Monday, April 6, 2009

Mud isn't nice

Over the weekend, our visitor, Pietro Rossotti came with two friends, Santi Ramos and Amy Sapenoff. Pietro gave a presentation on our School of Community book, Is It Possible to Live This Way? Volume 2 Hope. Next year, Pietro will be ordained in the Fraternity of Saint Charles Borromeo.

Pietro's presentation was useful because in it he told us about his experience of meeting the Movement, an encounter that led him, eventually, to the seminary. While he was in college, studying philosophy, he met another student named Manuel, who invited him to go out for beer. As they were speaking, Pietro described his love for philosophy. Manuel said to him, "You are trying to make sense of reality, but it's the opposite. You have to be in wonder in front of reality." Then he told us that hope is born from being open and being with somebody else.

It is so difficult to speak about these things that happen! Who am I that these friends should come into my life? Because during this weekend, by chance, another person from the Movement came to visit her daughters. Before this weekend, we had only exchanged a few sentences at the National Diakonia. But during this week, she has been staying with us, and her witness at School of Community and in the many beautiful conversations we've had, has been an anchor and a light to me. So, Elizabeth has shared all the time we had with Pietro, Santi, and Amy; and the experience was richer (even richer!).

What I am struck by, yet again, is that CL is not a club, and it isn't a place where we huddle so that we can then deal with reality. It is a breath of life, an unfolding beauty that we observe in awe. Christ truly embraces everything.

And I am grateful for the trials that God has given me. I am so very grateful because without them, I would never have moved. I would be stuck, like a dumb ox in mud, thinking the mud was nice.

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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."