Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ambiguous times

It is a great thing when life, in all its confusion and muddle, offers something that exactly describes what I'm experiencing. Today, while reading Is It Possible to Live This Way? Volume 2 Hope, by Father Giussani, I came across the following passage:

...certainty of faith generates certainty of hope, but the manner in which this certainty of hope is drawn out in us leaves a kind of disorientation, leaves a kind of tribulation, a kind of doubt that isn't doubt, that is uncertainty, because you aren't able to imagine, to delinate in any way what this future will be like (page 28).
A dear friend posted about a recent period of "silence" (I feel I must use these quotation marks, given all the words that have been generated in her during this period!). She describes: "this time has been one of silence and deep satisfaction. I can date it precisely from the week that I spent in Rimini last summer. It's the reason I stay in the movement, because I can correlate the happiness in my life to events, like the Advent Retreat I will attend today. Fortunately, I have a camera, so I can still express what I often can't say." [She takes amazing photographs, by the way!]

My own silence has been of a different order -- more restless and perhaps related to what she calls "agitation." Perhaps the words that best sum up my last several months are: How long, Lord?

To know that this restlessness is not a sign of a lack of faith or hope is a great relief -- discovering the sentence in Hope was a sign of great mercy and tenderness toward me.

1 comment:

clairity said...

Thank you for this quote which is perfect for today, and for your reflection, which helps me to see this strange fullness or overflowing or superabundance as yes ... a great hope. Love you.

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."