01-04-2012 - Traces, n. 4

the facts answer

When We come out of the crisis, we will be surprised


We can’t foresee “how,” but we will manage. Then, we will look back, wondering why we feared so much...
There is an aspect of the present situation in Europe that we may not yet have thought of. It is the exhilarating opportunity this continuing economic crisis offers us to verify something much greater and more significant than any of the details that distract us day-to-day. The crisis, then, is a gift: the possibility to watch things as they are changed by something that we are not able to observe in the usual ways.
What, now, does hope mean? Can we look forward with confidence despite the continuing evidence of disaster? Can we have a reasonable basis for optimism? The answer to such questions must be: “Yes, for how otherwise can we call our position by the name ‘faith’?”
Right now, we are reminded at every turn how difficult, how intractable, how “hopeless” the problems are. These problems are, in one sense, technical–complex and fragile and subject to chaotic shifts and changes. The leaders, technicians, and experts who prognosticate upon these matters speak with authority, but there is about their interventions a quality of tentativeness. They do not know what will happen, whether their proposed solutions will work, or why things happen as they do.
One of the remarkable aspects of this situation is the sense we glean all the time that the future is not predictable by any human agency. We sense that things will not remain as they are, that dramatic things will continue to happen, and that, in the end, some solution will emerge from the muddle of events. But still, if any such solution was as yet available, we have to presume it would have been implemented already, saving time and avoiding risk of further damage and confusion.
But for those of us who look to the figure of Christ at the center of time and space, there is another process at work. Of this process we intuit mainly two things: that it is mysterious and that ultimately the solution will be better than anything man is capable of arriving at alone.
When the situation is rectified–in whatever way–the commentators will describe what has happened in terms of the deeds and achievements of certain men and women. Indeed, on the face of things, the actions and statements of human beings will be the only interventions visible. And yet, we can predict also that the outcome, when it emerges, will surprise us. It will, almost by definition, be of a kind that the experts who now speak constantly of our situation are, right at this moment, unable to foresee. In the future–perhaps the distant future but maybe not so distant as we expect–we will look back on the present moment and wonder why we feared so much, why everything seemed so confusing and inexplicable, why we became distracted by the technical details and personalities and forgot our understanding of reality as ultimately safe and benevolent toward us.
Thus, the blessing of the present moment is that it allows us the opportunity to observe in laboratory conditions the nature of the process by which our prayers come to be answered. Instead of worrying, therefore, shouldn’t we now simply become curious to see what will happen, how this miracle will be achieved? Far from being crippled by anxiety and fear, our “correct” disposition in these moments of unpredictability should be one that rejoices in the opportunity to confirm what we intuit: that reality is safe and friendly, and that our lives are ultimately as secure as they have always been, because He watches over us at all times.