Emmanuel, GOD WITH US
Letter of Unity, Christmas 2011
Dear brother and sister, you have often asked yourself where does this unfriendly loneliness mankind suffers comes from. We have all experienced this reality in ourselves and in our surroundings, which makes us realize that we are equals. Loneliness is rooted in the depth of man´s heart, but it also lies concealed within the concrete walls of the big cities, with sad evidence to show for it. A multitude of human beings show it to us very clearly, others live in a hidden silence. For some it is a “solitude filled with howling” (Dt 32:10), in which fear, astonishment, anxiety and threat reign, and where you can hardly get a human word, a gesture of someone close, or compassion. And so, a solitary man is an unprotected man, in the middle of the void, left out in the open,who feels the need to defend himself , even more, to hide himself. How much violence this solitude creates, how much revenge, how much aggression! Others live in a solitude without ways (Ps 107:4), meaningless, without any orientation, without signs. In this solitude, man often gets himself lost, not knowing where to go because he doesn’t know where he comes from, why he’s here, who called or brought him. He lacks an origin, a ‘what for’ and a ‘where to’. We all know people who wander without a meaning, without anyone by their side, not only to accompany them, but also to point them the way. This disorientated solitude, we all are familiar to it! How much despair it causes, and in this despair one tends to escape from it, often to nowhere...
Man is an empty hole. This emptiness is a lack, but also a disposition to look at life as a space that needs to be filled, to become inhabited. If it is not filled, it will remain empty and loneliness will sadly settle down in it as its master, changing one´s existential question in an existential doubt, and in a firm convictionf of the uselessness of our lives in this wide and unknown world. Nevertheless, this sad emptiness has got a meaning: Someone needs to come and live in it. Someone that is Lord of this place, King of this city (Nicolas Cabasillas, Homélies mariales). So, if this hole, meant to be lived in by Someone, remains inhabited, how can one bear the emptiness, this useless void?
And to add to all this is the most terrifying loneliness, that man, with his history of creating distance, has broken with all guardianship, endlessly turning and twisting from what in reality is our ultimate destiny: to be like God, to become part of the family of God. I am referring to an unfortunate orphanage. Being detached from all guardianship has seemed to give us a lot of freedom but in reality has left us in the most terrible loneliness. Without father-mother, without a home, without a roof, walls or a floor. This has started a chain of irreparable losses: without father-mother there can be no brother-sister, thus contaminating all other relationships. The world is not only empty of God, but is also dehumanized as an immediate result of that, causing human solitude to appear more and more frequent, unavoidably visible, beating us with its presence and asking us, however silently, for a kind closeness of friendship, of consolation, a life-saving embrace.
Nobody in our inner emptiness, nobody holding the meaning of life, nobody inside and nobody outside... that is the extreme solitude which is unbearable.
From this enormous lack arises in the end an outcry, the same lack that breaks open the most inhospitable earth and makes it cry out for the beneficial rain. In such a landscape arises the prayer of the Psalmist: "Remember me, Lord, visit me with Thy salvation" (Psalm 105, 4). This is where the cry of Advent arises, the insistent call of man to the One on whom he has finally set his hopes for a durable health, curing the illness of the human heart, and fullness that fulfils all capacity for love and community that he embodies. The calling of man to be visited by God, because his life is not complete without such an encounter, a face-to-face, a dialogue, a living companionship. The cry of man faced with solitude, coincides with the original desire of God “It’s not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:18)
The greatest grace received by man has been His visit, not only as a response to man’s request but, above all, as a manifestation of God’s will to meet with him. Like it was His plan from the beginning (Ef 1:10). In the person of Jesus, the Son, God visits us, establishing His permanent presence in our midst. The Incarnation and de Nativity of the Lord Jesus are the gateway of His presence among us, making man himself the place of His visit, the place where God will live, filling with His fullness the old emptiness, restoring in that way the city-paradise from which he was expelled and to which he returns full of grace and tenderness; man himself, to whom Jesus, the Saviour, comes to convey the love of God the Father, so that he may know him as the living source of all love, eradicating the orphanage and satisfying at once his single and deep desire to love and be loved. This way, we are not alone, we are beings inhabited by God, we have a Father, His love is the beginning and the end, it will not let us loose ourselves without course or without meaning. The howls of fear and death can do nothing to us, because God is with us, because He is on our side, He is our guardian and Saviour in the midst of our precarious condition. God is with us, His name is Emmanuel.
God's visit strengthens the bond that ties us to Him and starts a convivial time like no eye has ever seen, nor ear heard, nor any creature could ever imagine (1 Cor 2:9). God wanted to live with man since the beginning until the end of life, knowing the most humble of human joys and sorrows, sharing the bread of sweat and of the fields, carrying our sins and encouraging us in our weak hope. God has become one of us in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Word made flesh. If we are called to live life in the communio Dio, in communion with God, we are double blessed when we are able to live with God, the convivio Dio, in the flesh, by Jesus Christ our Lord. This way, the communion with God becomes a living together, and this living together, that became possible through the Incarnation, will lead to an unending communion, the ultimate redemption for man, eternal life in God.
This living together of man with God shall give meaning to the living together of humanity, which will be an image and the fruit of that which is expressed in the heart of the Trinity. No solitude is alien to us Christians, nor are we indifferent of the ways leading to it. Therefore, from wheresover we may be let us also make the visit to man in God’s name, doing for others what He has done for us. The ‘vía sacra’ of the Visitation of God to man was Love. May that also be the way for all of us. Let us approach any human solitude by announcing the presence of God among us and denouncing everything that interferes with it, hinders it, contradicts or forgets about it. May it be in the depth of our hearts and in our social structures; in our families and communities and in the middle of the streets and of the towns. God wants to live with man and we want to live with Him. In this mutual inhabitation lies the meaning of human life.
Comunidad de la Conversión