Julián Carrón (Foto: Lupe de la Vallina)

Carrón: "Let us not deflect the impact with reality"

How do you conquer fear? What contribution can Christians make? What challenge does this pandemic pose to faith? The president of the Fraternity discusses the themes of his eBook "Reawakening Our Humanity” with korazym.org. Read the interview.
Simone Baroncia

The article has been translated from the original Italian, published on korazym.org.

"The situation we are experiencing has made us aware that, for a number of years, we have lived, in some sense, as if we were in a bubble that protected us from the blows of life. And so, we went about our lives distracted, pretending that we could control everything. The circumstances, however, spoiled our plans and gave us a rude awakening, telling us to take ourselves seriously and rethink our situation in life. In recent days, reality has torn apart our more or less peaceful routine by taking on the threatening face of COVID-19, a new virus, which has caused an international health emergency."
Thus begins the eBook, Reawakening Our Humanity. Reflections in a Dizzying Time, by Fr. Julián Carrón’s, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and edited by Alberto Savorana. Starting from “an unforeseen and unforeseeable interruption of reality, wearing the face of the Coronavirus, “he describes the great possibility of rediscovery of the human that we are given to live: from solitude to silence, from sharing to friendship, to the consciousness that we have of ourselves and of the world.

Why is the "reawakening of humanity" necessary?
“So as not to succumb to the challenge that the Coronavirus emergency has posed to each of us. We had got used to a more or less peaceful life. But we did not realise that the price we were paying was the loss of our own selves. For weeks now, the irreducibility of reality has given us no respite and has forced us to reckon with the questions that constitute us as men and that we had put aside: what is the meaning of existence? Why do pain and death exist? Why is life worth living? Here lies the heart of authentic religiosity, the reawakening of humanity.”

How is it possible to "conquer" fear?

“Fear assails us when reality exposes our impotence and uncovers "those false and superfluous certainties", as Pope Francis affirms. What is the strength of a child, what allows him to overcome fear when he has to enter into a dark room? The presence of his mother. With her, he enters even the most hidden place.
This is true for everyone: it is not speeches, strategies, our efforts that sustain us when fear blocks us. Only a presence full of attractiveness sets us back in motion. Even before the fear of death. This is why God became man, died and rose again, to testify to everyone that death is not the end of everything, because the seed of the Resurrection has remained alive and continues to flourish in the humanity of those who recognize Christ and allow themselves to be seized by Him.”

How can we "generate traces" during this period?
“More than any discourse, more than any instructions for use, there is a particular need today for people who incarnate in their lives ˗ suffering from the virus, caring for the sick, accepting the isolation imposed by the danger of contagion ˗ the experience of Christ's victory, an embrace that allows them to face pain and death.
Only those who are generated can generate: the Christian knows who the protagonist of history is: Christ. Therefore, only by constantly allowing ourselves to be generated by Him can we contribute, wherever we are, to generating traces of life and hope for our human brothers and sisters. I have seen so many truly “friend” presences during these days, which testify to me how to live this dizzying time!”

But what does it mean to “make ‘the stuff of reality the heart of our intelligence?’”
"It means that the forceful irruption of reality into our lives has made the full weight of our need to understand, which we call “reason,” emerge again. Now we understand how we ended up in a bubble. For a long time, we were perhaps able to avoid the impact of reality, but reality never stopped calling out to us. We did not let reality challenge us, believing we had tamed it, protected on the privileged perch from which we view things.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly called for the freedom of children: how can we not lose this freedom?
"By accepting to be continually generated as children. I really like a phrase by Péguy: 'To that liberty…I have sacrificed everything, God says, to that taste I have for being loved by free men, freely.’ Let us imagine the father’s joy when he sees the prodigal son return home."

What 'challenge' does this pandemic pose to faith?
"Paradoxically, it is proving to be a formidable opportunity to deepen the nature of the Christian experience, for a maturation of our faith. It is in circumstances like these that the path we have taken comes to light: "The strength of a subject lies in the intensity of his self-awareness," said Fr. Giussani.
It would be a real shame if we did not seize the opportunity to realize the nature of the Christian event, but limited ourselves to complaining about the situation. We would be like the disciples on the boat in the middle of the storm: full of fear because they had not yet understood Who it was they had met. I repeat, our greatest contribution to the salvation of the world is our 'yes' to Christ's call, the only foundation and source of whatever we can do.”