Sunday, June 1, 2008

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

Beware! The following consists of notes taken during the Spiritual Exercises of Communion and Liberation by a woman with a serious case of writer's cramp.

Saturday Afternoon

  • Living in Faith
  • 1) Those who believe have eternal life.
  • Our person, what does it lean upon?
  • On what does it stand?
  • Is the Christian faith for us today the hope that transforms and sustains our life?
  • [What takes place during the Rite of Baptism?] What name do you give your child? What do you ask of the Church? Faith. What does Faith give you? Eternal Life.
  • Communion with believers -- faith is the key to Eternal Life.
  • Baptism is not an act of socialization or welcoming.
  • Faith, which includes the bodily reality of the Church give [the child] the gift of Life, eternal Life.
  • Indeed Baptism is the Sacrament of Faith.
  • Sacramental entry into the life of faith.
  • That faith may bring us life.
  • The only thing that makes faith reasonable -- this life reaches us in Baptism.
  • Nothing is more extraneous in the hierarchy of esteem and [...] of our life -- buried under a thick layer of dirt or inside a grave of forgetfulness and ignorance.
  • What reawakened in us the faith in Baptism.
  • One begins to understand in the encounter with a mature and living faith.
  • How does faith grow and develop? By belonging to the Church. This is how Baptism incorporates us into one Body in Christ.
  • There is only one person in Christ.
  • It is in the Body of Christ that the novelty of Christ is communicated.
  • The Church is the method through which Christ communicates himself in time and space.
  • If he were not present, he would be distant and subjected to our interpretation.
  • Christ is interesting for life. The Movement was this living Christian companionship.
  • On many occasions that beginning comes to an end -- over time, everything becomes flat again.
  • Imagine a house of Memores Domini -- an evening, beautiful, songs companionship and fraternity and community, a truly beautiful evening, and still if one could make a list -- if something were taken for granted -- if we don't feel the urgency to hear him. If Christ didn't have an autonomous personality, he would lose that unmistakable, ultimate singularity.
  • If Christ is not spoken, present, acknowledged, [...], all of this [the beautiful Memores Domini evening] is not enough.
  • A whole world of gladness, music, but if Jesus isn't a living acknowledged, singular presence, Christ could become the portrait on a tomb.
  • The wonder, gratitude and joy truly spontaneous -- a friend with simple familiarity. But we had never said, "You." Nobody felt the need to say his name.
  • Glad faces should be the sign, but we stop there, we remain in the sign.
  • The presence of Christ is our companionship.
  • To cry out your name O Christ -- thank you for having made yourself seen and for sitting down here.
  • We lack that maddened tension to cry out your name O Christ.
  • [If someone receives flowers, she thinks also of the one who gave the flowers...] Only someone who didn't understand the true meaning of the flowers [...] if the flowers are not the occasion to awaken the memory of Him.
  • The companionship has become the true replacement for Christ and thus it ends.
  • [Our obedience to Christ] has become obedience to the organization.
  • [Instead of seeing Him...] He, inside those faces.
  • All those evenings, and we can come home without having recognized him.
  • SPIRITUAL EXHORTATION VS THE CONCRETE
  • It is our attempt to reduce the Church to an organization -- like the disciples tried to reduce him to their schemes.
  • There are 2 temptations:
  • 1) Conceiving of Christ without the Church, sending Christ outside of reality and reducing him to our interpretation and measures.
  • 2) [Conceiving of] the Church without Christ. Not as the Body of Christ but as the substitution for Christ.
  • But the Church can only magnetize us if it fulfills its mission to be the moon [St. Ambrose: the moon does not generate light, only reflects the light of another].
  • Companionship is not made by us. It is willed and made solid by Another. "Communion" -- members of Christ and of one another.
  • Our only hope is that we don't succeed in our attempt to reduce the Church.
  • What prevents us from reducing the Church to our measure.
  • Events and people that refer directly to him.
  • Miracle forces you to think of God.
  • We cannot reduce it to our measure.
  • Saints. Stature worthy of the truest desires of the human heart. He is a presence that can be seen through the humanity of the saints/witnesses/those who prevent us from reducing Christ to our measure.
  • Catalogue of people and events -- not an abstract Christ at all -- through his presence, he becomes a reality and a presence. Anything but abstract.
  • How does anyone see it? One sees it because of our resistance -- one resists something real.
  • It's his irreducibility that saves us -- if our attempt were to succeed and once reduced to what I want...
  • Convocatio before being congregatio -- chosen, magnetically attracted.
  • This is where our freedom comes into play.
  • [We want to] unload the gift of freedom (Dostoevsky).
  • Our responsibility cannot be unloaded on the companionship.
  • Life is a relationship with him who is life itself.
  • Faith is this relationship with a You, with him.
  • You -- is like an inexhaustible stream of fresh water.
  • This is the source of that fresh, clear water that never ends.
  • This is eternal life -- that they know You and Christ whom you have sent.
  • Without him the beginning ceases and everything rots.
  • [He] feels the need for the companionship as a crutch for his own insecurity.
  • The affection that principally sustains him, the proof that faith introduces us to truth is satisfaction.
  • Can sustain my whole life.
  • Life consists in what principally sustains it in affection.
  • Whether or not faith gives us the substance of life, shareers in a fullness of life.
  • We don't see, but it exists.
  • 2) Awareness is a new affection
  • It is from this life that a new awareness and a new affection are born.
  • New creature? Where is the newness?
  • We speak about a newness one experiences in life.
  • New gaze, new intelligence in front of reality.
  • Different intelligence and a new heart.
  • Surprising and startling way of living ordinary things.
  • It is necessary to say yes.
  • A detail in history -- but has a universal claim.
  • I don't define the event, it defines me.
  • This is why a comparison with everything
  • Not from analytical deduction but from an event, not born from me but from what I encounter.
  • Not my application but out of obedience to that event that is the source of everything new.
  • [must be] contemporaneous with the event.
  • Origin is not an idea, it is a place, a living reality.
  • In a continuous way [...] it prolongs the initial event in history.
  • JUDGMENT
  • Origin of a new judgment
  • reduction to a discourse, imposed by me [that is to say, if I reduce Christ to a discourse that I myself impose, it is like substituting a theory about love for my beloved]
  • Theory about love would suffice in place of my beloved.
  • [...] A permanently open judgment without prejudices is impossible for man under his strength alone.
  • To acquire this, it requires work. [...] Making a comparison with present events -- it judges the present.
  • To not make a judgment is to deaden the faith.
  • Faith grows by risking it in reality.
  • LEARNING A GAZE:
  • NOT learning a discourse. How learn?
  • It is about staying in front of the encountered event.
  • Precedence given to the event, to what happened, what He does.
  • [not a] preoccupation of asserting one's likes and wants.
  • Loyalty and openness of the event and not giving into the criteria of the world.
  • We need only let him enter.
  • The historical density -- [not] reducing it to a moralism.
  • THE TASK OF LIFE
  • To us was given the grace to believe.
  • Witness -- provocation to mission -- mission cannot be anything other than an awareness of who Christ is.
  • What does it matter if the whole world joins CL and I lose myself?

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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."