Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mercy

"...mercy is the secret aspect, the most secret word of God’s. In terms of its origin it is the most secret one, and is the most vast in terms of application." -- Father Giussani

"We must have forgiveness for those who are different. I say it all the time: forgiveness is embracing what is different. However, for this to happen, much more than making the resolution to forgive, understand, and let things go, much more than directly resolving, it is better to resolve to be conscious of why we are together, of the reason “why.” If this consciousness of the reason why I must understand, not remain indifferent, and forgive, grows, then it becomes easier also to forgive, to understand, etc." -- Father Giussani

"Embracing what is different" -- such a freeing definition of forgiveness! None of us has the ability to forgive the faults of others. Only God can forgive sins. We, on the other hand, have our own faults to contend with, our own shortcomings, annoying habits, thoughtlessness, forgetfulness. Why should we be scandalized by others when we ourselves are so limited? Sometimes, perhaps, we need to be preoccupied with others' flaws so as not to see our own. Or perhaps, sometimes, we only begin to be faintly aware of our own shortcomings -- ones to which we are blind -- when someone else exhibits them, holding a mirror to something in us we have been unable to look at? Perhaps the wrongs of others arouse emotion in us because they challenge our petty attachments?

To truly forgive another is not in our power. If we make a great muscular effort to forgive, the results are disastrous! Forgiveness is only possible when we open ourselves to the mystery of God's mercy. Recognizing our littleness and nothingness even while acknowledging that God, in his mercy, continues to sustain us in existence, from one moment to the next, allows us to share, perhaps even to radiate, that mystery of mercy.

1 comment:

clairity said...

Nice to find your new blog and see your comment at Cahiers. Can you email me at clairity @ hotmail dot com?

Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."