Gio 20 Lug 2017 Scritto da Pierinux AGGIUNGI COMMENTO

Il seguente è il testo (in inglese) di un intervento tenuto negli USA, Chicago, il 16maggio scorso da p.Luciano Mazzocchi

1. Some Symptoms of the Experience of Void

The experience of Void is universal. We do not only see it in others but we experience it in ourselves. No one can say, “I am ignorant of this experience.” If someone dares to say it, it is because he tries to defend himself from it and hides this question under the surface. This question derives from the experience of the void itself. Let us start with a brief account of the symptoms of this experience, an account that cannot be exhaustive of it as a whole, but can work as a useful introduction to it.

1. Void is a man’s experience of suspension before starting a path, of which he does not know the beginning nor the end. How often we proceed without really moving, uncertain whether to turn left or right. Exactly like when we get lost in the woods and we cannot know the road we’ve taken,–where it has started and where it will end.
We always imagine a road with a beginning and an end, but at a certain age of life this perception fades away: it seems we are ignorant of everything, the start and the end of our path. It is like a foggy day when we cannot see any detail around us. Yet we need to walk, step by step… if we stop and think about it, we are experiencing the emptiness.

2. Void is the experience of our puzzlement in defining our personal place in the immense universe.
Whoever loves nature can easily understand this, gazing up at the starry sky and asking himself the meaning of his existence, being just an infinitesimal fragment of the whole cosmos. We could say that before Galileo Galilei people were lucky to think of themselves unreservedly as the centre of the world. They knew the Earth was at the centre of the Universe, Rome at the centre of the Earth, the Pope at the centre of Rome. But the advent of Science broke the spell. It frightens to know we are not the centre of the Universe. When we look up at the sky we like deluding ourselves into thinking we are still at the centre of it, despite the certain knowledge of our irrelevance.

3. Void as the experience of our precarious “here and now,”– our infinitesimal place in the infinite evolution of the Universe.
We say beautifully that something happens “in a flash”; Japanese define the moment as “the wink of an eye.” We live the moment and this is nothing compared to the infinite evolution of time. Celestial bodies evolve in countless thousands of years. When we grow older this perception of the fugacity of our own time pushes us to dye our hair, fill our wrinkles, deceive our growing age. But if we stop to meditate on this, without trying to escape, we experience the emptiness.

4. Void as our disappointment when we fail to achieve our goals, that vanish away as a dreamy mirage of an oasis in the desert. In our everyday life, how many things we have thought and planned have failed in fact to happen? But we don’t give up and we focus on the next project, so we don’t regret our past failures; we run so fast that we cannot perceive that many, if not all, of our goals and intentions that emerge from our heart and mind remain unfinished, like a mirage. If we stop this running and instead observe who we really are, we can experience the void as our own dimension.

5. Void as the frustration our will faces in realizing how inconsistent are its desires. Our heart keeps wishing things it cannot achieve. Our heart commands but our hands fail to obey. Yes, there are happy and fruitful moments in our life, but—honestly speaking–so often our life is a series of unrealized desires.

6. Void as the experience of violence that follows the failure of revolutionary movements to fight for and build a new society. Gone are Marxism, and before it, the “Enlightenment,” and before it the Renaissance,…. gone is the European civitas christiana, and before that the Roman Empire. Civilizations and great movements fade away. We always see that the things that seem solid, also all those men who fill the newspapers, will not last forever. Let us imagine a missionary spending all his life in a South American country, where there’s a lot of injustice, and it seems to him that nothing really changes. It is a dream, an ideal, a project that pushes the missionary to spend all of his life in that country, and then he realizes that nothing has changed. Let us think about a family in which parents invest their expectations into and their dreams onto their children, only to realize that their projects do not come true because their children choose different directions in life.

7. Void as the escape from reality, “religion” promising a renewed life that does not come, so that religious men takes refuge in pious devotions and paranormal or paranoic practices.
For two thousand years Christianity has preached love and brotherhood. The Gospels preach this message, and we priests keep repeating it in our sermons. I remember an old Japanese woman who wanted to be baptized before dying; she had never seen television, she was an illiterate. She asked me: “Are there many Christians in your country?” – “Yes, almost all are baptized,” I replied. “What a nice place your country must be! There must be no thieves around!” she exclaimed. She died convinced of that, maybe thinking that Italy was like Heaven on Earth. But great religions must honestly recognize that their ideals have been unfullfilled.
It seems that there are epoques of decadence. Ours seems to be one of these, especially when compared with other periods of history full of strength and hope, like the Renaissance or the Middle Ages when people constructed immense cathedrals and universities and there was so much creativity.

Today it seems that distrust prevails and also Buddhism should recognize that the sense of detachment from worldly pleasures that it has preached for thousands of years–in Japan for instance–has not stopped the greedy run for money and the greedy competition for international trade. So when we realize that the values and ideals we preach cannot manage to become reality on this Earth, we tend to imagine that somewhere else they might do so (escaping to “Heaven” starts from this experience of the void). We can live this separation between reality and ideality: we can become disaffected from reality and decide to escape to an imaginary world that can console us but not really help us.

8. Void as the experience of the meaninglessness of life and so as a consequence the search for pleasures that compensate for the infinite distance between Existence and Being.
The awareness of this sums up everything. Existence is our mere being here and now in a specific space and time that has no subsistence, that fades away without stability, like a flower that blossoms and then withers at night. It is like a joy that you try to grasp in vain, and then vanishes away. We exist and we know that something is missing: the real Being. So we project this divide in ourselves, splitting ourselves into a duality between a real world we are forced to live and an ideal one that is unattainable. This provokes sadness and boredom: we indulge in the trivial phantasmagoria of existence, seizing that little pleasure of the moment in a discontinuous experience that has no unity and wholeness. When we are young we even resort to tricks and shortcuts to maximize our pleasures, aware that with age this experience will eventually diminish. “While I’m young I must have fun, then one day I’ll get married.” This is true until we realize that these pleasures have gone, and so we experience a void. In the Christian world, Augustine in his Confessions and Pascal in his Thoughts have testified to this experience of “void.”

Christian theologians have elaborated many theories about it. For instance, the theory of “original sin” that has no reference in the Gospels. It was Augustine who struggled to explain why an original harmonious nature that was not meant to know suffering suddenly had this downfall, so he thought to find an “original sin” that corrupted everything. Obviously we can ask ourselves: “If Adam and Eve, by eating the forbidden fruit, have destroyed the original harmony, leading to this world in which we experience the void and meaninglessness of everything, why did they fall so easily? Why did God not create better beings?”

Saint Paul, another great Christian experiencer of the void in Christianity, in his letter to the Romans, chapter VII, mentions a double heart: “I know the law, but within me I lack the ability to follow it and do good; it is not me sinning, it is rather my incapacity that sins for me.”
Many Christian saints and thinkers have asked themselves: why do I live this tension between an ideal that makes me fly high and this burden, that like gravity holds me down? I’m so lacerated that I wish I were a little bird or a cat that can kill and eat a bird without any regret. Instead I live being what I know I shouldn’t be.

2. An Analysis of the Experience of Void

Every experience of the void includes some factors:

1. The preceding experience of something that is solid that has generated the illusion of a stable solidity on which we can rely. We experience the void because we have attached ourselves to something, material or spiritual, that has deluded us.

Pascal says we wouldn’t suffer if we hadn’t the memory of our original beauty. Maybe it is because we keep the memory of our innocent childhood, even when growing older means getting lost, dirty, and confused. There’s always the regret of a lost innocence, combined with the sadness of aging. These are personal experiences and also communitarian…but imagine you walk in the woods and then you come back into a polluted city: you feel the regret of having lost that uncontaminated nature.

2. It is the sudden and unexpected disappearance of our certainties, the collapse of our habitual self-confidence. It is like the memory of our childhood innocence, clear or unconscious. Life pushes us forward, and what we used to rely upon disappears: this is the void.

This lack of security forces us to hold on to anything available. In our families we can face the sudden failure of our certainties, and we can be filled with doubts and suspicions that tear away every security. I remember a mother who started suspecting her son was taking drugs, and constantly used to come to me (I was the director of Caritas) hoping that I had the magic solution. She kept saying she had that suspicion about her son and yet she could not believe it to be true. Everything was slipping out of her hands, but she didn’t want to admit this until it was too late. This illusion was the result of habits we hold on to, in order to avoid the collapse of our certainties. Habits create visions and illusions, so that if we lose them we feel lost in the dark.

3. The instinct to hold on to something else, in order not to succumb. Drugs are not just heroin, cocaine or alcohol. A drug can be, for example, trying desperately to hide a wrinkle. A drug is a surrogate that goes against life as it is.

4. The feeling of being exhausted and hence the impossibility to remedy a situation. We give up and we justify our pessimism. Rather than facing a situation for what it is, we elaborate a “dusty” theory that covers reality; we pontificate, and we blame institutions, hoping this will silence our experience of the void.

5. Finally, there is also the lack of any impression whatsoever, an apathetic taste for nonsense. We finally reach this holocaust: in a holocaust, the Jews burned the whole animal victim (in the ordinary sacrifice, instead, just the offal of the animal was burnt, and the flesh was eaten). Here in our lives we face the holocaust of all perspectives, ..…all are burned down, resulting in total “abulia.”

3. The Prologue to John’s Gospel

Every culture, and religion as well, has a period of growth, maturity and decadence. In the case of Christianity, in the first years half of the known world, from Turkey to Morocco, was full of churches: Augustine was bishop in Tunisia, Tertullian in Lybia, and other saints in Egypt. Then everything dissolved. The same for Buddhism, which originated in India and then disappeared there; and as is the case for civilizations, for the collective human thought and path. Suddenly something else arises to follow the same process: it rises and soon after it goes down. This phenomenon also characterizes the human person throughout his life, even though his personal experience changes according to his own reactions and challenges.

Obviously everything originating from man and enfolding him cannot escape time. Religious phenomena are involved in this same way and perspective: I honestly believe that all religious phenomena do not resist time. I realize I have some resistance against accepting this fact, as does everybody else, but our very resistance is a clue inviting us to understand the truth: namely, we must try to identify with the very experience of void.The experience of void has exasperated and purified, destroyed and built, lowered and raised up. A Greek scholar used to say that all enlightened thoughts originate in a dark night. We must desire the light if we want to “switch it on.”In this

In this sense the experience of void does not concern itself with the details of existence but investigates the deepest roots. The experience of void comes from the gap between existing and being, in the moment when existing and being from the deep give man impulses that he is not able to recognize. If we were deprived of the awareness of existing and the memory (or attraction) of being, we would be peaceful. The experience of void is continuously given by the gap between existing and being.Existing is a daily phenomenon, but being is something we are not able to perceive. Much like the Earth’s surface, which we can see, touch and cultivate, this surface is based on something unfathomable, and intimately stable. We are always there, in the interaction of that phenomenological experience and something that it is before, beyond and inside the phenomenon we call being.

Existing is a daily phenomenon, but being is something we are not able to perceive. Much like the Earth’s surface, which we can see, touch and cultivate, this surface is based on something unfathomable, and intimately stable. We are always there, in the interaction of that phenomenological experience and something that it is before, beyond and inside the phenomenon we call being.How many times we feel suspended between a position functional to what surrounds us and one when we feel in our heart a voice warning us of the emptiness of that position. 

How many times we feel suspended between a position functional to what surrounds us and one when we feel in our heart a voice warning us of the emptiness of that position. How many times we would like to speak, shout, denounce, judge, and instead an inner voice warns us not to do it, asserting that silence is the unique value.

To overcome the fear that the experience of void gives man, he cannot but listen deeply to the void itself. The Jews of the desert–when bitten by the poisoned serpents–in order to be immunized from the poisoned bite, used to gaze at the bronze serpent on the camp’s pile. Jesus indicated that the bronze serpent is a symbol of the cross. The Bible gives humanity an absolute indication– man overcomes the cross by taking the cross, the pain by looking at the pain: he “crosses” void trusting to the void itself. The Prologue of the Bible according to John leads us to a holy comprehension of the void’s experience. Herewith, the most authentic reply that the Bible gives man and the whole of Christianity:—

The Bible according to John starts—
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

This Word, in its Latin translation Verbum, was the Word. In Italian as well it has been translated as the “Verbum,” but it would be more correctly translated as the “Word.” In Greek it is Logos, more creative than “Verbum” or “Word.” Logos in Greek thought is that harmonizing force by which the chaos creates the universe, drawing the shapes, colours, and flavours from the chaos itself.

The Bible goes on:
“In the beginning he was by God: everything was done through him and nothing existing was done without him.”

He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Facing this Biblical announcement, all of us Christians feel like lisping children not able to catch the novelties, the originality and the weight of this announcement. We are not able to truly listen to the Bible because we presume to understand its message already,….. because we have fixed ideas we do not want to give up, we cannot understand the message. If we were able to truly listen, we would be upset, renewed and modified by these Biblical words: we would experience them as a resurrection.

We have an idea of God as the great Chief inside us. The Old Testament, as well as the Koran, have educated us to this idea: indeed, the Catholic Church, considering God as the “Boss” over everything, in its old Catechism used to say that God was the most perfect Being, Creator and Sustainer of earth and sky.

Thus, when we hear that the Logos was by God, and that the Logos was God, we imagine a great-chief with a son and that this son is heir to his father’s power. Here instead I am asserting that the existence’s source that we call “God” – let’s borrow this designation “God” as our convenient term for what we mean here– it is a will that creates existence; it is a chaos from which the source originates, and it is mind, the harmony shaping the material rising from the divine will.

God is intimately creative will. It is mind, intelligence, limpidity, harmony that shapes reality. In God there’s the Emptiness between the Father and the Son, between the Creator and the harmonizer. Greeks called this harmonizer the demiourgos, and the Gospel annunces that He is the Son of the Father. Between them, between the Source that creates and the mind that organizes, there’s an intimate relation.

A distinction must be made. The experience of emptiness reveals without any doubt that there is a discontinuity, an intrinsic separation in the essence of reality. Any mind questioning the reason for this is challenged to decide whether the Emptiness surrounding man is a friend or an enemy–whether to accept the duality forming the two banks of the river of the Emptiness, or to deny it.

Some holistic visions of reality, those thinking of the olos, the global whole, as the one without opposites, deny any duality. Opposites are understood to reconcile, so as to ensure the tranquillity of “no confrontation” and “no conflict.” There are many religions that serve this attractive vision of tranquillity. In Christianity, many profess their faith and “unify opposites” by some devotional compromises meant to supply certitude. Such Christians search for miracles as signs to gain relief from the duty to believe without seeing, relief from the experience of emptiness. And sometimes Christians develop a compromise whereby faith is balanced-out with “measured” beliefs correspondent to logical and reasonable human understanding. From God creating man in his own image to men creating a God in their own image! This happens in everyone. We are always tempted to escape the mystery and return to those certainties putting us at the center of the world.

In the Old Testament’s religiosity, God–the Omnipotent–was the unique source of reality. Nobody could resist his will. Obviously, the reality of a unique Omnipotent Creator required a unique nature, unique features. In this light, the question of evil came up: were darkness and disgrace God’s creations or were they a consequence of the Evil One? Who is the Evil One? Is he subject to the omnipotent God? Why does not God keep him out, exclude him? Evil makes real trouble inside religions as it defeats all certainties. In his book Let’s Start From God Again, Cardinal Martini invites us to pronounce the name of God with authentic humility, since it is surrounded by mystery.

Still today the modern Christian man is troubled by questions such as: why war, criminality, the Mafia, the social and economic injustice, the ecological degradation? Why cannot I get on with the achievement of perfection? Why cannot there be change?
Monotheism has not given a convincing answer regarding God and the existence of evil. Force seems to be the only way to “enforce” the world of “God.” The only resort seems to be a theocratic system where policy supports religion and viceversa, indisputably. In this way the experience of void is blocked by “certainty” and “effectiveness.” Nowadays theocracy puts the Italian people under siege precisely because of the exhausting threat of void: of culture, civilization, government, perspectives and sense of community. A positive sign has come from the disagregation of the Catholic party,–this has brought on an experience of void but is allowing a recovery of a long-awaited liberty.

The prologue of the Gospel according to John is an incommensurable revolution, of which all of us Christians seen unaware. This Gospel announces that void is in God,– it is his nature. Void is from its origin. It is divine, eternal. The New Testament overcomes the monotheistic comprehension of God of the Old Testament, asserting that God is the Father who creates the being; God is the Logos shaping the being in all features of its existence; God is the Spirit who sanctifies the Logos, taking back everything into the Father.That makes us understand that the creation didn’t originate and then finish. The Gospel according to John opens with “at the beginning.” This is the Bible itself declaring, “at the beginning God created origin.”

That makes us understand that the creation didn’t originate and then finish. The Gospel according to John opens with “at the beginning.” This is the Bible itself declaring, “at the beginning God created origin.”

That principle does not indicate a past to which we can go back: we must see everything from its origin, in its deepest features, and everything is now. It is a relationship between the will that creates the existence and the pure intelligence shaping the existence and the Spirit that warms, gives life, and harmonizes.

The Orientals speak of two principles: male and female, yin and yang, light and darkness. We find the same in the Gospel according to John. “Becoming” is not the consequence of a past creation; rather, it is still the present creation. We are continuously making experience of the void because we live among those divine forces. We can perceive, understand and love, like a little bird following only its instinct.

Creation is being carried out and always shows traces of the Father and the Logos, in a continuous contrast perpetuating the creation. We are troubled by a vision according to which our comprehension of God oscillates between two interacting poles,– of the omnipotent God, making and undoing as he likes. God is dialogical in his deepest nature, in a relationship between the force of existence and the one harmonizing existence.

For this reason the Christian texts of the New Testament constantly repeat that we are the Logos, we are the Son. Christ gives us his body to eat because we are the Logos, because with the creative force of events, we operate the harmonization of the things that happen. We fail because of our laziness: we prefer being the inert spectators of life rather than the actors in it, actors who are part of the Logos harmonizing things, events, and history itself.

“He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:2-3)

God is the experience of the Void, in its most profound and personal way, that exists since the beginning. Reality, in the beginning, does not exist if not as the relationship between the creative will of the Father and the harmonizing intelligence of the Son, the Logos, the warm breath of the Spirit. This keeps happening in us all of the time. Luther, in this sense, says that the maximum of God’s presence is His hiddenness, because God hides in order to leave space for the creature. He hides so that we can move the divine force that rests in us. When the “created” Void is sinful because of man, then Logos opens his arms, lays His body on the creation and reconciles it with His sacrifice.

From these considerations, inspired by the Gospel, we must ask ourselves: what sense does the experience of Void have now in this particular historical moment? In this moment where we seem to be exasperated from the experience of Void…

4. God’s kenosis: the space for sin and grace

Trying to find the true meaning of the experience of the Void, with help of our life experience and the Gospel of John, we have understood that the Void is divine, that is, it inhabits God himself. Or as well, that God lives in the Void. This is something new and unusual. Kenosis is the Greek term often used in the Old Testament where God is presented as humble. Kenos means “low”; kenosis is the “lowering.” Even the Church prefers speaking of God as shining life in its fullness. We usually are attracted by fullness.

Human beings used to believe that our complex and contradictory reality has a summit rising above the clouds of the void and that this summit is full while our reality under the clouds is empty– as the summit of a high mountain is in the sunlight and its valley is down in the fog. The Jews call this summit Jhavé; the muslims, Allah; the non believers indicate it as Nature, Nothing, original Beauty; the Christians call it Father. Big differences dependent on the differing sounds according to which men call it. But it is not always like that. Even the non-believer often makes his non-God absolute. Atheism and theism become similar.

Throughout history men have killed both in the name of God and in the name of non-God. Sometimes Christians call him Father, with no feelings of humility but rather of presumption. Christians too have killed in the name of Father.

All of this regards something which is inside us, something which is not only relative to historical point of view. We all are in the fog, confusion, void, even if we presume that there is a point of fullness. When we think about “heaven,” as we may sometimes do, we move ourselves beyond the void, because remaining in the void makes us scared. Religions usually do not go forward together to meet the void. Rather, they do exactly the opposite, choosing not to meet the void in order to hide it beneath different religious rites and a pretense that it does not exist. And this pretense is affirmed in the name of a full promise, invisible and usually associated with religious rites necessary “in compensation.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ has been interpreted as if he were revived in order to recover what he was before: the revival is treated as a recovery of what he was before defeating death. Resurrection is treated as a dissolution of what it was before, in order to regenerate it.

Paul was aked: “How can we revive?” His answer was: “Stupid people, you’ll never know if you do not die.” It is not possible to reach the other border without facing the void.

This is the path of Faith. Without merits, dying completely, embracing the Void. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27: 46) was Jesus’ invocation on the Cross. He was not screaming: “I’m coming to Heaven, prepare me a throne!” He was in the Void. For that he said that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot produce many seeds.

Christ said: “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Mathew 7:20). A religion that leads to violence is not good. Which source does the sap-producing bad fruit come from, considering all the good things Christianity has done? The same question faces every religion, Buddhism too. Buddhism has made the Nothing into an absolute and this Nothing has often produced evil. If the Nothing becomes something, it is no longer Nothing; if Buddhism tries to reach Enlightenment, and Zazen practice the achievement of extraordinary results, they are no longer Nothing. The religious path’s purpose is to get in touch with the Nothing.

The Prologue of the Gospel according to John announces that there is a God in front of God: it is the Logos in front of the Father. God is not absolute as we understand “absolute.” God is the relationship possible only in the void. If there is not a void, no relationship is possible. God lives in the Void. God the Father is Father simply because he withdraws and opens to his Son. The Son is so because he obeys his Father.

We are accustomed to this Gospel and do not perceive its true revolution. So we remain fixed immobile in front of the concept of an absolute God and follow the Prologue of the Gospel according to John without “moving.”

Some Christians speak of Christianity as a monotheism. Monos-God, one-God: the Gospel, for which God is in the source he creates, so he is in his generated Son, is annulled. God makes me exist and I do become God. This is a relationship.

God is not absolute, self-sufficient: he is relative and open to the other, necessary to him. Even God is poor. He lives in and for the void. No longer the idea of God as a big-boss who may smile down on our life. God is relationship: he is the source of our existence, our Father; he is the Logos shaping the existences, his Son.

Let’s understand that the father has come from nothing, with no shape. Creation emerges from God as chaos, and then his Son gives shape with his intelligence and divine effort. The woman delivering a baby is the Logos. She gets the material from the source but shaping the material is the divine force of the Logos in that woman and in that man who is his father. The effort to purify society or the air is the Logos. So faith in our Father implies faith in the Son, who is myself and Jesus together. Jesus is Christ in order to revive Christ inside us. Christ is he who rises as Christ inside us and we eat him. His whole truth is a piece of bread, that is his body which he gave us to be eaten. Paul says: “He grows inside us.” He is a religious attitude inside us. We may live our life absently, with no religious belief and with no communion and prayers, while a non-believer, ignoring all that, can have a more religious heart without praying to Christ from morning to evening.

Following through with our reflection we can understand that the Son is that intelligence shaping continuously the existence inside me. With much effort, sweat, tears and blood, Christ takes his cross and dies. Then he revives and he is myself and he is you. Reviving means that Christ is no longer an individual, a single person: that person had been offered and died. Reviving means that there is a presence in the heart of everybody. The resurrection is the death of every individualism,– it revives as love, as a presence in everything. We are happy not to be able to describe and explain it: we die with faith in our heart.

That Son lives inside us. We all and I myself are the Father’s spectacle that continuously creates and that of the Son who continuously redeems, giving justice to all beings. As the river at the same time is both the source and its flowing course, so we all are the Father who creates and the Son who redeems and makes free. It is not necessary to refer to God for meaning in our life. Faith suffices for us to look intensely and observe with attention. These moments are the creations of the Father’s power and the images of the redeeming Son.

Leonardo Boff in one of his books says: “We must look at a person’s face for a long time, until he or she shines with a divine light.” Boff is addressing outsiders and drug addicts. This is true mysticism, the most authentic way of the religious path (mysticism and asceticism are to be distingushed from each other). Like Sakyamuni Buddha in his first six years, his “ascetical years,” the ascetic improves himself with continuous penances. The mystic, instead, with trust and silence remains there quiet, seasoning like fruit. The mystic squeezes from inside; the ascetic corrects from outside.

The Greeks produced the concept of Logos as intelligence. Then the Gospel helped us understand that love is more profound and wider than intelligence. This is the Gospel’s Logos: the work, the effort to live, the Logos that projects beauty from out of the material created by God. The Gospel gives this message: the Divine is the one who creates, is the hand that shapes things and is the wind and sun giving colour to everything.

The real sense of being a creature occurs inside me and gives me the opportunity to know that God is the relationship of Father and Son. The void between Father and Son liberates us from pursuing the idea of reaching a full destination and a full self-satisfaction.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. “(1,1-3).

These verses teach how God dos not possess what he creates. The creature is delivered, given to his Son, through whom the thing acquires the sense of existence.
In the same moment, the Son gives the given creature back to his Father. In this way the creature is always amid, in the void, in the love of the gratuitousness, between Father and Son. In the first years of the Church this amid, this void, between Father and Son was defined as divine: it was the Holy Spirit.

So the Father does not possess the creature he creates, nor does his Son; the creature rests in the Holy Spirit, in the empty atmosphere left by the Father who gives what he creates and by the Son who–while redeeming–gives back.

The person who has not experienced freedom from a God “catching” him,….the person not realizing he is “thrown into the void” when created, cannot experience the deepest religious insight into God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and cannot truly understand that “God is Love” (John’s first Letter, 4,8).

5. The crucis theology

In opposition to the theology of glory or “gloriae theology,” based on the belief that God is the one and the highest chief, the christian mystics have experienced the theology of the cross, or “crucis theology.” In the gloriae theology Christ is meant as the judge who repairs the offence given to his father by sinful man. Christ is in a secondary position, put at the great father-god’s service. Obviously even the gloriae theology has the cross, but only as the instrument to reestablish honour to God. In the gloriae theology the cross has been used as a device God employs to convince man to give him back his stolen glory, much like a king giving favours just to recover his popularity.

In the crucis theology the christian mystic understands that the cross is the most natural and intimate manifestation of God’s Son. The cross is the sign of the void between Father and Son. This void originates in the humility of both Father and Son (this theme appears in Martin Luther’s development of the theory of the cross). While creating, the Father hides himself in order to allow space for his creature. Creating and hiding himself are the same and unique characteristic of God.We may see this difference in the two attitudes in our daily life inside families: some couples do not want children because of the difficult problems it raises in relation to family organization and planning; other couples instead choose to have children lest their home seem empty. It is the difference between the gloriae theology and the crucis theology. The typical attitude of the crucis theology is, for example, in a mother’s behaviour when she hides herself from her baby, in order to trick her baby into learning to walk. On the other hand we can see the gloriae theology in a relationship between a master and his follower: when the master does not allow room for his follower to make mistakes, then the master is aiming at his own glory, not his follower’s good. Asking for space is creation’s requirement, a divine law.

We may see this difference in the two attitudes in our daily life inside families: some couples do not want children because of the difficult problems it raises in relation to family organization and planning; other couples instead choose to have children lest their home seem empty. It is the difference between the gloriae theology and the crucis theology. The typical attitude of the crucis theology is, for example, in a mother’s behaviour when she hides herself from her baby, in order to trick her baby into learning to walk. On the other hand we can see the gloriae theology in a relationship between a master and his follower: when the master does not allow room for his follower to make mistakes, then the master is aiming at his own glory, not his follower’s good. Asking for space is creation’s requirement, a divine law.

Every time that man, feeling deceived in front of the hidden God, wants God to appear by showing his face, God’s Son, instead, takes such a demand as a humiliation. In the Bible the Pharisees asked Jesus to give them a sign in order that they could believe. Jesus replied: “This generation is asking for a sign, but no sign will be given.” Then he went away. We are like the Pharisees. If God in fact were to give us a sign, he would be making us stupid. God only gives us a sign to help us be in the non-sign.
The sign we do have is in front of us. The Logos’s sister creatures in their perfect physiognomy. The Church originates out of the humiliation of God’s Son. This is the Son’s effort to take reality to perfection.

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (1: 10-11)

God’s vision seems to prefer sin to grace distributed by chance. This is the gloriae theology, where God is more and more exalted. But God in fact prefers to lower himself as much as possible in order that people could be themselves. God is really good, in that he does not appear even when we call for him! The Father requires that the Son accomplish his duty as Son by shaping human existences to their original beauties. In the Letter to the Hebrews, an often ignored New Testament epistle, it is said that Jesus, citing from the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms, says to his Father when he is born: “ You did not want sacrifices or offerings (sacrifice and offerings are part of the gloriae theology.), but you have prepared a body for me. You have taken no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin. Then I said: Here I am to do, my God, your will” (Heb 10, 5-7). The Letter to the Hebrews also says of Jesus: “Just for this, in the days of his earthly life he offered prayers and supplications with strong cries and tears to the one who could free him from death and he was granted this for his pity; as a Son he learned obedience through his suffering, and, being made perfect, he became the cause of eternal salvation for all obeying him, as he was appointed High Priest by God in the same way as Melchisedek” (Heb 5, 7-10). “Made perfect through suffering” means that the Son is not the Son if he does not suffer. This calling is one calling, because Christ is not a single person. Christ is the one who rises as Christ in me. Christ is universal.

His death on the cross was not a disgrace of Christ because of the evil that men have given him, but instead his death was caused by the good he gave men. The cross originates from God’s loving heart, from the love he has for justice and harmonization. Passion rises from its nature of Logos shaping the creation’s chaos in harmony with God’s reign. Christ’s cross is free, not connected to the causes as if it were one of God’s punishments. Christ suffers because suffering is the way to perfection. He suffers on account of his inner nature of Logos and takes joy in suffering.

6. The logos takes the flesh of void

E il Verbo si fece carne e venne ad abitare in mezzo a noi; e noi vedemmo la sua gloria, gloria come di unigenito del Padre, pieno di grazia e di verità. (1: 12-14)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (1: 12-14)

It is the Logos’ extreme effort to bring back all existences to their original physiognomy: it assumes them as a body and identifies itself with them. The prologue of the Gospel according to John asserts an authoritative cry against men’s tendency to surrender in the face of the difficulty of harmonizing the real to the ideal. God’s Son assumes reality as his flesh. The incarnation is God’s defeat, unable to save reality from corruption. The same for human logic and for Mohammed, who cannot accept that God’s Son, whom he regards only as a divine prophet, should die on a cross. It is a defeat also for us: we would prefer God’s Son to find a more “capable” way to redeem man. When we are not satisfied with his way, we blaspheme.

The cross’s way is uniquely in line with the Son of God’s “heart-nature.” He can only become one with all. The Logos shows its life crucified and suspended between heaven and earth, between the horizons,– suspended in the void! Who knows what the crucifixion meant to that man, Jesus from Nazareth! He was experiencing his Father’s absence, his brothers’ abandonment, the doubt and darkness, and his physical body’s destruction. “When it was noon it was dark on the whole earth until three o’clock in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried aloud:

Eloì, Eloì, lema sabactàni, which means My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15, 32-34)

It is this void, God’s absence and invisibility, that sanctifies the void itself. Thanks to his Father’s absence, the Son shows with force that he is God’s Son. That very void is the Holy Spirit’s space where all existences are purified, their physiognomies made lovable. The Father lets his Son die and the Son’s death cancels his Father. That is how Father and Son give themselves to the Holy Spirit. So in the Holy Spirit every existence grows up into the sky as if from a ground, and the ground gives shape to all that is arisen from existence. On the ground flowers grow, the grass is flourishing, the trees imposing. Everything sings the Father who creates, the Son who redeems through the cross, and the Holy Spirit that gives life to everything.
That’s why when we speak of the Trinity we mean that the deepest aspect of the divine shows itself in real life. The Holy Spirit is in a home! Family, where man and woman give themselves reciprocically, shows itself to be the perfect example of the existence and presence of God’s divinity. Family is the flowering root: father gives life; woman absorbs from grass, water, milk, wheat, giving shape and life to that vital principle. Then they withdraw and let Father, Son and Holy Spirit live.

7. The existence from the gratuitousness of void

We are said to be believers or non-believers. But what is there before our assertion: by what is it supported and what supports our existence? There is only the gratuitousness of our affirmations. There is nothing that is objective and valid for everybody. I make my assertion or affirmation because I feel myself a believer or non-believer, here and now, as I am in the void.
I am here now but I do not know why. If I knew “why,” I would not exist and live. As a priest I can answer someone asking me why I preach Christ, pray to God and do the sacraments, by saying: “I think I have no real reasons.” I believe as I feel inside me!

The same is true of a man when he decides to live together with a woman: why does he do that? It seems foolish. Does he know all the other women? In the Gospel, Jesus says: “The one who loses himself finds himself, the one who keeps himself loses himself”. A marriage is an example of this losing and finding of oneself!
The bird flies as if in the void and his flight is a play between his body and the void. The void gives the bird resistance, thus enabling him to fly. Instead, we are afraid of the void and what resists us: that is why we try to escape from these.

Christ the Logos, by taking the cross, shapes our existence, restoring it to its original beauty: he does not give us an exhaustive answer, since there isn’t any. But if there be an answer, it is the authentic one.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

And the Word became flesh and came to live amid us; we saw his glory, as an only son from his Father, full of grace and truth. (1, 12-14)

The christian path is not understanding or explaining God and the mystery of life. It is living it with God, acting and showing himself in us. He is invisible to us because he lives and identifies himself in us. So we and God live the void of the explanations! Love is living the void and going on existing. Both the handicapped child and the person with intelligence and functionality show love perfectly even when God does not explain, as in the case of the handicapped child. The same applies to any leaf falling down, to any drop in the ocean,–they all are “recompounding” the whole.
In his first letter John the evangelist said “The one who has not loved has not known God, as God is love. Nobody has seen God; if we love each other God remains in us and His love is perfect in us.” (John’s first letter 4, 8-12).

Finally we may say that the Prologue to John’s Gospel leads us to understand that the experience of void is divine and that God himself is ineffable. We cannot say that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit without creating a relationship among them, in a void, as their relationship is possible only in the void. This Prologue teaches us how to accept the void. The void is pleasant when we are up in the mountains, breathing the pure air and seeing the valley’s void. Void is also one of isolation, suffering, misunderstanding, doubt, fog. The void itself.

Let’s not fill the void with frenzy. We usually make telephone calls or switch the television on when we want to ignore the void. Actually everything must be surrounded by the void to ripen: flowers do not blossom if we pluck them and fruit does not ripen if we manhandle it. What is the worth of living one’s life to the end, and exclaiming that we have experienced all pleasures, if we do not sense that we have ripened! Jesus phrased the matter this way: “What is the worth of conquering the whole world [an enormous fulfillment], if you have lost yourself?”

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