Saturday, June 7, 2014

Solidly Focused on the Essential

Giotto, Adoration of the Magi, Scrovegni Chapel

The Pope also clearly identified the method: going back to the essential. Going “towards the outskirts of existence,” he writes, “requires a shared commitment […] which brings us back to the essential and which is solidly focused on the essential; that is, on Jesus Christ. To get diverted by many secondary or superfluous things does not help; what helps is to focus on the fundamental reality, which is the encounter with Christ, with His mercy and with His love, and to love our brothers and sisters as He has loved us.” This “urges us to take new paths with courage without becoming fossils! We might ask ourselves: what is the pastoral plan of our dioceses or parishes like? Does it make the essential visible, namely Jesus Christ?”
In the letter after the audience, I wrote: “I ask you to embrace Pope Francis’ question as directed at us–particularly at us, who were born only for this, as all of Fr. Giussani’s life witnesses. Does each of us, each community of our Movement, ‘make visible the essential, that is, Jesus Christ’?”
In the face of the historical circumstances through which the Mystery has challenged each of us, have we made visible the essential, or have we been diverted by many secondary and superfluous things?  Pope Francis quoted in the Spiritual Exercises of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, Fr. Julián Carrón

How can I know if I've made the essential visible? Having read ahead, I know that Carrón is going to get to that question and answer it, but right now I only want to meditate on these particular words. What is the most valuable, the most precious, the most fascinating thing in my life? Christ's presence or something else? Let us all love what is most essential. Help me, today, only to want and to adore You.

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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."