Monday, November 19, 2007

What this blog is about...

Well, when I started with this, I don't think I really knew why I was doing it, except that it was nifty to choose a template, to fill in the profile questions, and fiddle with the settings...

I also knew that I wanted to say something about forgiveness/mercy because it is something that has been astonishing me and educating me day by day. So, I thought that the purpose of the blog would be to explore the question of forgiveness, to try to understand it better. My first post on the subject sounded more like a bad homily than like an exploration, though! So, that discouraged me, and then I thought I could post some of my recent poems so that someone famous could steal them (or even pieces of them!) and get them into print. I've removed them now, though, because my motive for posting them doesn't really seem to jibe with the "mission" of this blog. I left the preachy first post up, just to keep me humble.

But what I'd really like to do is see whether this might be a way to communicate with other ciellini out there.

I have been working through "Friends, that is Witnesses," the booklet from La Thuile. It is sooo amazing! I feel immensely grateful to the people who went there -- for asking questions I have had or should have had. I keep posting large blocks of text on my School of Community google group site, but I'm afraid I'm going to exhaust everyone with my exuberance.

The question that I've been pondering most in the past twenty-four hours is the one by the Italian guy living in Boston and working at Harvard Medical School. Carron rephrased his question as: "What do you do when the situation of the Church is different from what you would like?" And the answer is simple: "Reality educates us" and "What is your responsibility? To answer the Mystery who is calling you through the circumstances." It seems as if Father Carron just keeps giving us these same answers -- to many, many questions he receives. It is so liberating to hear again and again, "You have all you need!" And the circumstances really do reveal to us the face of Christ, in such dramatic ways!

Even in very negative circumstances. Today, for instance, after a very negative and discouraging experience, I felt like Christ was laughing at me, saying something like, "So, you want to live the Gospel, eh?" I also felt as though the circumstance he's given me, in which to try to follow Him seems rather challenging -- as if perhaps he has too much respect for me. I know I probably shouldn't admit to having such theologically incorrect thoughts, but there I am in all my wrong-headedness. I then decided to call a friend of mine who is in Memoris Domini, and has been following this charism for years. When I told her my woes, she just laughed and laughed, and this laughter was absolutely miraculous for me, because in her laughter I heard Christ laughing -- not at me, but with me! It was so beautiful. And, as Carron points out to the Italian man, living in Boston, it is the companionship that generates us. Wow, did I feel generated by my laughing friend.

Which brings me to the next point -- when I read what Carron said to the same man about the companionship generating us, I really began to think about how I've been generated by a companionship. This thought process brought to mind one very brief encounter I had with Father Vincent Nagle, who visited our city to give us the Lent retreat a little over a year ago -- and then I had just a few more brief meetings with him again before he left for Bethlehem in the West Bank. But the way that he lives communion with the people who are in front of him truly generated me. I don't think that I am trying to "live off the interest" of this encounter -- I think that truly what I saw and experienced of this priest continues to generate me in dozens of different situations and circumstances I face and live each day. Is that possible? As a direct result of his visit, I joined the fraternity and then just jumped into this adventure, started by Father Giussani decades ago.

I have been thinking about something new to do with forgiveness. It seems to me that forgiveness begins as desire? The question mark is there because I'm really feeling in the dark after this one. But it seems that in order to forgive, I have to want Christ more than anything else. Without that supreme wanting, then I don't desire to see His face in the other. Then, of course I don't see it. Ideas of human justice seem to be the biggest stumbling blocks to forgiveness, too. Even a desire for truth (or honesty or sincerity) can get in the way of forgiveness, if the truth I desire is predicated on my own idea of truth (rather than on Truth, ie Christ, who turns many human conceptions of justice and truth on their heads).


Justine said...

I'm so glad you're writing. :) I'll stop by often.

kabloona said...

Hi. I just discovered your blog, via Clarity Daily. I go to School of Community at Cranford, N.J. Good stuff.

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."