Monday, May 30, 2011

Notes on the 2011 Fraternity Exercises

All of us in CL in the USA are waiting for the English-language transcript of the 2011 Fraternity Exercises to go on line so that we can read Father Carrón’s lessons verbatim. Meanwhile, those of us who attended the Exercises have to rely on our notes, and the best our CL mates can hope is that we transcribed these faithfully. The following is an edited version of my notes on the first part, or introduction, heard Friday evening. Our School of Community will be discussing these notes this week.

Father Carrón invited us to try to become one with the Apostles after Easter. What prevailed in their eyes was a living presence, not a doctrine, a list of things to do, or a feeling. The Resurrection filled them with an intensity that they could not generate themselves. They were known as The Living. Christ introduced to them the possibility of living at a level previously unknown. It was so real, yet so beyond any fantasy, that the only thing they could do was witness, communicating it through the radiance of their faces, the intensity of their gaze. “Were not our hearts burning within us...?” The Resurrection represents our fullness of awareness of ourselves as Christians. It is the keystone of the relationship between me and myself, me and other men, me and things.

But what an abysmal distance separates us from the experience the Apostles had! For us, the Resurrection is reduced to a rite. Father Giussani said that the Resurrection is the thing we flee from the most! We perceive it as an idea, an abstraction. We feel pain over this distance. What we await (need) is a fact, a fact that can be our own if we are willing to let ourselves be generated by the charism of the Movement, continuing the path marked out for us by Don Giussani.

This is why, in School of Community, we are insistent that Christ came to reawaken our religious sense. Only Christ can bring out the intensity of our I. It is customary to lay the blame on science for the present-day “defeat” of religion, but it would be more honest to blame religion, which has become “irrelevant, insipid.” Religion has become a product, a form of entertainment. Nietzsche’s diagnosis hit the mark: Christianity has lost its appeal.

Father Giussani was deeply persuaded that a faith that could not be confirmed in experience, a faith that was not useful, would not be a faith capable of holding up in a world that says the opposite. He said there were three keys to understanding faith:
  1. Faith is an experience in the present, not a formula.
  2. Faith must find a confirmation of its usefulness in life, in experience itself.
  3. Since everything in our world says the opposite, we have to take seriously the fight in which we are engaged!
Christians must render the Living God visible to the world! But do we open to men access to God, or do we hide it? Isn’t it possible that the West is simply bored/tired of faith?

So this must be our prayer: God, do not let us become like this! Make us recognize you again, so that we can witness your message with joy. Even in our time, there have been numerous examples of people witnessing in this way: Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II.... The Pope showed us that it is possible to live as Christians today. Don’t let the wormwood of routine, habit, oldness enter your experience of the charism (CL). Let us ask John Paul II and Father Giussani to make us open to the grace of Christ in order to become like them His witnesses! Because the risk is that even we become a “non-people,” like those around us!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I sow this Fraternity Exercises from Riga Latvia.
    And I`d like to ask you about Giussani and Dorothy Day. May be you know, what was Giussani`s opinion about Catholic Worker?
    sorry for my English. My native language is russian.

    ReplyDelete

If you have trouble posting comments, please log in as Anonymous and sign your comment manually.