The Cry of the Marginalized

Light of truth

“I am convinced of one thing: the great changes in history were realized when reality was seen not from the centre but rather from the periphery. It is a hermeneutical question: reality is understood only if it is looked at from the periphery, and not when our viewpoint is equidistant from everything. Truly to understand reality we need to move away from the central position of calmness and peacefulness and direct ourselves to the peripheral areas. Being at the periphery helps to see and to understand better, to analyze reality more correctly, to shun centralism and ideological approaches…” This methodological statement of Pope Francis makes him what he is and his pivotal point on which theology and Christian practise must orientate. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who by his election on 13 March 2013 was called to the centre, preferred to be in the periphery. He is in the shoes of the fisherman, who was always in the periphery. He did not get a place to be born; the event of his birth was with the cattle, not a house of human culture “for there was no place in the inn.” He was an outcaste to the culture and the language. He became a vagabond running away for fear of being killed. He lacked an abode, a hearth and a place of his own. He had no land, he was always a migrant. His way of life merited banishment from the land as a heretic and an anti-national. The culture and religion caste him out to be crucified, on the cross he cried out “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Mt 27:46). It is first of all a cry apparently of Godlessness. It is cry of the God forsaken or cry of a man in whose world God is dead. A world in which God is absent is a violent world without the hospitality of ethics. The miracle of justice does not happen. It is indeed a world of war on the other. Who is the Christian who does not feel himself an atheist in moments of the dark night? History is no more resonated by eternity; it is the loss of the sense of history itself. From this cry is Christian humanism born, a humanism which is at once divine and fully human. Crying contained in prayer can be seen when the ethical language of a culture is being formed. It recalls, from language being in ferment, the struggle to mature into expression, when ‘love is neither merely semiotic nor merely Symbolic’. It tells of the shock of the scandal that this beautiful ‘language was killed.’ Jesus’ language, which was fully expressive of the Father, deteriorates before our eyes. But Christ’s passion brings into play even more primitive layers of the psyche; it thus reveals a fundamental depression that conditions access to human language. The suffering and the death of the Man of God are charged with a complexity that the history of Christianity has not ceased to ponder, and at the same time refine, and that does not fail to amaze the modern human. The Semiotic Passion adds the emphasis of the linguistic imagery, namely that the Father emerges through Christ as our ‘absolute linguistic icon’. This is the ‘eschatological horizon’ in which every christen has to live,

‘Again, and again prayer is a cry of lament from the depths of the spirit. But this cry is in no sense a vague, rambling moan. It calls out loudly, insistently. Nor is it merely a wish or desire, no matter how fervent. It is a supplication. The language of prayer finds its purpose and justification in the silently concealed face of God. Hence the lament, supplication, crying and protest contained in prayer, as also a silent accusation of the wordless cry, can never simply be translated and dissolved into a discourse.”

‘Crying’ is a powerful metaphor. Crying and protest contained in prayer connects the pain of past victims, the pain of the Son, and the pain of rebirth. Christ’s ‘dying language’ on the Cross is his deepest existential narrative, a model of the development of human language of openness to those who are caste out into the periphery, which is the Father’s wisdom, became manifest through human lips. In the intense moments of mourning our language collapses into this deep remembrance of the lost who belonged to us; who had belonged to us. This story of the tears of the mourner is the same in the case of Mary who is losing Christ.

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