Why is there a war?… Because I and my neighbor and everyone else do not have enough love. Yet we could fight war and all its excrescences by releasing, each day, the love that is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live. —Etty Hillesum
Richard Rohr has long drawn comfort and wisdom from the writings of the young Jewish woman Etty Hillesum (1914–1943), believing her to be a voice of inspiration for our times. Shortly before her departure for internment at the Westerbork transit camp, Hillesum wrote in her journal:
One thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: that You cannot help us, that we must help You to help ourselves. And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves. And perhaps in others as well. Alas, there doesn’t seem to be much You Yourself can do about our circumstances, about our lives. Neither do I hold You responsible. You cannot help us, but we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last. 
Etty Hillesum fully accepted the “cruciform nature of reality” and chose to love ever more consciously:
Something has crystallised. I have looked our destruction, our miserable end which has already begun in so many small ways in our daily life, straight in the eye and accepted it into my life, and my love of life has not been diminished. I am not bitter or rebellious, or in any way discouraged. I continue to grow from day to day, even with the likelihood of destruction staring me in the face. I shall no longer flirt with words, for words merely evoke misunderstandings: I have come to terms with life.…
By “coming to terms with life” I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich [life]. 
Reflecting on Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:34 not to worry about tomorrow, Hillesum writes:
We have to fight them daily … those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies.… The things that have to be done must be done, and for the rest we must not allow ourselves to become infested with thousands of petty fears and worries, so many motions of no confidence in God.… Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world. 
 An Interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941–1943, trans. Arno Pomerans (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 151.
 Hillesum, Interrupted Life, 131–132.
 Hillesum, Interrupted Life, 185.
Image Credit: A path from one week to the next—Loïs Mailou Jones, Shapes and Colors (detail), 1958, watercolor on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Madison Frambes, Untitled 4 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Madison Frambes, Untitled 1 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.
For this series of pieces for CAC [I explore] the loneliness of grief, and the fleeting moments of beauty, grounding, and community that make it bearable.
—Madison Frambes, artist
Story from Our Community:
The Daily Meditations from the CAC have become an important influence on me. In recent months, I found that an insight from Brian McLaren has repeatedly come to mind. He noted that “Thy will be done” in the Lord’s Prayer might just as accurately be translated to “Thy desire be fulfilled.” I am struck by how that slight change in wording communicates so much. It transforms God from someone issuing a mandate into a caring parent, friend, or lover. It transforms a demand for obedience, drudgery, and obligation into eager participation. Thank you for this beautiful re-framing. I see clearly that God’s desire is that we love. —Jerry O.