OPEN THE HORIZON
If we only occupy ourselves with the immediate goals of greater wellbeing, or if we find ourselves attracted by small dreams and hopes, we run the risk of impoverishing the horizon of our existence, losing our yearning for eternity. Is this progress? Or is it a mistake?
There are two things that are easy to verify about this new millennium we have lived in for the past few years. On one hand, we find growing in human society the hope and dream of a better world. We aren’t content with just any old thing: we need to progress toward a more dignified world, one that is more human and full of happiness.
On the other hand, discouragement, skepticism and uncertainty about the future is growing. There’s so much needless suffering in the life of people and of nations, so many poisonous conflicts, so much abuse of our planet, that it’s not easy to keep faith in humanity.
It’s true that the developments of science and technology are successfully resolving many maladies and sufferings. In the future they will no doubt accomplish even more spectacular results. There’s no way we’re able to imagine humanity’s capability to develop physical, psychological and social wellbeing.
But it wouldn’t be honest to forget that this prodigious development «saves» us only from some maladies within certain limitations. It’s right now as we enjoy human progress more and more, that we begin to better perceive that human beings can’t give themselves all that they desire and seek.
Who can save self from getting old, from the inevitable death, from the strange power of evil? We don’t need to be surprised that many are starting to feel the necessity of something that isn’t just technique or science or ideological doctrine. Human beings resist living enclosed forever in this worn-out and mortal condition. We seek a horizon, we need a more definitive hope.
Not a few Christians live their lives today just looking exclusively at the earth. It seems that we don’t dare lift up our eyes to see beyond the immediacy of each day. In this Christian feast of the Lord’s Ascension I want to remember some words of that great scientist and mystic – Teilhard de Chardin: «Christians, just 20 centuries after the Ascension – what have you done to Christian hope?».
In the midst of questions and uncertainties, Jesus’ followers keep moving on, carrying confidence and conviction. When it seems that life gets closed in or snuffed out, God remains. Reality’s ultimate mystery is a mystery of saving love. God is an open door to eternal life. No one can close it.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf