Sunday, August 30, 2009

Father Carron on St. Paul/ At the Meeting


Priest Urges Participation in Christ

Communion and Liberation President Speaks to Rimini Crowds


RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- St. Paul shows us that a real experience of Christ is needed, beyond mere knowledge, for true conversion, said the president of the lay movement, Communion and Liberation.

Father Julián Carrón affirmed this Tuesday to an audience of 20,000 gathered in Rimini for the 30th Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples sponsored by the movement.

The conference, which started Sunday and will run through Saturday, is centered around the theme: "Knowledge Is Always an Event."

Father Carrón's conference on "Event and Knowledge in St. Paul" recalled the life of Saul of Tarsus before his conversion, the change effected in him by his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, and how this encounter transformed his way of relating to reality.

The priest affirmed that for Paul "in the experience of the encounter with the Risen One, the reality of Christ becomes transparent."

He added, "In no other moment of his life were Paul's reason and freedom challenged as they were by this event."

"St. Paul's experience reveals the condition to know Christ: participation in the event which is made present in human experience," Father Carrón explained.

In this sense, he continued, Paul's case "is proof that knowledge is always an event."

Beyond reason

The priest added, "His encounter with Christ dilates his reason, called to recognize the novelty before it, as occurred with the disciples."

The movement's president stated: "Christian event and reason are not in opposition in knowledge.

"On the contrary, the Christian event frees reason from the limits to which it is normally conformed, restores its more specific dynamism: to be open to understanding the totality of reality in its radical novelty, as presence of God among men.

"The Christian event leads reason freely beyond what it could attain with its own strength."

He explained that the Apostle to the Gentiles invites us to submit reason to the lived experience so that reason will not become the criterion of judgment without experience.

The priest stated that "Paul's case is paradigmatic for any moment of history as for him, and for all men, the event of Christ remains contemporary in the life of the Church, in their historical and cultural circumstances, enabling them to live the same experience that consists in having the certainty of what is proclaimed."

Father Carrón concluded, "The only way to grow in knowledge of Christ is to accept now the participation in the event of Christ, in the power of his resurrection and in communion with his sufferings."

The priest's audience included Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Bishop Alfonso Carrasco Rouco of Lugo, Spain, Bishop Jesús Sanz Montes of Jaca, Spain, and several Italian government ministers.

- Published in Zenit, here

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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."