When the light abounds
Publish date 02-09-2023
Dozens of national and international Days a year to remind humanity of the countdown of the planet.
World Water Day: every day 2 billion people don't even have water to wash their hands and the available fresh water is now one million cubic meters for 7.8 billion people. Day of the oceans: and an island of indestructible plastics of 1.6 million square km floats in the Pacific. Sacrosanct days, bookmark of civil memory. Are they enough to penetrate consciousness? Laudato si', Pope Francis' encyclical reminds us that the world is a "sacrament of communion", so that "the divine and the human meet in the smallest detail of the seamless garment of God's creation, even in the last grain of dust from our planet".
However, no recurrence, no word alone takes root without the concreteness of experience.
Nothing can be perceived except from life: only then, Nikolaj Berdjaev said, is symbolic consciousness born, the "eye of fire" that knows how to read the secret light of the world. In the missals before the Second Vatican Council, on the day of Saint Mark the Evangelist in the middle of spring, the mass was celebrated only after the procession of the major rogations, while that of the minor rogations was done before the feast of the Ascension. Basically, especially in rural areas, the people of a parish gathered in full and walked in procession along the entire perimeter of the territory, stopping in the rural chapels, led by the confraternities, then the parish priest, the women, the children, the men . People prayed along the entire journey, which lasted from dawn until evening, singing "rogations" for nature, for the fields, for the harvest, for deliverance from natural calamities, from adverse weather (A fulgure et tempestate libera nos Domine/ a scourge terrae motus libera nos Domine, Te rogamus audi nos). The rogations were grafted onto a pagan recurrence in honor of the goddess Ceres, transformed into a Christian rite in the 4th century. So? What's the problem? It is in the progressive intellectualization of faith that the seed of atheism and profit at the cost of destruction must be sought. It is from having extirpated the sense of sacredness from every aspect of life, that encounter between the divine and the human recalled by Francis, that the non-value of human life derives. It does not mean a rejection of rationality, but its transfiguration.
Recognizing "the glory of God hidden in things" is not an irrational transport, but a patient path like that of the ancient rogations along which reason refines, marvels (as happened to Albert Einstein), becomes ever more respectful. Reason is included and at the same time surpassed, not by lack of light, but by "overabundance of light" as Gregorio Palamas said.
One becomes capable of a transformed vision of reality, which sees its transparency, its allusion to another world. The one where God awaits us all, from Adam down to the smallest speck of dust.
NP May 2023