Post Trip Reflection on Valles De Los Caidos – Jennifer Ngo

By July 25, 2008Uncategorized

Yes, this post is about the first “big” historic spot we visited on the SSU Europe Trip 2008, and yes, it has already been a week since I got home. Why? Why is this post as behind in time as my journal entries? Why am I still stuck in Spain? We went through cathedrals like bowls of rice (for me) or plates of salad (for Mel) or mounds of any food (for Kendall), but Valles De Los Caidos (aka VDLC) still stuck out to me. Like many of the cathedrals and places we saw,  VDLC has a unique history and is an architectural masterpiece. But most importantly, it made me think about two questions which I was to ask myself again and again throughout the trip: What is human evil and what do we do in the face of it? And is this/can this be a sacred space for worshipping Jesus? VDLC is the beginning of the struggle for hope and goodness as seen through history. I can’t say I have perfect answers to these questions and to all the other questions these two questions provoked, but I have asked a lot more good questions. I do hope I’ve come to better grounds with this specie called humankind.From the glorification of war at VDLC to the horrors of concentration camps, we see the darkness of man; yet from the fascinating design of Gaudi’s architecture to the tales of heroic acts at Omaha Beach, we see the goodness and creativity of man; then in the passionate and radical lives of the various saints (Francis, Teresa etc) to the majestic beauty of the Alps, we see the constant presence of God. The world we live in can be rather foggy, and human nature can be so complicated, yet everything can also be oh so simple. I found out that it all have to do with choice. Are we willing to accept the fact that there is always something dark in our nature, yet still choose to make the most out of the good that is in us as well? Are we willing to choose make each space we visit a space that God can also visit? These are choices which we can make.There is a quote in my old prayer book back in secondary school in Hong Kong (it’s Anglican, it’s cool), and it goes like this:” God, please grant us the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”Evilness and sacred spaces, history and its lessons… don’t know how to finish this thought, I guess I’ll just let it hang.