Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hope can only be borne through experience

"Whatever the crisis the first question that arises is: 'Who are you,'" observed Bernard Scholz, President of the Companionship of Works Association (Traces, No. 1 2009, page 1). Everything that happens to us is full of meaning because the human person is a direct relationship with the Mystery and even "the hairs of your head are all numbered" (Luke 12:7). "Experience is the place where this is tested" (ibid). Hence, "a person is truly competent if he can face up to life, if he witnesses to a more human way of facing up to tough situations" (ibid). These words are hopeful, as opposed to optimistic, because they are difficult and cause us to doubt ourselves, to doubt that we are truly competent. Stated simply, on our own we are not. We need Christ and we need each other. We need companions.

Hope is a difficult concept. It is an even more difficult object. In order for it to become concrete we have to, as Giussani urged, "look it in the face," continually. What does it mean to look it in the face continually in order for it to become, not merely comprehensible to my intellect, but concrete? It means asking another to "explain this to me. Re-explain this thing. What does this thing mean for you? Why is this thing concrete? For example, now, why is it concrete" (Is It Possible?, vol. 2, pg. 68)? This is the purpose of School of Community. It is the place where we share our experiences in order to help each other. As companions we share with each other our daily bread and help each other to become truly competent.

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