Saturday, November 22, 2008

Charity or Violence?

“Understanding the reasons for hard work is the utmost thing in life, because death is the biggest objection to life, and life’s hard times are the biggest objection to living; the biggest objection to joy is sacrifice… The biggest sacrifice is death (Father Giussani).”


What kind of society calls life “hell” and death a “liberation”? Where can our reason gone crazy originate from, a reason that can turn upside down good and evil and, so, to give things their real name?

The announced suspension of Eluana’s artificial feeding is homicide. It’s all the more serious because this would prevent someone from doing charitable work. There are people who have been taking care of her and are willing to continue to do so.

In the long history of medicine the most fruitful progress occurred exactly with the beginning of assistance to the “incurable” in the Christian age. They used to be excluded from the community of “healthy” people. They used to be left dying outside the city walls or eliminated. Whoever may have taken care of them would have put their own life to risk. This is why those who began to take care of incurable people did so for a reason that was more powerful than life itself. It was a passion for the destiny of the other man, for its infinite value because it was the image of God creator.

So the case of Eluana puts us in front of the first evidence that emerges in our life: we do not make ourselves. We are made, we are wanted by Another. We are saved from our nothingness by Someone who loves us and has told us: “Even the hair on your head is counted”. Rejecting this evidence means, sooner or later, rejecting reality. Even when this reality has the face of the people we love.

This is why recognizing the One Who is giving us the gift of the presence of Eluana is not something “spiritual” just added on for those who have faith. It is a need for all those who, having been given a reason, seek for a meaning. Failing to recognize this, makes it impossible to embrace Eluana and live the sacrifice to stay on her side; in fact it provides the possibility to kill her, and to mistake this gesture for love.

Christianity originates exactly from a passion for man. God became man to meet the need of all men, believers and non believers, to understand the meaning of life and death. Christ had pity on our nothingness, and gave His own life to affirm the infinite value of each of us, in whatever condition.

We need Him to be ourselves. We also need to be educated to recognize Him, to be able to live.

November 2008
Communion and Liberation

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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."