Thursday, January 12, 2012

The poverty Love requires

"The law of the I - law is a description of the stable dynamism with which a reality strives towards its destiny, of the stable mechanism with which something in motion strives towards its goal - the dynamism proper to the I, which is therefore directly derived from the dynamism of God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit], is loving, that is, giving oneself to the other, being moved. There is no dynamism of the I without this" (Is It Possible, Vol. 3, pg. 27).

To love another entails risk and truly loving someone means giving myself to them without calculation, without worrying about how I will be rewarded or what they will do for me in return. It also means loving her/his destiny. Hence, loving probably entails some suffering. After all, the result of living the Golden Rule is quite obviously not that it will always be reciprocated. Giussani's method is the method of the Gospel, not of The Secret. Instead of the law of attraction, the Gospel calls us to poverty, what Giussani terms "the law of detachment."

In his lovely book, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer wrote, "There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets 'things' with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns 'my' and 'mine' look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die." Indeed, poverty extends to relationships and this is a very difficult dimension of reality even deal with let alone accept in order to live.

Tozer went on to state the paradox: "The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. They are 'poor in spirit.' They have reached an inward state paralleling the outward circumstances of the common beggar in the streets of Jerusalem; that is what the word `poor' as Christ used it actually means. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. 'Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'"

Building on my last post about hope, Giussani in the second volume of Is It Possible to Live This Way, which is on hope, said, "hope above all gives birth to poverty" (pg. 87). If our hope doesn't depend on Christ, Don Gius continued, but we place it on other people or things, then we will be disappointed to the point of despair if not sooner then later "because whatever you possess is taken away... tomorrow, by time or by a bicycle: the bicycle that violently hits the individual; he falls and, falling, knocks his head on the sidewalk and dies. The next day, instead of celebrating his wedding, you go to his funeral" (pg. 89).

"Poverty is not automatic." Giussani taught. He said that poverty "is not like one in the gutter who’s got lice and a few measly rags hanging from him." Rather, "Poverty is the use of reality according to the destiny that, with certainty, is proposed to us and awaits us."

1 comment:

  1. Yes it is very difficult especially conditioned culturally as we are, to resist the need to "be number one", to trounce, to be superior, to be the superlative -est, which entails putting great energy into transforming and minimizing our weakness, vulnerability, foibles, needs. But when we acknowledge our humanity and need for God to come and fill us, we are then, can be, filled.


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