Reflections from Catalonia

27 October 2017

Sharing of an echo from REUS:

When people know or know that I live in Reus, the question always arises: how are you living the situation of this current conflict ibn this part of Spain, Catalonia…? I find it very difficult to say something, because it is difficult to say something to myself. The reality is very changing and very complex. Every day we dawn with some “surprise”. Perhaps these reflections read within a few days have already lost relevance … But it is not possible to “pass” the issue, not get involved.
It’s my second year living in Reus. The past course was a very happy course, landing, seeing, meeting new people, culture, language, customs, community, apostolates. It was growing in me the appreciation for Catalonia and its people. I lived it from the personal surprise of what I was discovering and what God was surprising m with, because He was guiding me and caring through the people He put on my way.
This course has started with other surprises, although the thing comes from afar. The same people close to us last year were manifesting themselves, giving opinions and taking options. As a non-Catalan person there are decisions that they cost me to accept and I find difficult to understand them, perhaps for lack of historical perspective, but I have tried to listen, dialogue, understand, ask, read, inform myself… as any missionary does when it reaches a new reality. I did not understand positions that go against legality, but I neither understand the use of force to impose it. I feel frustrated by the lack and difficulty of dialogue, the tension, not being able to talk to the closest ones because it is a topic that has become taboo, (my community, for example …). I hurts me the division, living with labels. It is harmful the climate of tension, insecurity, confusion … The social fracture that has been created will be difficult to restore.
And I realize how difficult dialogue is at all levels. Very difficult. More when the positions are radicalized. Maybe that’s why it has so much value.
It is a complex situation, which grips the feeling a lot. I have been able to see that in the end, what hurts most is the feeling that the “other side”, if we can talk like that, does not love us, does not understand us, does not value us, does not count us, does not allows us to be what we are … this feeling makes relationship difficult and encounter, the way out of conflict, but it cannot be ignored, it is the base from which to restore reconciliation, and we must attend to it.
I wish I could come up with a solution. I do not have it and if someone speaks happily about an easy solution to the conflict is that it is not a good solution, or the issue is not real … But I do, obviously, reflect on how to act, what to do, what to say … as a Christian person , and as a missionary, from the appreciation, the appreciation and the recognition, the affection to the people that I have been sent for. I seek answers in the Gospel, in the heart and in the reason, in the common sense, and also in the ordinary Magisterium of our Pastors who have contributed with their word.
Beyond political positions and opinions, I have them as normal, I live this situation as a call, because you cannot ask others what you do not live in a small scale, in the everyday:
To listen to people and get “in their shoes” when they speak. To accept the diversity and appreciate what each person brings. Be a channel of reconciliation, of peace, of dialogue where I am and live. To support human rights, and to reject all violence. To trust in the transforming power of prayer. To learn the use of an inclusive, peaceful and always respectful language. To practice the welcome to the one who thinks differently.  Feed not feelings of hatred or rejection, and learn to manage it. To look beyond the labels. Not to lose hope in the human being. To dive in calmly, to give a reasoned opinion beyond instinctive and visceral responses. Although all this sounds familiar, the challenge is to practice it without delay, at all levels, and to encourage other people to live it too. We cannot expect everything from the official decisions, I believe that the people have a word, a decisive role in the task of creating a social net, free from confrontations and grudges.
Personally, anything that divides, separates, breaks, excludes, violates does not “smell” the Gospel. Nor do I believe that it is in line with the signs of the times that lead us on paths of globalization, plurality, openness, adding and multiplying …
The other day I participated in a meeting of religious men and women from Catalonia and the subject was obviously touched. I am grateful for the atmosphere of the assembly and that we could open a space to listen and share our feelings and visions about the socio-political situation, a space of serenity, depth and freedom that favored listening and understanding. I think that’s the way.

I ask God for the gift of discernment for all, to enable internal change and a praxis every day more evangelical, here and now, especially I ask for the people who have responsibility in decisive decisions that will not have a reverse.

 Maria Consuelo Ferrus (25th  of October)

During these days, the text “María Antonia París, friend and companion in the journey” is being distributed.