Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Explain the change, the difference between..."

The fact that time passes is a good indication that it does not belong to us, we cannot hold it, it forces us to relinquish. I have been fascinated by the very concrete, real, and yet elusive nature of time since first immersing myself in Heidegger's Being & Time. I like very much when Giussani said "time [is] a mobilization of everything, of all that we see, of all that we feel" ( Is It Possible to Live This Way?, vol. 2, pg 124- see also U2's Leave it Behind).

"All that we see, all that we feel is the object or subject of a mobility," an inevitable movement forward, which we cannot halt, "that passes and filters everything - mountains, stars, faces - through something within us, awareness of destiny and freedom: now it becomes a mobilization, awareness of past time that becomes awareness of time that passes" (ibid).

On what I think is their best album, Life's Rich Pageant, REM recorded their song I Believe, the first verse of which begins with these words: "When I was young and full of grace", before moving on to the second:

"I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract
Explain the change, the difference between
What you want and what you need, there's the key,
Your adventure for today, what do you do
Between the horns of the day?"

So, time is as good an indication as any for which we could ask that we do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Another, which, Don Gius observed, is "strange in itself, enigmatic, mysterious; we are used to calling it God, but we can't even call it God, we don't have the right to call it God if we don't perceive it in its elusive mystery" (Is It Possible, vol. 2, pgs. 126-7). In other words, faith is neither pragmatism nor day-dreaming, but an honest facing of reality, of the reality of my life in its elusive mystery, or, recognizing that I am a direct relationship with the Mystery, which, despite being direct, is somewhat elusive. The elusive nature of my being is what makes it necessary for me to recognize it. It is this reality that makes faith, as Cardinal Martini observed, "living the dialectical tension between the seen and the unseen." This tension flows from the kind of being I am. This is also why it is recognition of the what of my being that makes me a who, an I.

Because hope, which is certainty about the future, is borne from faith, I must engage reality according to the totality of its factors. If I do not, then I can't have hope, which is a certainty and not a mere wish. In other words, faith does not render what I do in the time of my life, which is given to me, irrelevant, it is precisely what makes what I do relevant, giving it meaning and value.

Veni Sancti Spiritus, veni per Mariam.

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