Traces N.4, April 2016

A Boundless Question

There is a portion of the world that we look at rarely, and even then, only sporadically. We do so on particular occasions, for example, when protestors, for or against Lula, filled the streets in Brazil, or when Barack Obama made a historic visit to Cuba at the end of March, or when Pope Francis makes a pilgrimage, which is always impressive and thought-provoking, as was the case in February in Mexico. But in general, Latin America is out of sight and out of mind. And yet the world of Latin America is one close to our own culture and tradition. Its history is the child of our own Western history, a broad, perhaps somewhat tired category, but still useful for understanding ourselves. Also, this continent has given us our Pope who, as he himself said immediately after the election three years ago, his “brother Cardinals” went “almost to the ends of the earth” to get.

For these reasons,
we have decided to see what it means to live the faith there, in that world,to see what difference Christianity can make, how it can help life in such a difficult and harsh context, perhaps more so than many others. A context full of worries and fear of losing tranquillity, of wounds, pain, and dramatic situations, teetering under our feet, as is happening in other parts of “our” West, as you can read in the pages that follow. This context never, or almost never, enjoys “tranquillity.” It is not a part of the picture.Whether it is the daily violence in certain areas of Mexico, or the looming poverty that asphyxiates Venezuela,the misery of the Brazilian favelas or the villas of Buenos Aires, life is always pressing and challenging. So then, what can we learn by looking at this world? What can we discover about the Pope, the faith, and ourselves? These questions are important because there is nothing more crucial for life than filling something–someone–able to embrace all of it, in all its drama, especially now, in these times.

A few weeks ago we witnessed the terrible attacks in Brussels; once again terror, once again blood in the heart of Europe and in the midst of HolyWeek.In a letter to the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera (which you will find on page 15), Julián Carrón, the leader of CL, asked a question that we all feel: “How can we look at these facts, as women and men,without yielding to bewilderment or rage? Only if we do not block out the urgent need for meaning, for a why... The more lacerating the pain, the more boundless is the question, the prayer of entreaty, that we sense within.” He indicated a point to look at: Easter, that is, the Mercy of God. There, “Christ offers Himself as the response worthy of the boundless prayer of entreaty for a why, and at the same time communicates to us that energy without which we cannot recover.” This is what we can learn looking at those who already live this experience.