Monday, December 10, 2012

Leonardo Boff on Paths: Finding Them, Walking Together as "Solidarians in the Same Destiny"

An Advent reflection I find beautiful and challenging--Leonardo Boff on paths, on finding and putting our feet into them:

Each human being is a homo viator, a walker through the paths of life. As Argentinean Native poet and singer Atahualpa Yupanqui says: «the human being is the Earth who walks». We do not receive our existence ready made. We must build it. And to that end, we must open the path, starting with and going beyond the paths that preceded ours, and have already been walked. Even so, our personal path is never completely given. It must be built with creativity and without fear. As the Spanish poet Antonio Machado says: «walker, there is no path; the path is made by walking». 
In effect, we are always on the way to our own selves. At bottom, either we realize ourselves, or we are lost. Therefore, there are basically two paths, as the First Psalm of the Bible says: the path of the just or the path of the impious, the path of light or the path of darkness, the path of selfishness or the path of solidarity, the path of love or the path of indifference, the path of peace or the path of conflict. In a word: the path that leads to a good end or the path that leads to the abyss.

And his conclusion, which is specifically Advent-themed:

There is no escape: we have to choose the path to build and how to follow it, knowing that «living is dangerous» (GuimarĂ£es Rosa). But we never do it alone. Multitudes walk with us, solidarians in the same destiny, accompanied by Someone named: “Emmanuel, God with us”.

The graphic is a detail from Bruegel's "The Census at Bethlehem" (1586), in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, from Wikimedia Commons.

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