Sunday, March 23, 2008

From Easter to Mission

Happy Easter! (We're having a white Easter here in Duluth.)

Fr. Carron's recent interview with Alfa y Omega, "An Original Presence", opens up a path to mission, I believe.

First, he speaks of the recent encounter with the Senza Terra movement (what's that called again? :) ), which we have all followed with interest.
The Mystery put us in front of this new event, but I am not afraid, because He who started this good work among us will complete it. Our duty is to say yes to this new and mysterious form in which God presents Himself in our life.
There is much in this interview, but I am particularly struck by this section about our public presence as Christians, which is what we do here and everywhere. When he says, "reacting to others' provocations is not enough, we are pushed to rediscover the originality of Christianity", I see how much I react to the reactions.
In the present situation where, as we have seen, reacting to others’ provocations is not enough, we are pushed to rediscover the originality of Christianity. A non-reactive, original presence is required. “A presence is original when it comes from the consciousness of its own identity and from the attachment to it. In this, it finds its consistency” (Father Giussani). As Christians, we have not been chosen to prove our dialectic or strategic skills, but just to testify to the news that faith has introduced into the world and that “conquered” us, changing our look toward people and reality. In this context, I believe that the challenge we are faced with is the usual one, since the beginning of the Movement: the educational challenge; educating adults in the faith, according to a method that makes the attachment to Christ reasonable. As Father Giussani said at the 1987 Synod, “What is missing is not the verbal or cultural repetition of the announcement. Today’s man is waiting, probably without knowing it, to experience a meeting with people in whom the fact of Christ is such a present reality that their lives have changed. It is a human impact that can upset today’s man”— that is, the meeting with something that matches our heart’s needs, that shakes reason of its torpor and that can be the answer no moralism could ever dream up.
In this our medium is limited, but it is evident that another way than the typical is needed to display the reasonableness of attachment to Christ. The Holy Father gives us an example in his dialogue with Muslim leaders and scholars. Also, the Vatican is initiating alliances with secular and other politicians for causes of human dignity. By affirming human dignity in all its aspects (e.g. moratoriums on the death penalty as well as abortion), the Church is offering a more persuasive view of the person which can move the heart.

Another interesting perspective on dialogue as presence can be found in the Godspy recap of the recent political discussion sponsored by Crossroads.
The motive for bringing Olasky and Hertzberg together was not to conduct an argument between left and right. As one of the event organizers, Carlo Lancellotti explained to me, “Reality is an event, not an idea.” The point was to have an encounter where the role of faith and reason in public life could be explored in friendship. “There is a cultural vacuum” in our society, Lancellotti added. “Politics alone cannot sustain the life of a people. By raising the question of human desire, we can make a contribution.”
In this same context, Fr. Giussani said something to those first GS kids who went to Brazil which clarifies this serene openness we are called to:
Just as you have to be faithful to our community and to the values and the directives given for your spiritual life and for educating your persons, so for the activity and behaviour with others and the environment the rule is a deep adaptation: Do not have any pretensions and don't pass a negative judgement on anything.
Immediately I see, that's different! This helps me understand how to communicate, whether online or with family, friends, community. It's something other than my instinctive and well-practiced mode. But then, everything about Christ is new. Fr. Carron, on receiving the mandate to guide the Movement for these next years with a more acute awareness of disproportion, quoted Soloviev: "What is dearest to us in Christianity is Christ Himself."

Christ Is Risen!

6 comments:

Freder1ck said...

Happy Easter!

And thank you for this great post. I agree that this is the great challenge of our medium. It's difficult but not impossible to offer this kind of witness on a blog:

“What is missing is not the verbal or cultural repetition of the announcement. Today’s man is waiting, probably without knowing it, to experience a meeting with people in whom the fact of Christ is such a present reality that their lives have changed. It is a human impact that can upset today’s man.”

In our individual blogs, we are challenged to go beyond the reactions and ideas of the day. For us, arguments are not merely about ideas, but about the personal impact of things in the messiness of life. I find myself moving more and more to this bloggish personal narrative. The ideal of these personal narratives may be the various books that Don Gius gave to Enzo Piccinini and other friends.

But here at Cahiers, we are especially challenged with the task of building a body, a unity among Christians online. How to do this is a question we may each ask.

clairity said...

Thank you. I really like your view of the personal vs. the common blog. Can you explain more what you mean by "arguments are not merely about ideas, but about the personal impact of things in the messiness of life"? Enjoy the Season!

Freder1ck said...

Sharon,

First, I'll say that my personal responses may not look like yours! But here are some recent narratives that I was thinking of: "sola fides sufficit" and "His blood be upon us and upon our children!" (which is a part of a whole series on Luther's sub contrario. I see that both of these are responses to liturgy, but they're different from the typical reactions to liturgy which dwell so much on how the liturgy disappoints the author's expectations. I mean nothing more than what Fr. Giussani proposes to us. That we look at everything in our experience and then judge it according to the criteria of the heart. I think I would do well to post less quotes and present more judgments on what I quote.

Also, I think that the photographs, artworks, quotes from literature, etc all help to flesh out what it means to live Christianity today.

Have a great Easter day and week!

clairity said...

Ah I understand you. This is the good work. How liturgy can change us: I realize this after this dense Holy Week period.

Suzanne said...

I am glad to stumble on this conversation you two are having! I will say, as a new member in the blogging world, I would never ever persevere except with the witness of the two of you and a few others who live community on the internet in a way that is a true gift of self -- in other words, for you, it seems to me that to have a blog is not just an opportunity to express oneself but to give oneself. This love for community can be seen in the work of CP, in all the links you provide, as well as in the way that the two of you give yourselves to the subject matter of each post you do. I see these qualities also in the blogging of the other CP members, and it gives me so much help and inspires me. "Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found!"

clairity said...

Suzanne,

It's fun to find a cozy room open up with friends for a nice chat.

Thank you for your encouragement. It is helpful that I have met you and Fred in real time. I have become more aware of these known friends we communicate with (including my sister, for example) vs. just racking up anonymous hits.

For me the challenge is to follow the Event and my heart, and not to just react. But this is a daily problem, offline as well. ;) Still everything is useful to learn this, and friends who share the path are such a help.

Sharon