11 December 2010

Casas de carton

Yesterday my heart was broken as I watched a story of a young boy living in El Salvador during the civil war (in the 1980s). The movie "Innocent Voices" was based on the actual experiences of writer Oscar Torres and is one of the most beautiful depictions of family, childhood and war that I have seen. I was again reminded of the terrible reality of war and especially of its devastating impact on families and children, which effects linger on for generations--as we can see in El Salvador with the terrible gang violence that has taken hold in the country.

Luckily, there was more than simply a message of despair in the film. Perhaps one of the most poignant moments was when the Catholic priest, after having been brutally beaten by the El Salvadorean soldiers, held mass in the street and preached a message of love and faith to his congregation and all who could hear:

"The word of God should be heard by those who have not found grace within themselves. What is grace? Grace is the presence of the divine in every one of our actions. The skeptics say, 'If God existed, there would be no war.' And I respond, 'If humanity would obey the word of God, then there would be no war!' Because God has given humanity the privilege to live in grace, or on the contrary, to provoke disgrace. I assure you, when one lives in the grace of God, war does not exist. Nevertheless, there are those who ignore their own divine nature and they satisfy themselves by robbing, humiliating and killing their own kind..."

To me this is such a beautiful expression of our responsibility. Each of us must live according to our divine nature. We must act with grace and love and treat each other with care. If we want to be blessed with peace, we must first live peacefully. We must demonstrate in our actions the grace of God and our devotion to him, rather than to our own wants and our own prejudices and hatreds and grudges. Oh how I wish we would live that way!

This song was a song of the rebel army in the civil war in El Salvador, prohibited by the national army. It is gorgeous.

Here is the English translation:

How sad the rain sounds
On the cardboard roofs
How sadly my people live
In the cardboard houses.

The worker comes descending,
Almost dragging his feet
Under the weight of his suffering.
Look how much is the suffering!
Look how much the suffering weighs!
He leaves his pregnant wife above
The city is below,
And he loses himself in its tangle.

Today is the same as yesterday
In this world without tomorrow.

How sad, the rain is heard
On the cardboard roofs.
How sadly my people live
In the cardboard houses.

Children the color of my land
With the same scars,
Millionaires of worms, and
therefore, how sadly the children live.

How happily the dogs live
In the home of the exploiters.
You won't believe it,
But there are schools for dogs
And they give them education
So they don't bite the newsboys
But the boss
For years, so many years,
has been biting the laborer.

How sad, the rain is heard
On the cardboard roofs.
How far away, hope passes
In the cardboard houses.

This Christmas season, may we remember, and live, the glorious song of the angels at our Savior's birth:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."
Luke 2:14

No comments: