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!