“Caro cardo salutis”

Translations of Chapter 3 of Fr. Julián Carrón's book The radiance in your eyes - What saves us from nothingness?

“Caro cardo salutis.” “The flesh is the pivot of salvation.” This line by Tertullian, a Father of the Church, may seem enigmatic but its meaning becomes clear as soon as we look at our experience. If and when we have been freed from nothingness, what was able to do it?

1. A presence in the flesh
A personal contribution to help us understand this theme comes from the following letter that a young woman sent me: it focuses simply and clearly on the point that interests us, and I think others will easily identify with what she says, even if their own experiences took different forms. “When I ask myself what saves me from nothingness, I can’t help but think of my own story up to now. Two moments struck me particularly and come to mind when I think about this nothingness. One is the memory of the immense disproportion I felt as a child looking up at the stars. I was shocked to think that I was nothing compared to the immensity of the universe, so much so that some nights I couldn’t sleep because my life seemed like a meaningless moment in the passage of time. The other moment happened as I was getting into the car with my mother to return home after shopping with her, something I usually really enjoyed, but this time I felt an infinite sadness, one that has always been part of my life. I told my mother, ‘There are days when nothing in particular happened but I suddenly feel an enormous sadness and I don’t know why.’ We remained silent on the trip home, with the radio playing softly. An infinite sadness that ended in nothingness. When I transferred to a new school founded by some families in CL [...]

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