Publish date 16-07-2021
To learn, you have to repeat. Do and redo the same things. After all, every vital function is repetition, eating, sleeping, except dying.
It should suggest something to us. But no. We, to repeat, are bored. We are interested in consuming one thing, then that's enough, moving on to something else. And so we understand nothing of the deep secret of everything, of every gesture. We do not understand its mystery, its message.
Many will never understand this. Repetition is the basis of every job. It is repeated in the kitchen, in literature (nulla dies sine linea), in painting. Cennino Cennini, who in the 15th century wrote a treatise on art that reflects the life of the Tuscan workshops of his time, writes that to become a painter it takes years of repetition: as a child, studying drawing for a year; for six years to be in the shop with a master, chop the colors, bake the glues, apply chalk on the boards; for another six years to learn to color "always drawing, never abandoning either on a holiday or on a day of work". And if the teacher finds a mistake ... a scream of rage, and here is gone the work of weeks.
We go back to redo. To repeat. So Raphael became Raphael, so Michelangelo became Michelangelo. By repeating, even those who did not have their extraordinary talent became respectable painters. Get used to the practice! Said Saint Teresina to her sisters: I know, you can't even fix your thoughts on something that you have already distracted yourself. For years, too, I have suffered the same torment ... But you can. Meditate on one thing at a time. Do you meditate on passion? Look at the Lord tied to the column. Just watch it.
Can't make it in a year? Will it take many years? There is no time better spent: stay in practice. Repeat. St. Ignatius of Loyola based his Spiritual Exercises on repetition, which refounded the Church in Europe after the Lutheran wound: the third and fourth meditation are always a repetition of the first and second and the fifth is a resumption of all the others. , but more affective. Because love, the Spirit that animates every word of Scripture, is discovered only by repeating, and repeating despite the dryness, disgust, boredom, sometimes the nonsense that takes us.
Repeating, the heart gives way, opens a little, a little light enters. And then, who knows ...
Father Silvano Fausti, great transmitter of the faith, observes that there are episodes in the Gospel that are repeated in the same Gospel. The multiplication of the loaves. It is so difficult to understand that if we are in a desert (as we are) and we only have five loaves to feed ourselves, if we share them, there is something for everyone.
They listen to him, but they don't understand. Jesus, patient, repeats. Repeat the miracle. He could say: go back! Who has understood comes with me, the others do repetitions.
No: he repeats. He doesn't let us do repetitions.
He repeats. Repetition is the sign of God's compassion. The sign of his patience.
Here, God has patience, says Father Fausti: it is the only defect he has!
NP March 2021