Sunday, June 1, 2008

This is the Victory that Conquers the World, Our Faith (Part Two)

If you're waiting to receive the exercises directly from Father Carron, continue reading at your own peril!

Saturday Morning

  • Faith is a method of knowing
  • FIRST POINT: For most people, even for those who go to church, the relationship with the Divine -- as the origin and destiny of everything -- is mere words.
  • It's not just for a few people that the Mystery is far away.
  • There is a separation in us between reason and experience.
  • What does the Mystery do to help us overcome this separation?
  • Out of pity for each of us, he entered our history to make recognizing him easy
  • God has broken through this separation -- this gap between himself and man.
  • [to destroy the distance] between time and space, reality in so far as it can be touched, and God
  • The Mystery has broken through the distance set up by man ... God has demolished, has broken through the distance [at] which we would hold him.
  • How? By becoming flesh.
  • God entered the life of man as a man with a human form so that thought and all its ability to be imaginative [can be] magnetized by that hope that he generated in me one day.
  • The whole "I" magnetically attracted by him.
  • Here we see the importance of the method.
  • Precedence given to what he does.
  • He does not respond to our difficulty with an argument but a fact -- so attractive [that it] generates a hope.
  • What loyalty is needed to leave room each instant for this precedence ... since that day when he generates this hope.
  • Talking about faith as a method of knowing -- taking faith out of the realm of the sentimental and irrational and into reasonableness and cultural dignity.
  • What is the origin, starting point?
  • It would be enough to look at your experience -- what brought you here? What brought you to believe?
  • Encounter with an Event, a Person -- Christianity starts from a fact that has the form of an encounter.
  • Fact, objectivity that challenges the subjectivity of man.
  • Encounter with Something outside of me.
  • Faith is a human gesture and has to be born in a human way.
  • The way that faith is born [of reason is by] bearing within itself its consistency is the Event of an Encounter.
  • Not because of a vision; the encounter with an event [so exceptional] that it stopped us in our tracks, magnetized us. Nothing else corresponded, to all the urgent needs of my being.
  • Thus for us the Mystery is not something unknown. His incomprehensibility is not a negative but a positive characteristic of what is known.
  • Knowledge ... the Mystery overflowing in front of him [Christ].
  • So often [the words] burst out of them: "We've never seen anything like it."
  • Why do we perceive him as abstract, far away?
  • Separation of reason from experience.
  • [The healing of the 10 lepers] en were healed, only one came back. Only one understood what really happened. It's not that they didn't see the cure. [This isn't a lesson about manners!] They didn't understand, and they lost the best part. Only the Samaritan -- considered to be an outsider -- he's the one who doesn't take it for granted.
  • It's a problem of the use of reason in front of what we see.
  • We reduce what we see and block the provocation to the heart.
  • The problem is not with what we don't see but with what we do see. Which obliges us to broaden reason.
  • To let us be drawn by the good Presence that has entered our life.
  • Who accepts this challenge?
  • What allows us to know without imposing our measure?
  • Christianity poses a big inconvenience. It requires men -- that level of nature that possesses self-awareness.
  • Christianity has no other weapon than the human being who lives as such.
  • Desire -- the urgent needs of each man ensure a real faith -- the recognition of his presence.
  • Presence must coincide with desire. It is the only place where the truth of man is engaged.
  • Desire = poverty of heart/spirit.
  • Lack of humanity in understanding to the depth what happened in the encounter.
  • Show me the man in you, and I will show you my God.
  • What I can tell you is only in response to your humanity.
  • Nothing is less believable than the answer to a question that is not asked.
  • Delight in truth, beatitude, Justice, eternal life -- wholly attracted by him.
  • The cure -- is not enough for me -- what do I care about the cure without him?
  • Only one felt the urgency -- he understood that the most important thing was not the cure but that the cure happened through Him, and he needed Him.
  • Nothing that is less than He is enough for us.
  • A fact so exceptional that it magnetizes everything.
  • He continues to bear witness from a position borne of a mysterious origin -- like the Mama who can't get a smile from her child but who keeps smiling.
  • SECOND: The witness
  • The exceptionality of this Presence leads us to ask, "Who is this Man?"
  • If you ask this question then you know you can't explain -- this question bears witness to another -- just as Christ bears witness to the Father.
  • But who is this man?
  • In order to collaborate with the destiny of each man, he challenges them, he puts his works in front of them. "Believe the works..." that you can touch, look at, see, you can't shut down the game -- that you might know and understand.
  • Why was he not content that they wanted to make him king?
  • Do not labor for the food that perishes.
  • Faith is not something optional.
  • Jesus is not afraid of being left alone when the destiny of man is at stake. What passion for each of us. This freedom of Jesus is the strongest provocation to the freedom of Peter.
  • "If I don't believe you, I can't believe my own eyes."
  • Faith, arriving at faith is the only thing that stays interesting.
  • The witness doesn't only awaken the question but also the answer.
  • He is the only one able to give the answer to the question, "How?"
  • "I am the one sent by the Father, SENT by Another." Total Mystery of his person... Gospel of John.
  • I am not alone but I and the Father who sent me are one. Christ is the witness because he is the one sent by the Father.
  • The unique singularity of the witness of Christ.
  • He doesn't bring me the content of truth, as a Prophet, he is the truth. How do I know? He makes it present by communicating it so we can take it in.
  • Christ is the truth and communicates it by sharing himself.
  • I am more myself. he increases my being. He makes the wholeness of my being possible.
  • Sync ... the infinite urgent needs of my heart -- I am You who make me.
  • I am You who attract me because of the hope that draws me.
  • I, but no longer I -- the decision to adhere is one's own, one's own "I" is attracted by another.
  • Criterion of the heart and the witness walk together.
  • It's the heart that recognizes the witness, [recognizes] the truth, fullness, greater fullness
  • Judgment about credibility of the witness is made with reason. If I don't believe the witness, I can't believe my eyes.
  • This is how Jesus fulfills the reason why he came into history.
  • If we stop at any cure, sooner or later we become skeptics. Because it's not enough if I don't have You.
  • The one who believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me.
  • The Church is the witness of Christ, present and visible. The Church is committed to excluding any kind of self-reference. She refers to Christ.
  • The Church does not shine with her own light. She is like the moon.
  • This Church shows us through witnesses.
  • Giussani -- by leading people not to himself but the Christ. To draw them to Christ, he won hearts.
  • He puts me in front of witnesses so I don't stop.
  • LAST POINT: Recognition of the Mystery present.
  • There is something from our experience that comes from beyond it but it is within -- unforeseeable, not immediately visible -- with what instrument do we grasp this Mystery? Discovering that it is there...?
  • Faith is a method of knowing that is beyond the limit of reason.
  • Grasps the presence of Christ among us... because there is a factor -- from the results and reverberations of this companionship that are so exceptional.
  • An element within experience. There must be a capacity in me.
  • He makes me able to grasp -- so that my capacity may broaden.
  • Not to stop at sense experience but to recognize the one who is in experience.
  • What makes it easy to recognize something that exists but I cannot see?
  • There is a gap between my reason and my will to adhere [a gap which can only be overcome by] authority and companionship.
  • What's needed is a stronger power: the Risen Christ and his Spirit, who dominates, enters the world in Pentecost -- to make recognition easy. It's grace. It completes what the companionship and the great man cannot complete.
  • Faith flowers on the extreme boundary of reason where man adheres with his freedom [with the help of the Holy Spirit] to the full truth, full recognition of Christ.
  • Don Gius: Christ, this i s the name which indicates and defines a reality in my life...this word is rediscovered...because I learned to understand that he is the key point...Christ is the life of my life...
  • Christ, life of life, certainty of destiny, familiar companion...
  • Increase our faith.

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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."