Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cultivating an awareness of the Presence, or living in the awareness of destiny

Today's Gospel started me thinking about the need to live in the awareness of a Presence and how Giussani's method, borne of his charism, which we share by our adherence to the method, teaches us to cultivate this awareness. The need to cultivate this awareness is illustrated by St. Peter's stepping out of the boat after the Lord beckons him, "Come" in response to Peter's entreaty, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water" (Matt. 14,28-29a). So, at the Lord's beckoning, Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk toward Jesus. Once he is walking on the water, he becomes distracted when he notices the strong wind (v. 30). It is here that I wonder if I am overreaching to suggest that perhaps Peter began to look around, over to the shore, back at the boat, everywhere but at Jesus. This distraction induces fear because his awareness is given wholly over to the wind, the waves, his distance from the safety of the shore and the boat. If I am not overreaching, then I feel safe in asserting that Peter's being frightened is the result of his letting his awareness of the Presence be obscured by his circumstances.

Letting go of our awareness of Christ's presence, which is a fact that exists whether we acknowledge it or not, also has something to do with not living in the awareness of destiny, one of the two things necessary, according to Don Giussani (the other being mortification or self-control), to attain true freedom, the complete satisfaction of desire, finding that which corresponds to your heart.


Freder1ck said...

Our homilist (the Archdiocesan chancellor in residence at my parish) said much the same, and I thought he was over reaching a bit, but then I looked at the Gospel again: But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; Peter's fear is a result of where he's looking.

Apolonio said...

I personally think that maybe Peter, because he saw how strong the wind was, looked **down at the water** where his feet were on. He focused on the miracle without focusing on Christ. It's kinda like that analogy Giussani and Carron gives about focusing on the flowers and not the one who sent the flower.

For me, this means that when we lose focus on Christ, miracles become impossible. Miracles no longer become miracles, that is, it loses its purpose. Peter asked the impossible, "Command me to **come to you** on water," and Christ, because he realized his desire, responded graciously. The lack of awareness of His Presence suffocates us, makes us sink, makes work burdensome. What is important is the question, what dominates us? The circumstances or the Presence which at every moment begs down with His hand stretched?

The Gospel today is very beautiful because it teaches us what Giussani said, that Christ begs for our hearts and our hearts beg for Christ. It's amazing, though, that when Peter begged, he screamed. When God begged, he was silent but touched his heart; Christ simply stretched out his hand.

Finally, it speaks of the wind calming down and that's when they proclaimed that Christ is the Son of God. Silence, then, is not a time to get away from reality but to throw one's self, one's voice, heart, ears, to Christ. The truest moment of that story is when the wind was silent, when they proclaimed who he was. "Then I understood that my life would be spent in the memory of what had happened to me. And the memory of you fills me with silence" (Laurentius). Silence is what keeps at us awe. Without a permanent sense of wonder, there can be no mission.