Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Figuring it out as I go

I had a question about fraternal correction that I submitted at the national diakonia of Communion and Liberation. I had been really hoping that my question would be chosen, so I could hear what light Father Carron might shed on his exhortation to all of us that we should be constantly correcting each other, and I was tremendously disappointed when it seemed that he didn't answer me.

But after transcribing my notes from his final synthesis, then reading them again several times, I had a sudden realization -- the question had been addressed and answered and enlarged upon during the entire Diakonia. Sometimes I am so dense! It is because when I read the word "correction," I assumed it meant that we're supposed to correct each other's bad theology, moral inconsistency, misunderstandings and misapplication of doctrine. But this is not what Father Carron means at all -- by "correction," he means to remind each other, constantly, that "even the hairs of your head are numbered." As Don Giuss said, a true friend is the one who asks us, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" It is the constant reminder that we must give to one another that we do not make ourselves -- that there is another who generates me in every moment.

[When we have difficulties, we have to remember to face] this situation with Christ in my eyes, looking at the difficulties and repeating [that] even the hairs of your head are numbered. But many times when we are in the bottom of our nothingness we forget this and we need somebody, some witness that can gaze on our life with the life of Christ and this -- it's not possible to do alone.

This is why we need friends -- friends who will witness to the true value of our lives.


clairity said...

Thank you for sharing this ah-ha! I had never thought of correction that way before either. This makes sense, it corresponds.

Suzanne said...

Thanks, Sharon. I am glad to read your response -- it helps me to confirm that I'm on the right track...

clairity said...

Honestly, it woke me up it was so true. I notice we are all quieter since diakonia, and I had this same experience after going to LaThuile a few years ago. I had this great desire for silence afterward and to just take it all in. --Sharon

Freder1ck said...

aha! This insight helps me a great deal with what's going on with me today. I remember also that Fr. Giussani said that the etymology of correction is 'to hold together.' Despite this, I never thought of holding together as also being correction.

Suzanne said...

Really, thanks for leaving these comments! I wrote so little for how big this is for me. This etymology is particularly interesting to me because I'm guessing it's the etymology for the Italian word, which Carron was actually using at La Thuile.

Suzanne said...

Here's what I found in the OED:

correct (v.) Look up correct at Dictionary.com
1340, "to set right, rectify" (a fault or error), from L. correctus, pp. of corrigere "make straight, put right," from com- intens. prefix + regere "to lead straight, rule" (see regal). Originally of persons; with ref. to writing, etc., attested from c.1374. The pp. adj. is recorded from 1460. House of correction first recorded 1575.
regal Look up regal at Dictionary.com
c.1330, from L. regalis "royal, kingly, belonging to a king," from rex (gen. regis) "king," from PIE base *reg- "move in a straight line," hence, "direct, rule, guide" (cf. Skt. raj- "a king, a leader;" Avestan razeyeiti "directs;" Pers. rahst "right, correct;" L. regere "to rule," rex "a king, a leader," rectus "right, correct;" O.Ir. ri, Gaelic righ "a king;" Gaul. -rix "a king," in personal names, e.g. Vircingetorix; Goth. reiks "a leader;" O.E. rice "kingdom," -ric "king," rice "rich, powerful," riht "correct;" Goth. raihts, O.H.G. recht, O.Swed. reht, O.N. rettr "correct").

Interesting connection to the word "regal" -- if we think in terms of the kingdom/reign...

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."