The Dawn of Midnight

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This section contains all of Luigino Bruni's editorials of the series entitled "The Dawn of Midnight" dedicated to the Book of Jeremiah and published in Avvenire from 23rd April 2017
 

Only the wounded land brings fruit

The Dawn of Midnight/9 - The seed breaks the earth crust, the petals colour the flower field

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 18/06/2017

170618 Geremia 9 ridAlmost all the ideas introduced by Jeremiah in this time period are related to the law; almost all the images he uses are drawn from the same heritage of biblical prophecy - which by then turned secular. All this is but an exercise, a learning process.

André Neher, Jeremiah

“Thus says the Lord to me, »Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it around your waist, and do not dip it in water.« So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord, and put it around my waist. And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, »Take the loincloth that you have bought (...) go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.«” (Jeremiah 13:1-4)

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It takes a different kind of meekness to save us

The Dawn of Midnight/8 - The communities that kill their naïve prophets die

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 11/06/2017

170611 Geremia 8 ridTo the prophet, God does not reveal himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a specific and unique way--in a personal and intimate revelation to the world.

Abraham Heschel, The Prophets

The good kind of nostalgia, capable of talking to us, is only that of the future, the kind that knows how to direct our gaze to the present and the future. You cannot regenerate a love affair by returning to the words you were saying in the happy times, but by dreaming and saying the love words that you have never said. There is vital and essential reciprocity between past and present. The promise made in the beginning gives sense and truth to hopes in times of exiles and deserts; the fulfilment of yesterday's promise today says that we haven’t been following an illusion.

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No to the banality of nothingness

by Luigino Bruni

published in  Avvenire on 04/06/2017

170604 Geremia 7How then could I unite with this wild idolater in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth — pagans and all included — can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship?

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Prophecy is a radical critique of religions and cultures. Of every religion and every cult that has an intrinsic tendency to turn into idolatrous practices. Also, and above all, it offers a criticism of biblical revelation, a systematic and tremendous criticism, to prevent the biblical word from becoming a simple religion - a faith that becomes only religion is already idolatrous worship. The Bible is much more than a sacred book of a religion, also because it has welcomed and kept safe in its bosom the books of prophets, which, together with Job and Qoheleth, prevented it from becoming an idolatrous object. The prophets, therefore, by ridding the religious world of idols, try to liberate our landscape from our religious artefacts to create an environment in which we can - perhaps - only hear a bare voice. They are the great liberators from the gods that fill the earth and our souls.

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The temptation to customise God

The Dawn of Midnight/6 - The lies of the scribes are a trap for good faith as well

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 28/05/2017

170528 geremia 6 ridJeremiah understands that the precious power of dialogue that has been given him is actually a power of prayer.

André Neher, Jeremiah

At the beginning of every love story there is a wonderful encounter between the "internal" and the "external". In both personal and collective stories. One day we meet a person and feel that he or she has already been present in our soul without us knowing it. We only realise it as we get to know this person. If this were not the case, we would not join anybody in a pact that includes the word "forever". Something like this happens in those love stories, too, where the other we meet is not a man or a woman, but a spiritual or ideal reality. The voice that calls us is external and intimate at the same time; we recognize it because it has already been inside us.

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The honest tenacity of the bellows

The Dawn of Midnight/5 – Staying strong not to manipulate reality and not to use God

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 21/05/2017

170514 Geremia 05 ridAnd all the people exulted and smacked their lips. Zarathustra, however, turned sad, and said to his heart: They understand me not: I am not the mouth for these ears. (...) And now they look at me and laugh: and while they laugh they hate me too.  There is ice in their laughter.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (English translation by Thomas Common)

The biblical God does not speak in the first person singular on the earth, his words reach us only as words of men and women. The one who descends from Mount Sinai with the tablets of law is Moses, a man. YHWH speaks to him in the tent of the meeting, dialoguing only with him, "mouth to mouth", and telling him words that the people may know. If we want to hear the word of God in the world all we have to do is simply learn to listen to men and women like us. It is a word that is communicated by looking into a pair of eyes at the same height as ours. We do not find it either higher or lower: it's only there in front of us. Man is the place where God knows how to speak to mankind. Only men and women can resurrect the Bible and the Gospel every day, saying the words: "come outside". Without people calling them by name, here and now, even the biblical words remain dead in their graves.

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Like the mothers of the word

The Dawn of Midnight/4 – The truth makes you suffer but it also generates real freedom

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 14/05/2017

170514 Geremia 04 bis rid"I hope with all my heart that you will absolve me, I do not enjoy the idea of ​​going to prison like a hero, but I cannot help but explicitly declare that I will teach my boys what I have taught them until now... If we cannot save humanity, we will at least save the soul."

Don Lorenzo Milani, Letter to the military chaplains, letter to the judges

The illusory ideologies that develop and grow during the great and long crises are, perhaps, the most dangerous and devastating ones because their specificity is in negating the crisis. The present is lived as a time of waiting for some miraculous event, a new secret revelation that will save everyone, and the community is doped with a spiritual opium that deepens and exacerbates the crisis. It is a manipulation that lasts until the evidence reaches the point beyond which negation becomes impossible. But the "point of no return" sometimes becomes almost unreachable, because the strongest and most powerful ideologies can push the elaboration of the ideology of the crisis far ahead, and even the catastrophes and total collapses tend to be interpreted ideologically. There are entire communities destroyed by ideology, with some surviving members who continue to deny what's evident and search for the confirmation of their previous ideological predictions among the rubble.

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The hand holding the rope

The Dawn of Midnight/3 - Having people more faithful than us by our side is a great gift

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 07/05/2017

170507 Geremia 03 rid"...he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremiah came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it."

Second Book of the Maccabees

Faithfulness is one of those words that are capable of saying all that there is to say about life. An existence is made up of many words and a lot of things, but if we were to choose only one, faithfulness would be a very strong candidate. Faithfulness is almost everything; faithfulness, perhaps, is everything. Faithfulness to the foundation pacts of our existence, to marriage, our profession, to friendships, to the voice that called us one day by making us start on the greatest journey. It is faithfulness that warms our heart during the winters, that consoles the soul when everything else passes and makes us pronounce our name without shame. It is the most beautiful legacy we leave to our children.

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The Prophets of the Second Nothing

The Dawn of Midnight/2 - Beyond the sea of slavery, where the idols die

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on  30/04/2017

170430 geremia02"When he brought the ready drink to Jeremiah's bedside, he was breathing quietly in his sleep. "Since I cannot hide it from the world, how can I hide it from you?" ..."Hide what?" (...). "The Lord was with me... And his voice spoke to me. And his voice is sending me away from here." Abi's eyes filled with tears. She did not cry because the Lord had come to him. Shouldn't she be proud of all the women of Jacob? And yet Abi's heart broke with sorrow for the election of her son."

Franz Werfel, Hearken Unto the Voice

There is a conflict, a radical tension, between the prophets and power. For many reasons, but above all because the prophet, by his task and vocation, can see the natural tendency of every power - above all the one dressed in a sacred mantle - getting distorted and turning into tyranny.

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Time for Singing without Fear

The Dawn of Midnight/1 - Destiny and freedom in the encounter with the absolute

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on  23/04/2017

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Hear, you that love, 
You that yearn, 
You bereaved:
In your eyes’ desire our life begins, 
In your hands our breakthrough, to the blue air – 
We’re there in the smell of the dawn.
Already you’re breathing us in, 
We enter your sleep, 
Strike root in the dream-soil. 
Funereal night 
Then nurtures our growth, till 
Our eyes open to yours. 
And we cry
.

Nelly Sachs In the Dwellings of Death (Chorus of the Unborn - English translation by Andrew Shanks)

Prophecy is one of the capital goods at all times and everywhere - for every society, for all communities, for every person. Therefore, when the big crises strike, prophecy becomes a primary necessity, precious and essential, just like water or respect.

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