RETURN TO MONTSERRAT(11/02/2007)
Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On not believing in God
(CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE SEVENTEEN)
I hadn't been there since 1979, and all I recall from that visit is a large and smelly cafeteria that displayed endless dollops of mel i mató in its dessert section and someone trying to make me buy a bottle of Aromes de Montserrat, a liqueur which tastes OK if you drown it in ice and are already three sheets to the wind to begin with.
Since then, Montserrat has got quite cool. There's a brand new cafeteria with subdued lighting and reasonable food, a gift shop with an almost Raval-ish trendy ethnic feel to it, and a bar normal enough for you to hang out there without anyone suspecting you're a Christian.
But above all, in my case, there was the prospect of meeting a real, live shitting monk, or at least a novice, which is the next best thing.
Efrem is a thirty-nine year old ex-schoolteacher who donned his habit after ten years of reflection. He turned out to be a witty, interesting man who answered all my questions, including a cheeky one about his sex drive, with a full-on honesty that would have disarmed the snidest cynic.
I didn't envy him his chosen way of life though. Not, at least, until he started talking about the days when he experienced moments of mystic elation, very similar, from what I could make out, to the kind of soda-like tingling I felt after my Anglican confirmation at age fourteen: a sensation that God was much closer to the skin than I'd ever suspected.
In my case, the bubble burst after six months, the buildings and paving stones of London came into sharp, crude focus, and suddenly God was nowhere to be felt. Since then, I have been a militant unbeliever. I listened to Efrem, however, with a growing yearning for that distant, brief period when I was convinced that I would have divine company right up until the day I popped the proverbial clogs.