Beso, Abrazo y Ternura

(A note to English readers: this begins a series of Spanish-language essays I will post here weekly.)

Pregunta: ¿Que puede ofrecer la cultura Hispana a la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos?

Respuesta: Cultura.

En el sentido biológico, una “cultura” nace de proximidad y tiempo. Lo que nos falta en los Estados Unidos es el prójimo, la persona que se besa, abraza y ama porque la vida siempre se acaba. La persona que aparece en proximidad.

Esta intimidad, tan ausente en estos tiempos y lugares, se requiere para poder llevar acabo la Nueva Evangelización. En estos ensayos semanales, espero contribuir algo a esa misión Católica y humana.

La vida cotidiana en los Estados Unidos se define por una paranoia tremenda. Si de cualquier manera uno mira, habla o toca a un desconocido, y hasta a un amigo o colega, se convierte en criminal. En este país hay un sentimiento cerrado al beso, el abrazo y la ternura: expresiones ordinarias y esenciales para gentes Hispanas y del mediterráneo y muchas mas.

La historia y genealogía de este fenómeno social se puede entender de varias maneras superficiales, pero la realidad se encuentra en algo sumamente universal: la cuestión del sufrimiento.

Todo mundo sufre. Pero la realidad del sufrimiento se puede ver de dos maneras conversas. Por un punto de vista, el sufrimiento es una excepción, una irregularidad. Por el otro, el sufrimiento es mas que ordinario: el dolor y la muerte son el sine qua non del ser humano y, también, de Dios. Para el Latino, hasta los astros sufren—por eso brillan y queman.

El que teme al sufrimiento se tiene que guardar y proteger contra todo: amistad, amor y Dios. El que, como Job, sabe sufrir y no le huye, vive con dolor pero sin miedo.

Nací aquí, de dos familias Hispanoamericanos tambien nacidos en los EEUU, pero los besos se han quedado y mueren con los abuelos. Los ancianos. ¡Que tempestad tan fría y estéril nos queda si nos dejamos ir sin beso, abrazo y ternura!

La Nueva Evangelización habla mucho del gozo. Pero hay una diferencia entre el gozo que sufre y el que no sufre. El pueblo de Dios empieza con la posibilidad de un Dios que llora y canta con su pueblo en tonos oscuros y alegres.

En este Año de Fe, también existe una distinción entre la fe que no duda, la fe fácil que no cuesta, y una fe que perdura entre lo peor. La Iglesia necesita al Hispano en una manera esencial y específica: enseñar y educar la proximidad necesaria para una cultura auténtica y Católica.

Una educación en el sufrimiento Cristiano. El testimonio es la vida. Saludo y despedida con beso, abrazo y ternura.

 

  • Petro

    Es más que el beso, el abrazo y la ternura. Es el saludo también.

    Trabajaba como misionero en un colegio público en una de las zonas más pobres de Lima, Péru. Cada día, antes de empezar mi trabajo, les saludaba a mis colegas y pasaba unos minutos conversando con ellos compartiendo un momento de amistad y solidaridad. Lo malo es que yo tenía que aprender hacer eso. Venía de una cultura en que esos momentos de forjar comunidad con nuestro prójimo es un malgasto de tiempo.

    Cuando salgo de la misa de ingles, yo pienso en esos momentos en que formaba tantas amistades bellas. Pienso en esos momentos porque mis hermanos católicos se corren tan rapidamente de la iglesia que no tienen tiempo para saludar al cura ni sus hermanos cristianos. No tienen tiempo para construir una comunidad.

    ¿Á dónde van ellos? ¿Qué es tan importante que algunos salen antes del fin de misa? Nuestros hermanos hispanos utilizan la iglesia como base de su comunidad. Sí, es un poco mas fácil como muchos de ellos vienen de la misma cultura y clase económica. Sin embargo, ¿Esto no sea la verdad para la mayoría de las iglesias anglohablantes? Somos iguales. Es solo que pocos de mis hermanos anglohablantes están abiertos al hacer el trabajo de forjar una comunidad cristiana—un trabajo de beso, abrazo, ternura y saludo.

    • Kristen inDallas

      Gracias para esta perspectiva. Estoy de los que corren de la iglesia. QUIERO formar una comunidad, y en realidad, tengo el tiempo, pero…. creo que yo (y la majoria del gente aqui) son asustados. Es dificil para escojer la frase apropiado, si en verdad quiero conocer un desconocido. Es cada mas dificil cuando tantos de mis vecinos hablan otra lengua. No quiero ofenderlos con un saludo in lengua extranjera, no quiero ofenderlos en la suposision que no hable ingles, y no quiero ofenderlos con mis translciones malas. Es el mismo con los gente que hablo la misma lengua que yo. No quiero offenderlos con mis palabras torpes en sus vidas tranqillas. Solo es miedo, sabe, pero es dura. En lugar, yo sonrio. Es la unica cosa que sabe ofrecer que puede hacer como puerta abierta sin poner pie en la boca.
      (gracias para aguantan mi espanol muy malo, es un paso pequeno para mi)

      • Petro

        Escribiste bien. La mayoría de hispanos hablan algo de ingles. No tengas miedo de empezar una conversación con tus hermanos católicos. Una manera de abrir tu comunidad es invitarles a los hispanos de tu parroquia a participar en los ministerios, grupos y actividades que ya existen en tu iglesia. También sugiere a tu sacerdote que haya mas misas y celebraciones bilingües. Pide que las noticias de esas actividades sean para todos en lugar de diferentes anuncios para los anglohablantes y hispanohablantes. Los dos grupos necesitan el mismo Cristo. Debemos compartir nuestra fe y nuestras propias maneras de vivir esta fe.

        • Kristen inDallas

          Gracias. Voy a tratar esos. En verdad, el miedo es en hablando a personas que no hay en alguna lengua. Puedo hacerme una imbecil en cada lengua. :)

          • Kristen inDallas

            “que no SE…”

  • Ted Seeber

    Knights of Columbus. If your parish has an English Speaking Council, please go to them, ask to join, and then form a hispanic roundtable to address the charity needed in both cultures.

    But now a question- why don’t hispanics care about the unborn, and what can we do to change that?

    Caballeros de Colón. Si su parroquia cuenta con un Consejo de habla Inglés, por favor ir a ellos, pido que se unan, y luego formar una Mesa Redonda Hispana para hacer frente a la falta de caridad en ambas culturas.

    Pero ahora una pregunta: ¿por qué no hispanos atención sobre el no nacido, y qué podemos hacer para cambiar eso?

    • Petro

      Who says that hispanics don’t care for the unborn?

      Perhaps one way to start the discussion, if you feel that there is something that needs to be changed, is not assume something about the beliefs of an entire group of people from various countries, cultures and classes.

      What gives you the impression that hispanics don;t care for the unborn?

      • Ted Seeber

        “Who says that hispanics don’t care for the unborn?” “What gives you the impression that hispanics don;t care for the unborn?”

        The 70% of Hispanic voters who just voted for the most pro-abortion President in History, a man who sees pregnancy as a curse and wants to kill his own grandchildren.

        “Perhaps one way to start the discussion, if you feel that there is something that needs to be changed, is not assume something about the beliefs of an entire group of people from various countries, cultures and classes.”

        70% is a pretty big percentage who just proved that they don’t care for the unborn. If that is an assumption, then it’s one with a lot of data behind it. But even before this election, certain aspects of Hispanic culture troubled an white gringo prude like me. Quincinera celebrations to encourage teenage pregnancy. Machismo attitudes that degrade fatherhood and male chastity (not that we’ve had a whole lot of success since the sexual revolution here in the States with that one either) and encourage misogyny. The general lack of respect for marriage as the proper state to raise children.

        Life and sexual morality doesn’t seem to be a high priority for this subculture of Catholicism.

        • srocha

          Ted: Do you honestly think that those who voted for Obama did so BECAUSE they are indifferent to the unborn? It seems like a rather faulty and convenient line of reasoning.

          SR

          • Ted Seeber

            Yes I do. But then again, I’m the kind of prude that ended up voting third party because both of the major political parties are for either grave or lesser intrinsic evils.

        • Petro

          My brother, I strongly encourage to get to know some of your Catholic brothers. It may help you understand how some Hispanics feel about issues like the unborn and sexual morality. I am not sure where you get your information, but some of it is incorrect. This is, of course, part of the issue for some Hispanics. I believe some feel that they had no choice but to vote with the 70% because they feel a strong sense of bigotry and ignorance toward them from the side of the political spectrum which you seem to support. Although you may find this to be an intolerable act for them to vote against their pro-life beliefs, you are not the one who is faced with such ignorance as you have displayed here. Regardless of what I say though, I encourage to get to know your Hispanic brothers to help clear up some of these matters.

          Where is your ignorance? First, Quinciñearas do not encourage teenage pregnancy. They are nothing more than a fancy sweet sixteen party. In fact, if you go to my local parish, you’ll find our priest presiding over several Quinciñearas each month. From what I know, our pastor is not condoning teenage pregnancy with this act. It’s also important to note that this tradition is primarily a Mexican tradition. Though it has spread to other Hispanic cultures, it is not a universal Hispano-Catholic tradition.

          Machismo attitudes are, indeed, a problem, but they are not the key issue behind a degradation of fatherhood. The key issue here is poverty, and this issue is far worse for Hispanics in other countries. Emasculated by a society that treats them as lesser human beings and often unable to find work that will support their families, many men are driven to leave their families, some physically, and others only emotionally. Poverty is the great destroyer of families. It has ravaged too much of Latin America.

          This, of course, also lends itself to your idea that Hispanics do not respect marriage. Often an official marriage, whether civil or in the Church, is seen as an insurmountable expense, particularly in Latin American countries in which the vast majority of people live outside of the officialdom of society. Many will live in common law marriages much more long-lasting than any official marriage in our country. This cultural norm has somewhat passed on through the recent immigrant underclass in this country, but I think you’ll find that among those who have reached the middle class in this country, our societal norm has been accepted since it is, by far, preferable for those who can afford it.

          My brother, I applaud you for trying to reach out here to learn more about you Hispanic brothers. Instead of the anonymity and generalization of the Internet though, I urge you to get to know some of your Hispanic brethern in your own community. I think you will find their thoughts and ideas very just as greatly as their English-speaking brothers. I think you might also begin to understand some of their culture and reasons and the depth of their faith.

          I will leave you with an interesting anecdote. It means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but inspired me to thought and prayer. Yesterday, in the Youth Ministry that I serve, we discussed the existence of God and the problem of evil. Part of our focus was on the youth sharing their beliefs with others as part of their Christian mission. As in our church, the recent, working-class Hispanic immigrants live in separate worlds from our middle-class youth. When discussing need to share their beliefs, the Hispanic youth were very open to this idea as each one agreed that all of their friends and family believe in God. Our middle-class youth were very fearful of the idea as many of them are ensconced in a secular, relativistic culture. As we discussed evil, those relativistic ideas from this culture pervaded the speech of the many of our middle-class youth. Our working-class youth had an intuitive understanding of the Church’s teachings on good and evil.

          This anecdote is not to suggest or state that one group of youth was better than the other. Instead, it is to point out that each person lives his faith differently through the prism of his experiences. No ethnic group has a tight hold on the proper way to worship God nor the right way to be Catholic. We can all learn from our different experiences as Catholics, as individuals and as groups, to bring us closer to Christ. When we engage in this endeavor, we might better understand why one person may not live his faith in the same way that we might, and perhaps learn ways to strengthen our own faith.

          • Petro

            And I’ll add a Vivat Jesus. God bless you, Brother Knight.

          • Ted Seeber

            Good reason for us to form more Hispanic roundtables indeed! Thank you Brother Knight- for your indulgence with my ignorance!

            I was unable to bring myself to vote for Romney for exactly the intrinsic evil you suggest- the Republican institutionalized support of racism and class warfare. But I was also unable to vote for Obama for pro-life and class warfare reasons (Planned Parenthood targets minorities).

            I am frustrated right now with the intense support of grave and lesser intrinsic evil that 98% of all Catholics (not any one group!) supported with their votes. If the 24% of American Catholics would pull together, we’d never win an election- but imagine a Presidential Candidate winning with less than 30% of the vote! He might listen to us then, as Obama does not.

          • Petro

            I, too, voted third party for President. However, I don’t believe that all those who voted for Democrats do not care about the unborn nor that all those who voted for Republicans are racists or unconcerned with the poor. People make the best choices they can, based on their consciences. Thus, I think it is unfair to think that 70% of Hispanics do not care for the unborn because they voted for Obama.

            Nevertheless, let’s get out there and try to affect the hearts of all Catholics to come closer to God. But the first way to do that it to get out there and speak with love—along with a kiss, a hug, and tenderness, as Sam suggests.

          • Ted Seeber

            In my archdiocese, taking that literally would get me ostracized and likely arrested.

            The sexual revolution has resulted in the clergy sex abuse scandal- and that’s where the fear lies.

  • Pingback: Bilingual Mass Never Quite Jives For Me: A Note on Translation


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X