Saturday, July 26, 2008

Prayer and Hospitality

The life of Christ risen, his Spirit which is given to us at Easter, needs to find hospitality in us.

This is the meaning of the silence and the prayer that is recommended by the Church in this time.
This is the meaning of fasting, which is closely related to prayer and silence. That our eyes may not
be closed, that our senses may not be dulled. This is the meaning of the alms that are asked of us.
That our life may not be built on what is secondary and fleeting, but that it may find in Jesus the
only richness that does not end, the richness that gives light and weight to every tiny thing. In this
way, in our hands, instead of the sad object that will be destroyed, everything becomes an icon of the
beauty of the Savior.
Fr. Massimo Camisasca, "God's Signs"

I started the subject of prayer on my blog with a post earlier today on asking. Writing this reminded me of meeting Fr. Camisasca some twenty plus years ago when I first encountered the movement. When he came to northern California for a visit, we had a meeting with him, and I asked him a question: what about our prayer? The context for me was that I had been helped to pray by four years of formation in a lay vocation and by the third order Carmelites. In CL, some invitations for the Angelus and Morning Prayer had been made, but there was no particular regime or rule (I didn't know about the fraternity then).

As I recall it, his answer was simply this: Your prayer will be for the movement. It was something new that prayer and holiness are not personal possessions, although this is also explicit in the St. Louis de Montfort consecration to Mary. Pope Benedict corrected this individualistic conception as well in Spe Salvi 14ff:
[D]e Lubac was able to demonstrate that salvation has always been considered a “social” reality. Indeed, the Letter to the Hebrews speaks of a “city” (cf. 11:10, 16; 12:22; 13:14) and therefore of communal salvation. Consistently with this view, sin is understood by the Fathers as the destruction of the unity of the human race, as fragmentation and division. Babel, the place where languages were confused, the place of separation, is seen to be an expression of what sin fundamentally is. Hence “redemption” appears as the reestablishment of unity, in which we come together once more in a union that begins to take shape in the world community of believers.
Regarding the role of the monasteries, the Pope quotes pseudo-Rufinus in a strong statement: “The human race lives thanks to a few; were it not for them, the world would perish ...”

So here is an individual praying, which is for the community and by extension for the world, a conscious action of welcoming the presence of Christ, that he finds a foothold here. As Fr. Giussani said, "Christianity has no other `weapon,' just the human being who lives as such."

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