Monday, November 16, 2009

The anger and irritation were extraneous distractions.

Speaker: During the past holidays of All Saints and All Souls, I thought of my sister who died three
years ago and the fact that I haven’t visited the cemetery in three years. A friend who
knows about this called me and said: “I went to the cemetery to visit my mother-in-law,
which I had never done before, and you have to go too”. Just the fact that someone was
telling me “you have to” started to irritate me, I felt it was an imposition. Furthermore
this makes me particularly angry because … the idea that I might miss my sister…….She
got on my nerves and I put the phone down saying: “You mind your problems and I will
mind mine!”. Instead, mysteriously, this incident worked on me, and while I was going
through the day I realized that I wanted to understand why this friend spoke to me like
that. I started to desire to follow the journey to the end, that journey that lets me look at
my sister saying: “It is my sister!”, and recall her in my memory as mine. This struck me
deeply, because I couldn’t even think of her any more as my sister, as a person,
something belonging to me, with her own face but deeply connected to me. Then
something that was said at the last School of Community came to my mind, that judgment
and so affection are not detached from reason, the fact that when this moves you, it is not
a judgment tacked on. I started to desire. Maybe also the love of this friend for me [that
she expressed in what she said to me] mysteriously worked. At the end I did not go to the
cemetery [I went only to Mass] because it’s still hard for me. But it is really mysterious
how the love she witnessed to me generated this desire I did not have, and this anger
slowly became desire to follow the journey to the end, without fear of asking myself the
question. And it is so true that my younger son, since I had been sad for a few days,
noticed the difference and said: ”Mom, today you look happy”. This erased any doubt
about the truth of my experience, there was no possibility for ambiguity.

Fr Julián Carrón: What is your judgment of this?

Speaker: My unexpected change, unthinkable for me, that from this anger a new desire could be

Fr Julián Carrón: From this anger a desire was born? I want to understand this: the desire was born from
your anger?

Speaker: No, it was born from the fact that I listened to a person.

Fr Julián Carrón: What was it born from? Because, this is the important point. You used the word “love”.

Speaker: Yes.

Fr Julián Carrón: Love, a good, which means a grace, which means a Presence that was not scared in front
of the cemetery. You can see what this Presence is because of what it moved in you.
What does it mean? If you start from this desire that was re-awakened, from this
happiness that even your son recognized, what does emerge? Which Presence is able to
do this? We do not realize it even when it happens! You see how many times we think of
the two things as separate, grace on one side and freedom on the other [or, the presence
of Christ on one side, and then my move on the other]. But where do you see the power
of what happened in what you recounted? That something moved inside you, it shows
that it is exceptional because it moves you, it grabs and exalts your “I”. Only Christ’s
contemporaneousness can move to the point of being able to face death. But how did this
happen? How does it happen? It happens exactly because of what is described in point 5
in the La Thuile Booklet, “The Triple Factor of Christian Experience”.

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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."