"The Road is Beautiful for Those Who Walk"
by Julián Carrón
Synthesis of the Italian responsibles Assembly.
Riva del Garda (Italy), January 24, 2010
“The road is beautiful for those who walk.” This is the newness that the Mystery introduces into history: He makes the road beautiful. For those who walk. “The road is beautiful for those who go.” It’s impressive how this comes true: life becomes a beautiful road, an ever-more fascinating journey, an ever-more exciting adventure for those who walk and, instead, for those who do not walk, it becomes increasingly burdensome. “When he woke in the morning, everything annoyed him, beginning with the light; even the coffee with milk,” said the song by Chieffo, “L’uomo cattivo”[“The Bad Man,” in il libro dei canti, Jaca Book, Milan, 1976, p. 291]. The same ingredients of living are annoying for one and are beautiful for another.
What introduces this beauty, what makes the road beautiful? “I wonder as I wander out under the sky” [“I Wonder,” in Canti, Cooperativa Editoriale Nuovo Mondo, Milan, 2002, p. 238]. As I walk under the sky, I marvel that Jesus came to die for poor, hungry people like me and you. For those who are full of this wonder, once they encounter Him, everything makes them long for Him. “All the countryside is yellow, and I already long for you” [C. Chieffo, “La strada,” in Canti, op. cit., p. 245]. What makes the road beautiful is that everything, everything, once we have encountered Him, sets off our longing for Him–for You, O Christ–and the more we walk (when life tightens, when the countryside is yellowed), the more we long.
This is the newness that Christ, the Mystery made flesh, who becomes presence for humanity, introduced as a possibility in the historical situation of those times, in the shambles of those times, in the convulsed situation of those times and introduces, for each of us, in the shambles of today. As observed in yesterday’s assembly, those who teach in today’s schools don’t find themselves before kids who need to be adjusted only slightly, their understanding corrected just a shade; no, the humanity we see before us is increasingly more confused, undone, destroyed. But the more you are aware of this situation, the more you marvel that One had pity on people like you and like me–just as we are, with all our humanity–before any other consideration. Let’s ask ourselves, then: All the signs of humanity we see around us–the unease, the dissatisfaction, the sadness, the boredom, or the shambles–are they obstacles? The fact that we no longer find ourselves before the cream-of-the-crop student, or the cream-of-the crop person, or that we are no longer the cream of the crop like before, is this an obstacle, or is it an occasion for being amazed again that One came who had mercy on us, on me and you? Again: Are those signs of humanity the symptoms of a disease or the symptoms of a structural disproportion, of an expectant awaiting for the only One who can restore the “I,” not in the sense of settling things, but of resurrecting it from this situation? We’ve come to the end of the line, we see, in many of our gestures, in many people we meet: neither we nor the Church are served by a reduction of Christianity to ethics. In the situation in which we are, in which we find ourselves living, we and others, as said before, only Jesus can happen. In other words, we need something beyond, something more than what we manage to do, something more than all our attempts.