Two types of desert advancing

10 July 2019

Whoever prophesies disasters has never been well received, even less so today. We are in an epoch where millions of people still believe in the myth that technology shall solve everything.

The Chilean thinker Cristián Warnken helps us to set our gaze on "desertification" as an experience at various levels, when he states:

I know that many of you are worried about climate change. Perhaps your children will be the last to know and enjoy the Earth as we know and love it today: with clear and distinct springs, winters, summers and autumns. You might perhaps be the last to hear the spring songs of the swallows in our gardens.

And then he continues by identifying different "desertifications":

Children, every day you force me to recycle paper, to separate it from plastic, you make me become aware of the importance of small gestures to taking care of this fragile planet. But, children, my teachers under many aspects, all this is not enough. Because this desertification is the result of another more profound and invisible one: internal desertification. We obtain nothing by separating the recyclable waste from plastic and toxic materials if we do not do so also within ourselves.

In fact, he affirms a great truth when he says:

Internal desertification grows when we lose the capacity for wonder, when we are not amazed by a cloud that passes, when we forget to embrace a tree, when we believe that everything can be bought and sold, when we give a price to everything, and the kingdom of quantity is more important than the realm of gratuitousness. Gratuity, free? Yes, the most essential thing, what can save us as a species is free, it is a gift, a present. They have not yet put a price on the stars, nor to the air ... The hugs we give each other before falling asleep or when we wake up are still not sold at the market.

For this reason we are invited to discern:

But look around you: man is already becoming a slave to his inventions, and worse still, he believes he is freer than ever. In short, children, there are two deserts that advance: the external one and the internal one. But the inner one is what worries me most because it is very easy not to see it. Especially today, when it seems we have everything ...

The reflection of this writer allows us to conclude that young people must learn to cultivate their own inner garden because the sense or meaning of their existence is not given to them in advance; it is necessary to discover the beauty of the spirit. A difficult task, in a utilitarian culture, marked by superficiality, exhibitionism, waste and immediacy. However, it gives one hope to see in our young people the desire to establish relationships in actual meetings, to giving value to life in all its expressions, their search for spirituality for the development of a personal life and the desire in every moment to transcend milestones already achieved.

Naturally, as adults, parents and educators, we need to verify whether we are transmitting inner deserts, rather than spiritual gardens. The great and beautiful task of making our lives places of joy, deeply experiencing the vocation received, is the best way to overcome the advance of the desert. Let us not have desertification advance in our world!

(Cristián Warnken, Emol 13/9/2018)


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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