Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus

The discomfort of abundance

by Benedek Rácz

Then all the people lined up to be scored; it was a huge room, the porch of the other world. Here, at the moment of judgment, no one boasted. They didn’t dare to say anything. Soon a side door opened: two nurses placed Earth on a bed. She barely gasped, and it was clear she would not last long. Ulcerated deserts, suppurating and swollen mountains of waste, necrotic forests covered her entire body. She could no longer speak, but you could read it all in her eyes:

– I’m sorry! Please forgive me! I was designed to be sturdy with superabundant reserves. I thought I could endure anything. Yes, I should have been able to endure anything, but I failed. Please don’t be angry with me.
The people only then noticed that some miserables were trembling in the open and bleeding wounds of the Earth. Some? Far from it! Thousands, millions of people were shivering in the cold: exploited miners and minimum wage errand boys, bought women and unwanted children, prisoners of war, refugees, Ebola victims, starving people, all were suffering in the wounds of the Earth.

And as people looked at the dying Earth and at the miserable lives, they realized that amid all their fighting, they had not noticed it before. Suddenly the history of the universe flashed before their eyes. They saw that the Earth had been chosen from among billions of heavenly bodies for it to be a place to live. They saw that water and air, as well as forests and minerals, were abundant, even immense. They saw that their greed had made the world poorer and so they themselves had to do without. They realized that they had been away from home wandering, when they could have discovered so much more in their children and wives. And the story continued: the people went on to finish reading all the books and news sites, finished watching every YouTube and Netflix video, scrolled all the way through Facebook and Instagram. And then God said:

– Fear not! Behold, I have made you far more than you can imagine, and I have formed you in such a way that your last thought may never occur to you. You see, there is not even a last sunset, but even if there were, would you be there to film, or would you finally be touched by the beauty that I designed for you. Do not fear that someone knows more than you: perhaps it is through him that I want to teach you. And do not be discouraged if others have seen more; I want to tell you in their words the landscapes you have not been to. O my people, I wish sometimes to let you feel hunger, that I may fill you with what you desire. Fear not, but realize how abundantly I love you.

Mc 9,33-49 Mt 20,1-16 Lc 6,38 Laudato Sì

G. Lohfink, Jesus of Nazareth, 2015, chapter 14.

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