Friday, October 14, 2011

Leonardo Boff on Cristo Redentor

Words that stir my heart deeply right now at the website of Leonardo Boff, helpfully (and beautifully) rendered into English by Rebel Girl at her Iglesia Descalza blog:

Bienaventurados los que sueñan con un mundo nuevo posible y necesario en el cual todos puedan caber, naturaleza incluida. Felices aquellos que aman a la Madre Tierra como a su propia madre y respetan sus ritmos, dándole paz para que pueda rehacer sus nutrientes y siga produciendo todo lo que necesitamos para vivir, para nosotros, para toda la comunidad de vida y para las futuras generaciones.

Bienaventurados los que no desisten, sino que resisten e insisten en el sueño de que el mundo puede ser diferente y lo será, un mundo donde la poesía camine junto al trabajo, la música se junte con las máquinas, y todos se reconozcan como hermanos y hermanas, viviendo en la única Casa Común que tenemos, este bello y luminoso pequeño planeta Tierra.

And in English:  

Blessed are those who dream of a possible and necessary new world in which everyone can fit, including nature. Blessed are those who love Mother Earth as their own mother and respect her rhythms, giving her peace to rebuild her nutrients and continue to produce all we need to live.

Blessed are those who do not desist, but resist and insist that the world can be different and will be, a world where poetry walks side by side with work, music comes together with machines, and all recognize one another as brothers and sisters living in the one common home we have, this beautiful and bright little planet Earth.

Boff writes this meditation as the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Corcovado, Brazil, turns 80.  And as I read his reflection and these stirring words, how can I avoid thinking of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and of that dream of the "possible and necessary new world in which everyone can fit," which never completely dies, no matter how much the self-anointed masters of each successive era of history keep trying to quell the dream?

How can I avoid thinking of Walt Whitman walking tenderly among both rebel and Union soldiers in the enormous hospital camps of D.C., where soldiers who were mere boys called out for their mothers in their last agony as Whitman wiped their brows--boys dying not knowing precisely why they had to give their lives in a bloody war of brother against brother, and what that war meant, precisely?

How can I avoid thinking of John of the Cross cauterizing the wounds and slaking the pain of lepers, of those with venereal diseases in the hospital in which he worked as a nurse in Medina del Campo, touching dirty, diseased bodies that no one else would approach?  Touching those bodies with mercy and utterly without judgment . . . .  Touching those bodies as if they were the body of the Beloved whose love wounded John at the deepest levels of his soul, while it also moved him to ecstatic mystical union . . . .

How can I help thinking of Simone Weil wanting not only to talk about but to live in solidarity with working people, and so resigning her comfortable position as a teacher of philosophy to work in a factory, where her health broke due to the hardships of the job? An experience of solidarity with struggling people which confirmed her mystical insight that the certainty of faith itself can be a leap into a zone of comfort that obscures the dark night of union with God, with the poor . . . . An experience which confirmed her mystical insight that the words of faith, the ceremony of it, the power it provides those who leap into its arms in a religion-imbued culture, can hide us from and not unite us to God . . . .

And as I read Boff, how can I not think of Violeta Parra and her short, tragic life that nonetheless resulted in so much beauty, in songs and poems like "Gracias a la vida" that have moved and will continue to move the hearts of generations of dreamers, poets, lovers, and healers?  As I read Boff, I think of these and many other dreamers, poets, lovers, healers including the poor man of Nazareth who feel an ineluctable call to build a possible and necessary new world in which everyone can fit.  And I am glad to have heard their stories, and to find myself drawn to their witness.

Because it helps me to know that the dream of a possible and necessary new world in which everyone can fit will never entirely vanish from the world, from history, as long as someone, anyone within each generation throughout history comes along to keep this dream alive, and to transmit it in the ever-shifting cultural contexts that will continue to develop over the course of time and of space . . . .

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