Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shouting and other expressions of love

Fr. Rich, a friend of mine and the author of some of the most beautiful songs (Nazareth Morning, The Things That I See, New Creation, You, My Father Sings To Me, etc.) that have been born out of the charism of Communion and Liberation, once told a story about his first conversation with Don Giussani, when he went to visit him in Italy. Somehow the conversation turned to the work that Fr. Rich was doing with the teens in GS. He was collaborating closely with another friend, Chris. He told Fr. Giussani that he was constantly on the verge of quitting his work with GS because Chris was always shouting at him, and he couldn't stand to be shouted at.

Fr. Giussani asked Fr. Rich why Chris shouted.

"He only shouts at people he loves," said Fr. Rich.

"Well, then?" said Don Gius, with a shrug.

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."