Monday, March 26, 2012

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves / Estado de Sats / State of Sats, Ailer González

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves / Estado de Sats / State of Sats,
Ailer González
Estado de Sats / State of Sats, Translator: Unstated
By Ailer González

I confess that since I was a little girl there has been a duality in me
with respect to religion, formed, on one side, by the vision of my
father — doctor, atheist and Marxist — and on the other by the influence
exercised over me in the afternoons at the house of my Catholic
grandmother, Borita, a place where in any corner one could find the
remnants of her beliefs: images of the Sacred Heart; silver crucifixes;
glittering pebbles from Cobre that seduced me; and a thick booklet with
silky-smooth paper that related the events, incomprehensible at my age,
that made me doubt the non-existence of that supreme being lodged in my
early education.

In my childhood, when to be religious in Cuba was seen almost with
revulsion, during recess at my primary school, the former Moncada
Barracks, we constantly engaged in heated childish controversies about
whether or not God existed. In those days, the religious were treated as
if they had the plague and avoided as something contagious. I remember
also hearing some whispered gossip among the adults, about so-and-so who
had been kicked out of the Party because they saw him enter a church, or
about some other guy who lost his career at the University for having
hung an image of Jesus in his home.

With the visit of John Paul II in the late nineties, a certain
melancholy returned to those afternoons with my grandmother, and I went,
for the first time, to the massively attended unveiling of the Faith in
Cuba. The people, cautious beforehand, overflowed; sheltered by the
protective figure of John Paul II, they filled the squares, singing,
praying loudly, lifting the veils from their faces; I could feel, just
for a moment, the touch of Freedom.

Now, returning to my country, another Pope, with 14 years having passed
since that first visit; we Cubans have accumulated more wear, less hope,
less joy.

Meanwhile, the same government as in my childhood, the one which
marginalized and rejected like the plague believers and practitioners,
expelled them from workplaces and schools, prohibited Masses and
transformed churches into empty rooms; the one which banished the magic
and illusions of Christmas; which imposed, generation after generation,
the idolatry of a false God. That same hypocritical government,
practitioner of the one religion: terror; that immoral government, that
calls, or rather orders, from its editorials and news outlets, an entire
people to behave like sheep in a blind herd, and that tries to sell, one
more time, before the eyes of Pope Benedict XVI and the world, a
benevolent and open image, while repressing and besieging, at the exact
same time, the authentic voices in Cuba that unmask it. Before such
audacity, my Catholic grandmother would murmur: God helps those who help

For me, this visit of the Pope is one more drop in the great tide that
is advancing and announcing, immense, a great change in the destiny of
this devastated nation. Perhaps I will not attend the Mass on the 28th,
given my scant devotion, but I will carry in my pockets, like on those
afternoons with my grandmother, a spell to conjure the well-being of my
country and my people, a little golden pebble from Cobre, a pebble of
the Virgin of Charity.

24 March 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment