Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hope: By Way of Introduction

From the first two pages of Is It Possible to Live This Way? Volume 2 Hope, by Father Giussani:

This is an unusual book. It is a kind of "novel," as those who first read the proofs noted. In this work the discovery of life as "vocation" comes about not through deduction but through the evidence of an experience lived according to reason, within the same breath as Mystery.

It deals with the path that Father Luigi Giussani took throughout a year in dialogue with about one hundred young people who had decided to commit their lives to Christ through total dedication to the Mystery and to His destiny in history. The Church calls this life "virginity."

Week after week the principal contents of the Christian faith and the reasons that sustained them were approached through a proposal that emerged from the author's experience and from the passionate dynamic of questions and answers that was awakened in these young people. Thus they gradually became aware of their human experience and lived it in a more determined way.

The style of these weekly meetings has been faithfully maintained in the book as a testimony to a particular approach to the great human problem and to the mature conviction and affection that it can lead to.

The book is not meant to be a challenge to common sense or to be presumptuous. It began as a faithful transcription of meetings and dialogues. It is thus a test or, better yet, a witness to a way of conceiving of Christian faith as something interesting, as a destiny for life. It is transcribed word for word, in its material immediacy. In that sense the repetition of ideas and formulae is aimed at filling one's memory in such a way that it might retain something that will be understood over the years and whose reasons will gradually be grasped.

The book can be conceived of as an exemplary narrative where spontaneity, loyalty, and seriousness in the consideration of one's own existence are able to ascribe a suggestiveness to something that most people would censure or disdain because of an abstract fear.

No comments:

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."