Thursday, February 7, 2008

A friend, that is, a witness, not a mediator

Caravaggio, The Call of St. Matthew, 1599-1602
I was struck full force this morning by the words of Fr. Carron from the end of his synthesis of Friends, That is, Witnesses, the International Responsibles' Assembly, especially given the newness of our SLC School of Community and our meeting last evening:

"We do not accompany people by managing them, like 'mediators' in their relationship with the Mystery. A 'mediator' wants to spare you the dizziness that the Mystery produces ('I'll see to it.' 'No thanks.') He thinks he has a direct line to the Mystery, that he knows what the Mystery wants from you. No! The 'I' is direct relationship with the Mystery. What Fr. Giussani says seems little, but is crucial. A mediator thinks he knows what the Mystery has in store for you, but someone who would spare you the Mystery is cheating you-it is an attempt at possession. There is only one mediator: Christ. What is the meaning of Christ as a figure? Christ is the mediator because He lived in the first person His relationship with the Mystery, with the Father, and when someone tried to draw Him away from this, like Peter, He sent them to blazes: 'Go away from me' (Matt. 16,23; Mk 8,33). Christ generated disciples not because He explained things to them, but because He lived His unique, personal relationship with the Mystery in the first person, up to the Cross, up to the last instant. His problem was not to organize the Church, but to live the Father's will, and in this way he generated the Church, He generated the people, He generates us.

"Our problem is not the management or the organization of our people, my problem and your problem is to live!"
(pg. 77)

True living is religious living and, according to Fr. Carron, "is the only thing that generates true friendship, because friendship is going together toward destiny, going together toward the Mystery. This is the only true friendship, the only one that lasts; the rest are relationships of convenience. All other types of relationship, apart from this, are political. We have to decide whether we want to establish political relationships of convenience, or to be true friends. Do we want to play games with each other, or accompany each other to destiny?" (pgs. 78-9)

Our SLC School of Community, our gathering of friends, will occur again on Friday, 15 February. We will first walk the Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral, which begins after Vespers, around 6:10 PM, then we will gather in the Our Lady of Zion chapel to recite the Angelus before moving to our gathering place where we will conclude our discussion, our learning from, our illumination by the Holy Father's encyclical Spe Salvi. After the Holy Father's encyclical we will read Fr. Carron's presentation of Giussani's book Is It Possible To Live Like This? before moving to the book itself.

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