Tuesday, April 20

The spiritual quest of our time | Opinion


Whatever is being talked about, today it is only possible to do it from the horizon of the covid, which has brought us, substantially, two messages: one of an ethical nature and the other mystical.

The ethical message of the covid tells us more or less this: you can not continue living as you have been up to now, producing and consuming without restraint, traveling like crazy, wanting to live it all … Yours is a race without a goal: you make the planet suffer, it You make future generations very difficult, the rate of depression and suicide increases … Whether we like it or not, this virus has forced us to stay at home, to be more with family, to slow down the pace … You cannot permanently live outside , he warns us. Pick yourself up and look inside.

The mystical message of the covid, on the other hand, is that of a new global consciousness. Now we all know with absolute clarity that we are part of a whole, that we are closely interrelated, that we depend on each other and on the environment. It is evident that we already knew all this before, but the covid has deepened and accelerated this awareness. For this reason, I think it can be said that never before have we felt so united: united by a threat, of course; but also united in an essential solidarity.

These two messages of the covid, the ethical and the mystical, are the pillars for a new spirituality, for a new paradigm in the West. Westerners need to work on personal and social unification and, from them, on the custody of nature. Something like this – it is evident – is only possible by putting a brake on our lifestyle, so frantic. So the covid not only brings us the bad news of threat and uncertainty, death and disease, but also something positive: the possible birth of a new humanity.

This birth of a new order is certainly not going to take place without questioning the referents of the previous order. Because the spiritual paradigm that has ruled the West for these last centuries is finished, those are the facts. I am not referring only to the unquestionable decline of Christianity in Europe, but also to the decline of contemporary art and so-called postmodern thought. Indeed, no one today can argue that both art and philosophy today have taken, at least to a large extent, a self-destructive path: almost all active artists have abandoned beauty and reduced themselves to expressiveness; thinkers, for their part, have mostly disregarded the claim to truth and have settled for method, language, and hermeneutics. Only the Christian faith has continued to speak in these times of meaning and good. But it has not done it from a suitable place, it must be recognized. Christians today have not known how to place ourselves in the present.

With its persistent dogmatic vision, as exclusive as it is intolerant, the Catholic Church runs in my opinion the risk of becoming a sad caricature not only of what it was, but of what it could be. I am, of course, not the only one who believes that the Church is not responding as it should to this new global situation. I am not saying — it is obvious — that a lot of meritorious and beautiful things are not being done, of course; I am not saying that Pope Francis is not an extraordinary man, a true blessing; nor that there is no obvious goodwill on the part of almost everyone… I say alone, and I say it from the inside, as a man of the Church that I am, that all this, although it weighs on us, is not enough. Christians – this is the point – are still not up to the task at this time. The weight of the past and the force of fear are so powerful that faith runs the serious risk of becoming – if it has not already become – an outdated worldview and a residual practice, embraced only by more or less individuals and groups. extravagant and marginal. This will be the case without any doubt if some measures are not taken promptly and decisively.

I know positively that there are many who seek a recovery of the religious from keys that, no matter how much it may weigh them, do not respond to our language and sensitivity. His nostalgia has a foundation, since what – as the Church – we are leaving behind was beautiful, it still is. But also anachronistic. The point is that spirituality has been in the West, until today, practically the exclusive patrimony of Christianity. Well, that exclusivity is over, this is what you have to understand. In Europe – and probably in the whole world – the hegemony of the Christians has ended; and this ending is good news. This is my statement: Christians are not the best, much less the only ones. But we can walk with others. We can significantly collaborate in shaping a better, more spiritual world, more in line with what in Christian jargon is called God’s will.

I do not intend to make a detailed sociotheological analysis of the current situation here, but only to point out that the only Christianity with a future is one that is neither dogmatic, nor intolerant, nor exclusive, nor hegemonic. As a Christian (and I am sure that there are legion who think it like me) I do not presume to have the truth, but to seek it together with everyone who wants to do this adventure by my side and in the utmost humility. As a Christian I want to collaborate, with as much modesty as courage, to reformulate faith, to recreate it from the new paradigm of consciousness. This is a huge challenge and it goes without saying that we do not know where it will lead. It is foreseeable that difficulties of all kinds lie in wait for us. Today we do not need new ecclesial movements – there are already many -, but people and groups, networks, who want to be part of the new spiritual current that is forging in humanity.

I write this page to say that Christians are willing to change, that we want to join the spiritual search of our time, that we feel that call. We are probably not the majority of those who make up the ranks of the Church; but we are not few, and time and grace – I am sure – will give us the majority. We do not assume this attitude of humble collaboration with other non-Christian seekers, with other religions, with other approaches so as not to lose power – a lost and anti-evangelical battle – but out of fidelity to the universal legacy of Christ, out of loving listening to our similar and by imperative of our conscience. We assume it because in fact we feel united to everyone regardless of their confession or agnosticism. So it is not a passing fad or an undefined aspiration, but a deep feeling, a structural need, a well-founded and articulated proposal, although still incipient.

For my part, I am convinced that to achieve this great planetary change the main thing is silence, contemplation. Meditation — what we Christians call contemplative prayer — is prophecy here and now, the true source of this new, emerging and universal spirituality. The hour of spiritual change has come, and the Catholic Church should not be an opposition force, but rather a collaborative force in building a better world.

Pablo d’Ors is priest and writer, author of Biography of light (Galaxia Gutenberg).


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