And the light came from the East!

And the light came from the East!

To Freddy Gutiérrez, I dedicate

And God said to men: “Serve the Lord faithfully: that is wisdom; turning away from evil: that is intelligence.” Job: 24.24

The mere fact that the great religions arose in the East to later spread throughout the world, and of course strongly impregnate the West, in itself reveals the deep and real importance of everything that the East means. The East for us means transcendence, while the West we associate with immanence. Reason, rationality, grew above all in the West, and as instrumental reason it explained and justified the unstoppable development of capitalism, its strength and its limits, as climate change shows us today in the face of an increasingly insecure and dramatic future. While spirituality never declined, it seems more authentic to me in the East. Of course, and for good, the positive trend towards dialogue between religions is proof of humanity’s maturity, in the attempt to unite the best of the West with the purest of the East.

I confess that I am bold when I affirm that the best demonstration of the primacy of the East over the West is in the meditation on death, that inescapable destiny with its inevitable mystery and the uncertainty of the anguish that it produces existentially in us. The mystery of death is an irrational concept, the human mind with the rationalist logic of our being unable to understand it. Only our actions, the sense of intending good and avoiding evil, particularly the evil that we produce with our actions of harm to others, and the serenity of accepting the destiny that the divinity, God, reserves for each one of us, help us. to die with dignity. There are other spiritual worlds, as the prophets and minds endowed with the gift of clairvoyance reveal to us in bursts of divine illumination, but we do not know if they will welcome us, if they will make us theirs, if we are the same as we were, if we can advance and feel the light of the divine. The truth is that the meditation on death and its anthropological manifestation has revealed itself to be a superior rule in the East over our world in the West.

The religion par excellence that spread in the West was undoubtedly Christianity, a religion above all of love, love of God and love of neighbor, which places the humble and the poor at the center of its main attention both in terms of material as well as spiritual. In the beautiful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins with the following words a message that must be sacred for every true Christian: “Blessed are those who have a poor spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, Mt. 5.3. The gospels are the center, the alpha and the omega of Christianity, which, like all the world’s religions, has become humanized (it is true that some more than others) and suffered the onslaught of the temptations of temporal power. Humanization I understand here, to avoid confusion, its rapport for harm, and sometimes with great harm, with the realities of power, either as spiritual power, or as material power, from the very moment it became the official religion of the Roman Empire thanks to a decree of Emperor Theodosius in the year 381. As the theologian Hans Küng has expressed, “many of the institutions and constitutions of the Church – and especially the papacy, the central institution of the Roman Catholic Church – are the work of man. However, this fact in itself means that such institutions and constitutions – including the papacy – can be changed and reformed. My ‘destructive’ criticism is offered at the service of ‘construction’, of reform and renewal, so that the Catholic Church continues to be capable of living a third millennium».

In short, and I say this because it is our religion, proudly born in the East, to get rid of, or at least relieve itself of, the iron cages of bureaucracy and hierarchy, so hateful in these times, to open more to the meaning of community imbued with its origins. In terms of the categories of the sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies, being less “gesellschaft” and become more “gemeinschaft”.


The entrance And the light came from the East! was first published in THE NATIONAL.

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