Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Verifying Christ

I am back home after spending a wonderful weekend with many companions in and around New York. In addition to gleaning much for myself and for our School of Community here in Utah, I have a lot to share over the coming week or so. This morning I just have one thing from my experience this weekend. Those of us who belong to Communion & Liberation, the so-called celini, like all groups, have our own special language, celini- speak, which I have taken to calling celinese. Like all such phenomena, this is helpful and hurtful, useful and useless, depending on when we lapse into it. When we use it to discourse or to make our experiences abstract it is an abuse. The worst thing is to use it to reduce and categorize the experiences of others. Conversely, when we use it as method of verifying and explaining our experience, especially among others who share Don Gius' charism by applying his method to life, it is useful and even inspiring. Celinese arises from the teachings of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, whose name I pronounce with all the laziness of an anglophone person from the Western U.S.

There are some celinese locutions that I love and others that grate on me. There are two phrases that I love because they express well and succinctly the existential position in which I often find myself with regard to my circumstances. The two phrases are interrogatives: How do I stand in front of this? and How do I face this? What I love about these questions is that they explicitly accept that we must face reality, stand in front of reality. By asking them we embrace the truth that every circumstance is an opportunity and very often, as Fr. Carrón says, a challenge, to verify Christ. If we stand in front of reality without Christ behind us we will be run over by something more powerful than a New York subway train, certainly by forces more powerful than ourselves. So, what must be verified is that Christ, who is always already present (i.e., He is the "Something that comes before"- the theme of our Diakonia), is met in reality and not through some kind of mystical incantation. We stand in front of reality as we experience it, as we face it in its entirety, as Msgr. Albacete says, "nothing is excluded".


  1. There is no need to be sorry, Suzanne. I used to get into trouble in both Latin and French for the same thing. Honestly, it is something I don't care at all about. I think it is funny.

  2. Oh, okay -- good. I'm so happy I was able to see so much of you.

  3. Likewise. Mostly people are relieved when I'm gone.

  4. Something that's funny is that Fr. Giussani used words common to the modern world, as does Pope Benedict XVI. "Verification" is a good example of a really fine secular word. And yet it's true that CL-ers oft adopt a discourse early on - and this is something that Frs. Giussani and Carron have continually criticized.

  5. This whole issue came up in the first assembly Saturday morning. I am always more interested in listening to people talk about their experiences in their own words. I think the synthesis at the end of School of Community is good for making connections with what Giussani said, but in a way that does not shrink what has been shared, but hopefully expands it and shows that, indeed, Christ is present to us in very circumstance and living this reality, while challenging, is what satisfies us.

    Of course, I fail at this often.


God's love for us is tireless

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