Longing for the future

Publish date 12-03-2022

by Francesco Occhetta

When an era ends and a new one begins, the passing of time entrusts us with a triple challenge: to live in “the end”, “the end” and “the boundary” of time. The "end" marks what can never return.
It is the experience of small and large deaths that include fears and relationships, plans and choices. To see them failed or unfulfilled is to experience the end. When something ends or someone dies, one is always late for that moment, there is always a lack of a word to say or a caress to give.

The country understood the gravity of the weather when on the night of March 18, 2020 it saw the photo taken by a steward of military vehicles parading down the street loaded with coffins. Faced with that scene, it was understood that the adult citizen founds his strength in his own weakness. Was it politically correct not to give the possibility to take leave of relatives before dying? How much silent pain has lodged in the social body? With what criteria did the political class consider that choice as right? The believers, immersed in this immense pain, have not abandoned the front lines in hospitals, prisons and schools. Many have paid with the price of their lives, faithful to their mission, while others have taken refuge at home thinking only of themselves. The former helped to light up the night, the latter only lengthened it.

This is a way of living and thinking politically. For this reason, in his message at the end of the year (2020), the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, asked to rebuild the country on a moral and political level: «Now we must prepare for the future, we are not experiencing a parenthesis of history.
This is the time of builders ». Then there is the experience of the end, that is, choosing which end to orient life towards.

Going along one path excludes all the other possible ones, if you want to be a reformist you can't be a conservative. Choosing where to walk as a people is planning the life of a political community. Politics for the believer also obliges the experience of the border, that of the already and the not yet: we cry but we can also rejoice; we live in an unjust and violent world, but there are also stories of justice and peace; you die but experience eternal life.
The experience of the border also animates social and political life. The alternative to the powerful and bullies are those who rebuild the world without making a sound.
The President of the Republic chooses some to represent many, and it is to them that he has attributed the 26 honors to the Merit of the Republic.
It is they that we must watch and that journalism should tell.

The time of the crisis has brought out the need for God and the importance of the life of faith which restore the authentic value of time to political life.
For the Greeks, time was the chrónos but also the kairós. The first flows, the second is the dimension in which “something” happens. Chrónos is quantitative, kairós instead has a qualitative nature, it is the time of choices, when light enters darkness and allows us to distinguish good from evil.
The widespread anxiety, fears and rebellion of the social body emerge when one passively lives the chrónos, forgetting the beauty of the kairós. Homologating on doing makes us all lose the memory of being. And yet, living in (one's) time to discover kairós is the beginning of all freedom and the foundation of all political and social responsibility. The apostle Paul speaks of time as kairós and not as chrónos. To us who read it today he does not ask to withdraw, but to re-establish a hierarchy of values ​​to live so that "those who cry (live) as if they did not cry".

It is another way of living and placing oneself in reality that can change this world so transient and pragmatic.
It is necessary to have nostalgia for the future, not for the past, to govern these difficult times: whoever plays the joker of solidarity will win. Otherwise the alternative is the one described by Samuel Beckett, in his Endgame. In the dialogue between the two protagonists, Hamm asks: «What time is it?», The servant Clov replies: «The same as always». Can we continue to survive in a time that is always the same and meaningless?
Should we continue to say that yesterday was better, without the desire to build tomorrow? In the folds of history, the solution is that described by Tolkien in his powerful image of fire: “Deep roots don't freeze. From the ashes a fire will be reborn ».

The politics of Catholics is called to a purification and to be like the leaven that does not defend rents or positions, but fecundates new ideas and visions. […] It is the fire of ideals that rekindles the ashes of missing policies, because in a people the ideal can only arise from the perception of beauty and right. Let us think of the many "ripe fruits" that arise from the studies and skills of many women and men of faith. […] The inequalities on which work, health care and education depend must be rethought by the relationship between faith and justice in politics.

Indeed, for sociologists, if the rich get richer and the rest of the population poorer, the danger of social unrest will be around the corner. On what principles, then, should social and political coexistence be founded? On those of efficiency and utility? Or even on those of solidarity and justice? It is typical of weak policies, which adopt strong and unambiguous narratives, to impose lifestyles and ways of conquering illusory power.

Francesco Occhetta
NP December 2021

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