Around which center does humanity revolve?
By Father Heinrich Walter
In some evaluation of the corona crisis, there is now even talk of a turn of an era into which we are being led. This is a reminder of the Copernican turning point, when Copernicus completely changed the world view. Then it was recognised that it is not the sun that orbits the earth, but the other way round. This realization coincided with a slow change in the way people thought and acted.
Around which center does humanity revolve? Our global society today revolves around the market of goods. Supply and demand determine the dynamics. We have moved to the side of efficiency and paid less attention to stability. Everything revolves around numbers and quotas. The ultimate goal is growth. This is often the case in the Church, even in our communities. How many are we? How much do we own? What can we do to become larger?
And then the little virus came and stopped this dynamic for the time being. The center of interest shifted in a few weeks and this happened around the globe. The focus shifted to helpfulness, consideration, saving human lives, including those in nursing homes. The media showed pictures of co-responsibility and appreciation of the professions that suddenly became relevant, even to the point of garbage collection.
The society began to circle more and more around people. Parts of the global humanity was unprecedentedly moved by this centering on human life.
And then the question became: What is man? How free is man? May this freedom be limited in order to save others? What does the dignity of the human being include? And all over the world a completely new kind of bond was emerging, connected between the strata of society, between previously unknown neighbours on the street. In the great need, the preservation of the market was relativized in favor of the human being. Around which center do we circle?
In the time of need, powerlessness became apparent, every week a new one, as it is now with the new outbreaks of the virus. Is there a second wave coming? It cannot be dealt with as we had always believed: Yes we can! Insecurity and fear were spreading. Where to put these fears? The texts of the Scriptures speak of a caring God: “Fear not … all the hair on your head is numbered!” There is also talk of grace. Grace is God’s promise that we are wanted, accepted and at home.
We owe ourselves to a creator who is a personal God and looks at each one of us in love. As Christians we are invited to circle around God. Our forms of society, our free market economy, our networked world of unlimited possibilities, all this is not the middle, it is not the goal. All of this is only healthy and will only develop in a healthy way if it revolves around the center, which is not what we do, but around a center that is given to us. Everything is only entrusted to us by God, the creator, who is life. In Jesus Christ this center has been given a human face. In his death and resurrection we are redeemed from our eternal circle around ourselves.
In the Chapel of Grace in Schoenstatt Mary is at work. Her Shrine is for us like a school of circling around the God of life. When we attach ourselves to her, she leads us into this dynamic of circling around God with our life, work, worries and hopes.