Saturday, January 28, 2006

Epistola Hierosolymis: Ubi est Deus meus? Ubi est regnum tuum?

Potum meum
cum fletu temperabam;
quia elevans allisisti me;
et ego sicut faenum arui;
tu autem, Domine,
in aeternum permanes: ...
(Communion Antiphon for
Wednesday of Passion Week)


With tears
That add to my drink;
Thou hast elevated me,
but now Thou castest me down,
I whiter like hay
Oh but you, Lord
endureth for ever and ever.

With these lines shall I start these epistle, which is more of a letter without recipient and perhaps an ode to myself. As I have not been writting orderly other than diaries and footnotes these days I am not too conspicuous about the result, whichever that will be. Even though my company through these lines is no other but the Missa Breve of Felix Mendelsohn-Bartoldy, I decided to open with the lines from the Passion Week as they could better than anything else portray not just the state of mind, but the Cross I've carried along these last few months. Do not take me wrong, I am not meaning to sound Christian and at the same time I've discovered that in the love of God there's a Cross for everyone, and that includes the Jews, the Pagans and the Apikores. Those lines belong to Wolfang Rihm's opera "Deus Passus" (The Passion of the Lord according to St. Luke).

The Cross of the Jews is particularly difficult, as all through the ages has been the ultimate proof -whether negative or positive, of the mercifulness of God. The existence of the People of Israel is the only possible way for Christianity to endure, and perhaps for the world to remain as it is. The ancient Midrash explains that God has given man the world, but only with the condition of man following his law -yet a human law, and whenever man forgets his duty the world is taken away from him. In the former case man is elevated to the kingdom of God, in the latter he is forsaken and reminded of his insignificant state. I'm not trying to set the foundations for a Jewish Theology of the Cross, specially because the title suggests something unjewish. Beyond that, my knowledge of this concept of the "Cross" is very limited, perhaps to some modern theologians, the Carmelite teachers and Dr. Edith Stein. It's all about this newfound theological language that elicites my innermost thoughts to kindle as a fire; a type of language lost in between the semiotics of poetry and the linguistics of music. The language of transformation and translocation, and one that brings down to small pieces wonderfully assorted before me, the language of religious phenomenology. Perhaps like the Greek and Russian Orthodox tradition, where their mysticism and their theology often cannot be differentiated, and such is neither attempted.

The birth of this new language has been by no means incidental, but rather the product of a long search beneath the aegis of a dead epistemology and the source of terrible frustration and distress, which I really don't regret. On this point I might be following the Jewish theologian Ernst Bloch, when he says: "The Church is the community of God in the future, eternally disappointed with the present". At the same time I'm all the more convinced that the final point is the process itself, rather than the very bottom end, and that's how usually people are disappointed not only about their knowledge, but their spirituality and their life in general. The last year has thoroughly changed me and shaped me, at times through endurances which I've accepted with joy, as a possibility to outgrow them and develop myself. This hasn't been always easy, but looking at the past that's always the way it is. A great joy, an experience and something that will ultimately define the integrity of the character.

My life in Jerusalem has taken me down roads I thought were absolutely not feasible and opened up opportunities for the exercise of my free will and my ability to rationalize or derationalize phenomena of different sorts. It is as though the city were not anywhere, in any country and that its dwellers would also have lost the notion of beingness.