Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eleventh hour thoughts on judgment

My School of Community will meet tomorrow morning, and in light of the text of the talks given at the International Responsibles Meeting in La Thuile, which took place at the end of August, "Experience: The Instrument for a Human Journey," as well as the presentation given by Fr. Julián Carrón for Beginning Day this year, I am feeling some urgency to have these lessons very clear and very simple in my mind. I would welcome any comments or corrections to this attempt.

What we do in School of Community each week is called judgment. We compare our experience with the text that we are reading. Ordinarily in the Movement, we refer to judgment as a comparison of our experience with our elementary human needs (heart): for Truth, Beauty, Love, Satisfaction, Justice, etc. Given, though, that everyone is confused about what precisely constitutes his heart or her needs, we have a tool to help guide us as we learn this method; the tool is the text we read together. How can our weekly texts, which are after all an objective reality, be conflated with our heart, which is so personal and intimate? Though it is true that the heart is personal and intimate, it is also true that the heart is not subjective. The heart, the true heart of a person will argue with him or her; so much so that should I get a thing that I believe my heart desires, my heart will rebel and put me into a dark funk.

The texts we read in School of Community each constitute a view onto the true Source of satisfaction: Christ or life in Christ. Each week we read of another facet, which together with the others allows a glimpse of the whole Jewel, that is: God made man. Let's take a recent example: the text on poverty was a description of life that is lived as though totally aware of the Presence of the Mystery in the flesh. And after reading a piece of it, we compared our lives to this description of Christian poverty in order to have an objective record of that heart within us that is made precisely to want the Infinite companion, Emmanuel. So, judgment isn't something new, a description of a new burden that the Movement wishes to place upon us. Fr. Carrón's passionate insistence on judgment is simply a call for us to live more truly and fully our experience of the Movement.

Now, School of Community meets for an hour per week, and we could theoretically live, only making these sorts of comparisons between our lives and the Mystery of God during that one hour out of 168 in a week. But if we find it beautiful to live this way, to approach our lives as we do during School of Community, the Movement invites us to live with this sort of awareness in every hour of the week (at least during the ones in which we're awake). We can use the pages for any given week, and each day we can compare our lives, the experience that we have, to the objective criterion that is given in the text. In this way, life can be beautiful all the time. In time, one begins to recognize when life has zest and gusto and when it is flat and flavorless. The great adventure of Communion and Liberation -- the risk we in the Movement take and the wager we make -- is based on the proposal that when one lives with this on-going comparison, or judgment, life does indeed have zest and gusto. Thus, to have a zestful life rather than a flavorless one does not depend on what happens, on the circumstances we face, but rather fullness of life comes to us through the circumstances (we neither rely on what happens to make us happy, nor ignore what happens in order to find happiness "elsewhere"). Rather, the key is to face everything that happens while making the comparison between the Church's proposal of life in Christ and life itself.


1 comment:

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

I would not change a thing! I e-mailed this link to our SofC in light of our discussion this evening. I appreciate the clarification.

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."