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OSLO/ Without Christ, man's rebellion to power can become insanity

The tragedy in Norway is the consequence of the madness that results from man’s obsession with power and man’s blind following of the people who hold that power.

Candlelight vigil for the victims of the attacks   (photo ANSA) Candlelight vigil for the victims of the attacks (photo ANSA)

While everyone is on vacation, dreaming of beating the stress of a life that seems increasingly less lifelike (such that even desire seems to have shut down), we receive the terrible news from Norway of two terrorist attacks with about a hundred fatalities. What a slap in the face for everyone! Particularly when the fact that has shaken everyone comes from Norway, one of the most "perfect" countries in the world, where honesty and social organization are exemplary.

The shock is as big as the pain for the victims and their families, and yet we cannot stop here, we cannot abandon the search to understand what got in the way of this "perfect" machine. What got in the way? Man.

The heart of man is increasingly worn out by the continuous deceptions of a dominant world power that, having eliminated God (or having reduced him to an ideology), has managed to anesthetize man by making him believe that his life depends on power itself. But this undertaking (which Msgr. Luigi Giussani defined as the "Chernobyl effect") cannot and will not last long, because there is no power in the world that can suppress man's heart to the point of killing it. Even if, in Norway, as in every part of the world, those who hold power make their followers believe that if they live, it is by their grace and they should be thankful for it.

Once anesthetized, this maneuver that practically tries to change human DNA, cannot last long, because inside each of us there is an Icarus that cannot stand being ensnared in a cage that impedes his flight.

Man, man's heart, is made to fly.

Thus, either this demand finds its freedom, or it turns into madness.  It is impossible to suppress that thirst for happiness, for love, for beauty, for truth, for justice, that makes up the very fibers of the human heart. One can curse those heartbeats, but not ignore them.

And if the powers that be forget this truth, no matter how perfect their systems may be, and even if man himself forgets, inevitably the moment of madness arrives whose consequences we saw in Oslo. If one hasn't encountered the presence of Christ as a fact that answers totally to the needs of reason and of the human heart, and instead has encountered an idea or inspiration that uses Christ, it is inevitable that reason will be censored, unraveling into violence and fanaticism. How many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christ, where Christ had nothing to do with it all!

Christianity is an event that is verifiable in its profound reasonableness only inside a reality that is fully lived. Christ needs man in his entirety, and man needs Christ. To confront this tragedy, so that these brothers may not have died in vain, it is critical to take our heart seriously. Its desires are well expressed in Psalm 63: "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water". Or as Giuseppe Ungaretti reminds us, "Closed among mortal things (even the sky full of stars will end) why do I yearn for God?".

08/10/2011 - before madness, there is forgiveness,... (rick kushner)

I love this line, but it has to be corrected. It should read: "in front of madness, there is forgiveness, there is mercy."