Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"that you don't want to give up... and that you need to give up"

Giving up in order to possess is one of the paradoxes of Christian existence. It is perhaps best set forth by the Lord, when he says, "whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it" (Mark 8:35). I don't mind saying, without divulging more than one anyone would care to read, that I am presently passing through something of a difficult time, which is not the result of some tragic event, or unexpected setback in my life, but arises from desire. Desire always has an object, it matters a great deal what the object of my desire is because often it is imaginary and something about which I am easily deceived.

Reading, again, from Is It Possible to Live This Way, volume three, which is on charity, I came across something that struck me, hard, like a rock, or a board: When asked why, if "truth in a relationship coincides with maintaining the attractiveness of the relationship," be the relationship with a person, with your job, or, in my case, with pastoral ministry, and that renunciation, or detachment, is also required, does the relationship seem to lose some attractiveness as a result of the detachment, making one's renunciation seem false, like a betrayal, Giussani says to the inquiring person:

"Because you think about a relationship with an inflection that you don't want to give up (who among us hasn't experienced this?) and that you need to give up- and it's a dramatic moment - in order to possess. Because esteem and love are maintained only if you detach yourself from your immediate and usual way of feeling about things. If you want to go on according to the immediate and usual way you feel about things, you'll lose them" (pg. 113- underlining emphasis mine).
It is necessary, at least for me, that Don Gius goes on to say that "It's not my fault" that this is how life works- "that's the way it is." In the first instance, it is important that I see my desire to hold on as normal and very human, which is why letting go feels like a betrayal, but let go I must, lest I want to lose that to which I cling so tightly. I have to let it all go until I realize, yet again, that I am beggar because it is the beggar who is the protagonist of history.

This puts me in mind of what is probably my favorite U2 song, Walk On, especially the end of the song, which is a litany of sorts:

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind

All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you care
It's only time...

All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
And all that you scheme
All you create
All that you wreck
All that you hate...

This is the 1,500th post on Καθολικός διάκονος.

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