Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Your present and your destiny

In discussing the relationship most people have to religion, to church, to faith, Giussani likens it to being distracted, to not listening, not learning. He speaks of walking down the street with a friend while passionately making some point, when his friend notices a beatiful woman across the street and becomes distracted, but who keeps mechanically saying "Uh, huh. Yes. Okay..."

Rachel Weisz

Don Gius points out that his replies "are not valid because he did not pay attention to my arguments." "This," according to Gius, "is the offense that the majority of people commit when they face the problems of destiny, faith, religion, the Church, and Christianity because being 'anxious and troubled with many other things,' in these things their minds are 'dead and buried'" (The Religious Sense, 30). Despite this, everyone believes himself capable of pronouncing definitive judgment on these matters, "to have an opinion, partly because it is impossible not to have a viewpoint on these matters" (30). Just as a child cannot help but have an opinion about her parents, no one can avoid "having a view concerning the connection between his or her present and destiny" (30).

Interior of The Cathedral of the Madeleine

While everybody has an opinion, all opinions are not equal, far from it. It is not only possible, but important, to arrive at, to possess, knowledge concerning these matters. For many, their opinions on these issues are rooted in either a preconception or a misconception precisely because they refuse to listen, because listening means turning your attention away from life's distractions, be it a beautiful woman, or paying your monthly bills. Giussani teaches us a method, a way to listen and to judge. Indeed, the more vital and elementary the value of the question that captures your attention "the more nature gives to each of us the intelligence to know and judge it" (30). Hence, either jumping to a half-baked conclusion or taking a powder on life's most serious questions is not a reasonable (i.e., not a human) response to the provocation of reality.

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