The night of our earthly journey

One last word before Christmas and the end of the year. Around me, still many sick. Death passed this fall, taking my father away. Mom, on earth, is a little more alone now. These words of Saint Augustine come back to me in the Confessions : “In this immense forest full of traps and dangers, oh look, I cut and cleared my heart” (Book X). He does not say that he escaped from it, but that he “Trimmed and thinned out (his) heart ” as if to spare him a possible path in the forest of hardships. I retain the image. To become somewhat of the foresters of our inner night. It is not the external world that must first be clarified but our own internal life in order to succeed in carving out a path in the forest of the world. Mom is going around in circles and not eating very well. She tells me she wants ” leave the premises “. I ask him : “Where would you go? “ She’s not answering me. I feel that she is no longer able to “Prune and thin out” his heart. She remains in this non-place of loss and bewilderment where she no longer seems to expect any coming.

→ CHRONICLE. My mother’s suitcase

The place obsesses us. Where to stay Where to turn our gaze? This tension crosses the Confessions of Saint Augustine. Our worried and dissatisfied lives make the earthly place the place of want and need. When life itself disorients us, it is the place that is lacking as a place to welcome the unexpected. The question is perhaps not so much the place itself as our own capacity to orient ourselves and to hope for a coming, a happening. A few weeks ago, I expressed doubts about our fascination with space missions and our desire to “leave the Earth” when, no doubt, our responsibility for it has never been so keen and so worrying. .

Space X’s prose

Finally, as a writer friend, Philippe Michard, has just reminded me, quoting a text by Emmanuel Levinas, the problem is perhaps that we do not want real otherness and that we are leading this spatial “conquest” as if we had to grab a “Here, like the same, without real otherness” (From God who comes to the idea). In our eyes, infinite space would only be valid as another possibility of place, another possibility of the same, and not as a radical experience of “without place” or of an alterity such as it would assign us precisely to our responsibility. for Earth.

In the prologue of Condition of modern man, the philosopher Hannah Arendt denounced, about the launch of the first Spoutniken1957, “The immediate reaction, as she immediately expressed herself, (Who) was the relief to see the first step taken towards the escape of men from the terrestrial prison ”. To tear oneself away from the Earth discovered an unexpected horizon. But the philosopher wondered. What if our task was not first to hope for the unexpected on this Earth rather than to seek an escape elsewhere? To find the horizon within us to finally be able to hope to move forward and meet. What place would be possible without this hope? Well, I think that’s one of the strongest messianic meanings in the Gospel Christmas story. The star which precedes the Magi (Matthew, 1, 9) indicates the place of the place, not the escape from the place but the terrestrial event. We look up into space, but here the star designates the Earth as a place of the unexpected. Place of our hope and our drama too.

→ MAINTENANCE. Jean-François Clervoy: “Humanity will one day have to learn to live elsewhere”

The Gospel story poses the question of our inhabiting the world as a place where to hope, a place where to manifest and grow and where to welcome the other. Can we say that the star is indeed here the radical otherness which directs us, and which illuminates the night of our terrestrial journey?


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