the inevitability of death …

July 17, 2010

in Spirituality

… “Were it not for the death of a companion, were it not for the death of a relative, of a person we know and care about, were it not for the death of someone close to us, were it not for the death of someone who in some way has crossed the path of our life, we would never think of death, while everything that is given to us is given to us for a responsibility that will have to be spoken, communicated, revealed, offered to God and the world in death. The Mystery compels us to think of Him when He shows Himself as death. If we were every day shaken by the death of a person dear to us or by the death of something that really interests us, if we were shaken every day by death, then we would be different.  Desolate, but different.”  The Psalms by Luigi Giussani (commenting on Isaiah 38)

Isaiah 38:10-14, 17-20

I said, In the noontide of my days
I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
for the rest of my years.
I said, I shall not see the Lord
in the land of the living;
I shall look upon man no more
among the inhabitants of the world.

My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me

like a shepherd’s tent;
like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
he cuts me off from the loom;
from day to night thou dost bring me to an end;
I cry for help until morning;
like a lion he breaks all my bones;

from day to night thou dost bring me to an end.
Like a swallow or a crane I clamor,
I moan like a dove.
Thou hast held back my life
from the pit of destruction,
for thou hast cast all my sins
behind thy back.
For Sheol cannot thank thee,
death cannot praise thee;
those who go down to the pit cannot hope
for thy faithfulness.
The living, the living, he thanks thee,
as I do this day;
the father makes known to the children
thy faithfulness.
The Lord will save me,
and we will sing to stringed instruments
all the days o f our life,
at the house o f the Lord.
(Isa. 3 8 : 1 0 – 1 4 , 17-20)

The Mystery – whom we are not capable of making the cause of change in our days, in our months, in our years, thus in our lives, in passages of time that are too long in our life – we are compelled to feel in the desolation of our soul. The Mystery coincides with the inevitability of death, coincides with the inevitability of the limits of daily expression, of the passing hour. All is nothing. This is the word with which the Mystery informs all the situations of the I: all is nothing. We would live with this desolation at the depth of our heart if we were not freed by the distraction which is all things. We live with desolation because of our reflecting on what we are. The Mystery imposes Himself on us who forget Him; He imposes Himself on us as the inevitability of death. Were it not for the death of a companion, were it not for the death of a relative, of a person we know and care about, were it not for the death of someone close to us, were it not for the death of someone who in some way has crossed the path of our life, we would never think of death, while everything that is given to us is given to us for a responsibility that will
have to be spoken, communicated, revealed, offered to God and the world in death. The Mystery compels us to think of Him when He shows Himself as death.
If we were every day shaken by the death of a person dear to us or by the death of something that really interests us, if we were shaken every day by death, then we would be different. Desolate, but different.

My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a shepherd’s tent. When shepherds migrated, they rolled up their tents and threw them away, because they were useless rags by that time.
Only by thinking of death does something change in us.
“My father and my mother have forsaken me,” and nobody takes me in. My eyes are full of tears, and nobody dries them for me.
Then suddenly, without your imagination being able to think of it, without your heart being able to need i t . . . suddenly: Thou hast held back my life from the pit o f destruction, for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. This Eternal Father casts all our sins behind His back. The principle of being, the wellspring of all things, the Mystery casts all our sins behind His back.
This gently changes our desolate situation. It is either nothingness or forgiveness, either nothingness or Christ.
The living, the living, he thanks thee. The living …  This is Baptism, when the death and resurrection of Christ cause me to be born again in a new life. In this way the father makes known to the children the faithfulness of His love.

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