Friday, February 29, 2008

Freedom and acceptance


In a structurally dependent being, as is the human person, freedom always begins specifically as acceptance. The more one knows how to accept, the more active one becomes.
Christ would draw the comparison between the vine and the branches -- the only life that feeds many lives. We can apply this comparison to every true community: the life that keeps everyone together is the power of my freedom that opens itself and gives itself to others.
The greatness of human freedom is such that it will not rest if not in a community of all, a "catholic" community.
One thing best demonstrates how much the community affirms the freedom of the person: it is realized even if others do not acknowledge me, even if they refuse me. If I want them, if I accept them nonetheless, then there is a more conscious, vigorous, and thus ever truer communion with them.
For this reason, no sign of personal greatness is more sublime than forgiveness. Freedom seizes in love even one who hates; not even the most dogged enemy can elude my love, and thus my freedom seizes him and dominates him much more deeply than he can violate and conquer me.
'Forgive them Father': abandoned by everyone, Christ created the universal community... (Luigi Giussani, The Journey to Truth is an Experience, page 26).
The above passage has been a great prayer of mine, lately. I want the kind of freedom that will allow me to make every moment of my life a gift. I want to belong to the whole world.

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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."