Lima, Peru

Peru: The novelty in a fractured world

In Peru, the presentation of “Reawakening Our Humanity” with Fr. Carrón, artist Ivonne Labrousse and geologist Fredesbindo Vásquez. A frank and direct discussion. “Where can we look for this gaze you talk about?”
Daniela Altini

Artist Ivonne Labrousse and geologist Fredesbindo Vásquez presented the Spanish edition of Reawakening Our Humanity alongside Julián Carrón, for the Peruvian public. It was an intense dialogue, rooted in experience. Labrousse spoke a lot about herself, talking about much the questions that Carrón asks in his book have provoked her. She spoke of how much her human desire has amplified and transformed during these months of quarantine. How she again felt the need for a different gaze, through which to look at reality and herself. A gaze of love and tenderness, like her mother's gaze towards her brother, born without an eye.

Vásquez, former Director of Environmental Policy at the Ministry of Energy of the Peruvian Government, a man who is used to observing things around him for a living, intervened precisely in regards to this insistence upon the relationship with reality: "I am struck by Carrón's emphasis on reality, which now includes the pandemic. It took us by surprise, locked inside our bubble. It makes me think and reflect upon when, quoting González Sainz, you write that "reality was there but we never saw it. Now, it has made its clamorous entrance. Reality interjected, without asking permission." And you add that we have been torn from our comfort zone, we have verified that the feelings that reality arouses - wonder, fear, curiosity - are a lens that brings objects closer."

The desire for a new gaze. The desire for reality. Carrón, for his part, emphasizes the educational function that reality plays in the dynamic of the reawakening of humanity and, at the same time, the need to learn from reality in order to be able to accompany others to look: a gaze like that of a mother who, by introducing her child to the things of life, transmits the experience of living to him. And he quoted the message of a friend who was sick from Covid: "It is looking in a different way, because now that I have caught Covid, here in my hospital bed, I stop, I think and I cannot help but realize the novelty that my wife, my children and my grandchildren are". It is a journey that we can undertake in any circumstance, even in a hospital, with Covid, Carrón commented.

But in the world in which we live, described by Labrousse as fractured, where people, in order not to bump into one another, move to the opposite sidewalk, where our fragility prevails, where God seems absent, where everything seems insignificant to produce change, how is it possible to contribute to the good of the world?, asked Silvia Neciosup, oncologist and moderator of the dialogue.

It is a paradox, explained Carrón, that a simple human gesture can have a repercussion upon the good of the world: "But we see it happen. I am thinking, for example, about a person who is sick with motor neurone disease, met recently, very fragile, unable to move. A person who must be served in everything. So, is this person useless? Is she useless for the common good? She asks herself this question. Yet, in the way she is accepting and living her illness, she is helping by offering her children, her grandchildren a meaning to life, infinitely more powerful than anything she could achieve by her doing, because she is offering them a key to understand life. This woman's "yes" has meaning for everyone who comes into contact with her: doctors, nurses, people who help her. She is offering everyone the meaning of life.” Like Our Lady, continued Carrón: what more could she have done for man than to say "yes" to the angel's announcement? "And yet, thus, without almost ever leaving Nazareth, she made it possible for God to become man in her womb, with an enormous repercussion for human history.”

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Labrousse then directly asked the author of the book a question: "I received an education that blocked desire. I grew up in a world of prohibitions. Year after year, an emptiness was growing within me... You say that, in order to save us from nothingness, we need "this flesh that is capable of filling the abyss of life." How can I look for this gaze you are talking about? Where should I look for it?" Carrón took the blow and asked himself: "What have we Christians done with the gift of faith that we have received as grace?" And he continued: "It is a gift received to testify that in life, now, here, Christ is not the One who forbids, but the One who fills the void that grows inside us." Then he added: "If we are attentive, curious and full of desire, we can intercept Him in presences that live faith as this experience of fullness. Because they are there! The Lord continues to rouse them for you and for me."

And yet, not even a challenge as strong as the pandemic changes us in a mechanical way. A work is necessary, concluded Carrón, so that everything that happens can make us grow as people, in the ability to look at the gift that is the other, parents, children, friends, reality.