Sunday, June 23, 2013

Being a fact, Christianity is the way we respond to reality

The next day again John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and you will see." So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour (John 1:35-39- ESV)
Fr. Carrón, in the Communion & Liberation Exercises, Who Will Separate Us from the Love of God in Christ?, commenting on the method taught by Msgr. Giussani, holds out the above encounter between the Lord, John, and Andrew as "the criterion for verifying whether Christianity is happening to us now, whether it is the predominance of a presence," or whether we have reduced our faith "to a category, an abstract definition."

Giussani was insistent: "Christianity is an event. There is no other word to indicate its nature, neither the word law, nor the words ideology, concept, or plan. Christianity is not a religious doctrine, a series of moral laws or a collection of rites. Christianity is a fact, an event. All the rest is consequence."

What is meant by "event"? Something that is happening now. "God became an event in our daily existence," Giussani said, "so that our 'I' might recognize itself with clarity in its original factors and attain its destiny, be saved."

Something to think about today as we head off to Mass to hear the same words, spoken first by the Baptist, that provoked John and Andrew to follow Jesus: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world." To our question, "Where are you staying?" His answer is, by means of our communion, "I long to abide in you." I don't know about you, but this helps me to grasp what Don Gius meant when he spoke and wrote about the need to recognize myself with clarity, to see who I am in the light of Christ, which is my true identity, every other one being false.

Preaching Saturday evening of the Exercises on John 6:52-59 and Acts 9:1-20, the latter of which tells of Paul's encounter with Christ, Fr. Stefano Alberto, referring to the Eucharist and the fact that Christ was able to seize "Peter, the rough fisherman" and "Paul, the refined intellectual, the Pharisee, the persecutor, transforming him... why can't he seize- grab- me and you now, in this gesture that is full of tenderness and passion for the life of each of us? Why resist? What is there to oppose? Is there anything simpler than letting His life enter mine...?"

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