Wednesday, July 23, 2008

School of Community

THE FIVE PASSAGES OF FAITH

First of all, faith is "an event" that takes "the form of an encounter".

Secondly, the "exceptionality of this encounter" consists in the reality, the existential fact, that it "is something that corresponds to the heart".

Third, "this exceptionality creates wonder". Wonder is the result of how overwhelming, almost heart-breaking, the encounter is. So, it is best expressed as a question, like "how can it be like this?"

Fourth, the question gets more specific because this exceptional encounter is not with something, but someone. So, "Who is this man?"

Fifth, comes your responsibility to act in light of the encounter that you have experienced. (Giussani, Is It Possible to Live This Way?: An Unusual Approach to Christian Existence, Vol. 1 pgs. 57-59).

My response, which is my experience:

My encounter with the Mystery corresponds to my heart because my I is already a direct relationship with the Mystery. Precisely because my act (i.e.,actus fidei) is my responsibility means that I am free. Freedom is a necessary condition to acting responsibly. Responsibility means that I am called on to answer, to respond. Isn't refusing to answer a response? Isn't choosing not to decide still making a choice?

In the encounter I was asked "What are you looking for?" It is a question that demands a response and not just a bunch of stammering (Jn 1,38). My first response was, I want to be happy. In time I realized that being happy means fulfilling my destiny, the end for which I was created! Now, discovering my identity, I realize that happiness consists of living the truth of who I am, which is the only authentic mode of existence for me. I have come to see that it is the correspondence of the event, which is an encounter with someone who is genuinely Other, that is, someone who is not me, with what is in me, that is, my heart, that reveals to me that I am a direct relationship with the Mystery. This fills me with wonder and, at the same time, shows me how I must live, though I remain free to live in another way, according to a different, albeit, inauthentic mode. Nonetheless, I find living authentically a great challenge and one that I am sometimes not up to and do not always feel like pursuing. Yet, because of my encounter I cannot live in any other way. I am free, but unable, to live another way because neither my inability nor my feelings change the fact of my encounter, it is real and so changes my life.

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