Give birth to yourself

Publish date 01-10-2023

by Flaminia Morandi

«So it was evening, then it was morning: the first day... It therefore begins with the evening and ends with the morning of an endless day. But even so, the history of the world, which flows in the darkness of sin, is certainly nothing more than a single night, a single terrible nightmare that lasts era after era. Yet, it is a night full of the sad mystery of the evening and the grandiose joy of the morning." Thus writes Pavel Florenskij, theologian, philosopher, Russian mathematician, priest, husband, very tender father.

A genius and at the same time a giant of the soul killed by the Soviet regime in 1937 with a shot in the back of the head and thrown into a mass grave. Florenskij had not fled Russia like many intellectuals after the revolution; he had remained to continue his work, dressed as a priest, even though he foresaw his tragic fate: Siberia, imprisonment, death. Inside science, inside the laws of mathematics, inside the physics of matter, he said, there is a mystical connection that holds everything together. Not the false mystique of sentimentalism, of psychologism. The true mystic tries to say the unspeakable, tries to convey an inexpressible experience, which can only be covered in words in contradiction: that is, holding together the sad mystery of the evening and the grandiose joy of the morning.

It's about seeing not with the physical eyes, but with the eyes of the heart. The Gospel of John uses two different Greek verbs, orao, physical seeing, theorao,seeing beyond, into the depths of the mystery. Seeing infinity and not time, seeing the universe and not my house. Seeing beyond the pain, our main problem. Pain of loss, death, sin, illness. The pain is there, but to move from physical seeing to seeing in depth, it must be crossed, discovering its mysterious joy. In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses the image of childbirth: «A woman, when she gives birth, is in pain... but when she has given birth to the child she no longer remembers the suffering for the joy that a man has come into the world» . «Without labor pains you cannot see the Son», said Silvano Fausti, who dedicated his life to the depth of the gospels: without labor pains the Christian capable of seeing with the eyes of the heart in every night the joy of the morning and in every man a son and a brother.

The creation account in Genesis uses two terms to say the word “living being”. If it refers to the animal, it is a complete word. There is nothing to add to the animal. If it refers to man it indicates a process of transformation: man can become a living being, but he is not yet one. Man can decide whether to live or not live, depending on how he uses the vital breath that has been placed in him. Man is a being who lives between two worlds and his task in his life is to become alive. It is moving from the orao to the theorao, to seeing with the eyes of the heart. Which Florenskij called: “cherubic heart”. We have at our disposal the years that are given to us to do so and prepare ourselves for the birth of our true selves: children who return to the Father, now yes, capable of seeing him.

Flaminia Morandi
NP June / July 2023

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