Sunday, November 1, 2009

Something new this morning

For over twenty years, the dominant thought/feeling I have had on waking in the morning is of amazed gratitude: How is it that you have preserved me in life, O Lord? This beauty that I am given to participate in seems completely disproportionate to all my weakness and evil. Please make me worthy to face it and to receive it. It makes me tremble a little to admit to this in public -- it sounds like a boast; but what's to be done -- it's the truth.

But this morning, I had an entirely new feeling, one that expressed itself in these words: Okay God, give it to me! And it's easier to admit to it because it seems so, well, rude and impious and presumptuous of me to speak in such a way to God and to have such an attitude in front of the Almighty! But I trust God understands that these words were accompanied by a great spirit of adventure and curiosity and even submission to God's prerogative to choose precisely what "it" will be during this day. And this sense of adventure and curiosity and desire to follow were not something I chose to attempt. Isn't it great to be alive?!

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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."