Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'll never get tired of thinking about mercy

“Mercy Always Explains to Me Everything that Happens”

Notes from Father Giussani’s greetings at the close of the Meeting in Rimini.
August 25, 2001

I wanted to make an appearance at this your and our great meeting, so as to deaden a bit my suffering and melancholy at not being able to attend. What I have seen in these rather burdensome months is that Jesus is truly the Lord of the person who follows Him, my Lord.

St Peter, St John, and St Andrew, two thousand years ago, going home to their wives and families, sometimes would say, “That man there, that person I am following is my Lord.” In the same way, in all these months You have mortified me so that I might make the word “my Jesus,” “my Lord” become ever more true. Because if the Lord were not mine, then He would no longer be anyone’s.

This remembrance has made me go back and think about again, look again at a formula that the children of Fatima have asked of us in our Rosaries. “O my Jesus,” says their prayer, “my Jesus, forgive us our sins.” In other words, those children were aware–to the point that God enlightened them–of the mortal situation in which humanity lies. And all our hopes broken and all our expectations, legitimate and just, but dashed. Man’s earth is an earth of persons who, if they looked at all the days of their lives, should feel crushed by their sins, by the burning of the things they have done during the day. My sins; because sin–as the person who spoke to you a while ago said–sin is not using truly the things that happen, not using them according to the truth of what happens. Now, Christ risen from the dead happens every minute of our lives. There is no emptiness for those who truly understand what God wants from them.

“Forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell.” The problem of our lives is that the malice of this sin, of this falsehood, of this grabbing things not in accordance with their nature, are the attitudes thrown into the plethora of commonplaces. The De Profundis expresses it well: who can stand before You, o Lord, who can resist in front of Your face, under the burden of our sins, under the weight of this inability or impossibility of man to make himself worthy to put forth an effort of dignity in the face of God? If You look at man, another Psalm says, there is no moment that can be saved, no man is serene, can be serene, grow serene again.

“Save us from the fire of hell”–in other words, may our lives not be lived according to the sadness that sin brings forth. Sin is the cause of the imprudence or incapacity to be ever more true, more adherent to the nature of the act which God gives us. Because the act comes to us from God, strength comes to us from the Spirit. But if He is not invoked and welcomed, the Spirit cannot give us this strength.

“Save us from the fire of hell, take all souls to heaven, especially those who most need Your mercy.” In this ejaculatory, in this final phrase of every part, every decade of the Rosary, all of Christian reality is fulfilled.

“Save us from the fire of hell, take all souls to heaven, especially those who most need Your mercy.” But who are the souls who most need His mercy? Those who are far away from Christ, who are most painfully and always present to evil. The strain of the Psalms that cry out anguish and entreaty is precisely that of those who have erred; of those who do not love and fear God, do not love God, have not loved God, not feared God.

Mercy is the greatest word that can be said, and while I recite the Rosary, this word–mercy–is always close to me, always explains to me everything that is happening.

I did not want to say these things, but just to say, “Hi, greetings, goodbye!” And instead, when Christ has taken hold a bit of our consciousness and our mind, there is always everything to be said again, there is always everything to be discovered again. I wanted simply to recommend to you the use of an ejaculatory that in these months has done me good.

I greet you all; best wishes to all of you, may your days be filled with right pleasures, right actions, not burdensome ones. Forgive me if I have kept you here so many minutes longer, after everything was over. I shall tell you immediately the ejaculatory prayer that has done me the most good in these months: Veni Sancte Spiritus. Veni per Mariam. Come Holy Spirit, because it is the Spirit who keeps things alive, who gives life to things. Things, in thought and in fact, are organized and brought together in the word Mary. The word Mary represents all this. My wish for you is that you may always say sincerely, “Come Holy Spirit,” because the spirit of the world cannot make you ask this. Veni Sancte Spiritus. Veni per Mariam. I say to you, “Ciao,” with this memory pressing in on me. Ciao! I am not in my best voice, but I hope to get it back.

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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."