not other than I am. We are all one.

I will never achieve a mature spiritual life by withdrawing into splendid isolation as if I could be truly human all by myself. I only approach mature spirituality as I am willing to be in deep respectful open relationship with you and with all of creation. There is no path to a consciousness of Divine Presence that ignores, denies, or denigrates any other form of life, even those that may seek my harm (my “enemy”).