“Each one of us knows how much effort he has made to be here now” – Julian Carron.
I know taken in context that is referring to being there at the retreat, however it is absolutely the same for each one of us. Some have come a great distance to he here now, I myself have come a great distance to be here now.
The Holy Father, sends a message..
Awaken Us.. That is the key to this reflection.
” The circumstances through which God has us pass are an essential and not secondary factor of our vocation, of the mission to which He calls us. ” What these circumstances are and that have challenged us are in fact various forms of pain.. which in the end cause us to reflect.
Isn’t that what happens. When we are stopped in our tracks by a trial. We stop look around and reflect.. It opens an awareness. These trails what ever there are to you, do not happen with out reason. For all things that pass for us are for purpose if they are according to God. I think it’s pertinent that we do not merely “put up with them”, but suffer knowingly, to be educated, to open to the awareness of the Mystery available to all of us. We are constantly challenged, and when we are living the awareness we gain the propulsion to see the productivity of the trail.
This is dialogue, Luigi Giussani tells us that “life is a dialogue”.
Life is a dialogue, life is not a tragedy, which is to say is for nothing, life is a drama (well mine certainly is) because it is a constant dialogue between myself and God. You and I.. There are many dramas in our everyday. We are in the drama of life together, there is a certain unity in the drama.
It’s important to recognize thought that these many dramas are educational, it’s important to recognize the relationship to the Presents in the many daily dramas. With out the Presents, the dramas would be tragedy.. With out meaning or Purpose.
It is God, the Presents that makes thing change. There is nothing with out the awareness of the Presence. As we know, there is nothing without God.
You can live with out the Presence but it’s more of a half life.. Many live this, without realizing the limits of their existence. I’ll get to that, first lets keep going..
“It is He who calls us to to destiny through everything that happens”. We are tested? If you will within the limits of our dramas. I love the use of that word. How many times are we tested in simple things. Our reactions are constantly tested. It doesn’t take a serious problem, a life changing event.. It could be the way we behave towards our spouse, the person walking past us with the yappy dog, or the rude person working at the Dairy Queen counter.
Let’s go back now to the half life existence…
In the readings this week, Fr Giussani points out the living life in in the total anesthesia that our society creates.. and Teilhard de Chardin states.. “The true danger of our age is the loss of the taste for life.” Now that is in my opinion the life lived in a semi existence.
This is a part of the text I struggled with a little bit.
Suffering is part of our Journey, Suffering can bring awareness. It’s that numbness that causes a withdrawal, that closes our senses, that creates a false sense of commonality. We sleep though life, without even the knowledge that we are doing it. We have lost our affections for the now, for self, for the unity.
Suffering awakes us. It’s the interruption. It really is. I think the most obvious suffering the thing that is historically the one that causes all, religious or not to reflect is a death. Death sensitizes us to life. We are wholly aware that we are vital, life is precious, life is fleeting. It’s maybe not true awareness, but for some that live the half life it’s an opportunity to experience even for a few days/weeks the tenderness of self. The true love of life.
“By means of circumstances, the Mystery wants to rouse us from this anesthesis, to educate us to the awareness of ourselves to our truth. He awakes us to the awareness for which we were made. “
Isn’t that amazing!
He as it says in the reflection, doesn’t educate us by speech, nor by reflections , but by experiences. By the experience of reality. Through the dramas of our life, by the present reality gained through suffering.
I love this part, “you learn life in the concrete, not theoretically, and a bit of reality is worth more than a thousand words. “
How many of us censure life’s moments? I do. When I am looking at the seriousness of life, I do it all the time. With out being properly aware, I stick my head in the sand. That’s a lesson though, one that must be addressed. What is life without the problems? All the circumstances in our life challenge us to discover the meaning.
What are my circumstances? Do I face them? How do I face them? How am I acting? Am I in front of them? Do I end up dislocated and lost?
A lesson that I am going to try and keep in front of me is, Something Fr. G says in his text.. “Circumstance is the place where one takes his position in front of the world, in his way of living. “
Isn’t that what we all want to do, as Christians and brothers and sisters in Christ, we want to live the Mystery. We want to be good witnesses to the treasure that Christ is in our lives.
Intentions vs reality
This next part struck me very close to my heart. Intentions are usually good, they are usually filled with goodness and promise, however if you have good intentions with no follow through, what is the reality. The reality is sour. We must not confuse intentions with reality. When we act different than our intentions due to the lack of effort, the different motivating logic, the suppression of those around us- its an action that will lack affirmation. Again with actions speak louder than words.
I am guilty of this on many, many occasions. I am a helper. I always have good intentions but I bet I act on them 25% of the time. For many reasons. All of them mentioned above.
I am staying in a place right now where the populati0n is 90% native. There is alot of poverty around. Not just environmental, but also physical and emotional. Social poverty.
There is a man staying in the same park as us. He is obviously an old drunkard. Probably harmless. My immediate reaction was sympathy. He is living in a substandard place, no bathroom, no bed, dirty clothing, little food, his stench is overwhelming, and I suspect he is having medical problems that are going without treatment. How does this happen in our society. This lack of concern for our brothers and sisters? He is one of us.
I was so enamoured reading about the woman desperate to help after the earthquake, it was a desire so deep inside their hearts that it was unquenchable. It was because they belong. It is the same way that I belong to that disheveled drunkard, that I belong to the child wondering with out shoes, dirty faced and uncared for. The same way we all belong to those across the universe in a malady of situations alone, affected, and unwanted, it is the same way we belong to our unbelieving kin, or to the tyrant that is cruel to us.. We belong, our hearts were created for unity. When we are aware of the Presence, we are aware that Jesus is present among us. In the least of my people, that’s where he is.
We are given these trails to educate us, we are challenged by the people put in out paths. Friends come from all over.
So this man came to my door the second day we were staying here. It was 7 am the first time he knocked. I didn’t answer the door. My husband was long gone to work and I was afraid. The next time he knocked was around 9. He asked for beer. He has a childlike abashed grin, hopeful that I could help him in his yearning for drink. I didn’t know what to do. Enable him, or not. How was I helping him by giving into his addiction? That’s what I did though.
I gave him two beers that were in our fridge, and asked him to take it easy today on the drink. I looked into his sea blue eyes and saw past the dirt and wrinkles. Who’s eyes were there? Was this a moment for me or for him?
My reaction wasn’t intolerance. I was though, uncomfortable with this action. My children witnessed the exchange and I didn’t think giving an alcoholic alcohol was a good example. Yet on the other hand in my heart I knew he needed help and I knew I could not solve this problem in that moment.
Like the reflection says, “when you are immersed in the Mystery, you can’t help but noticed what happens and be moved”. If your heart is moved, you move.
Faith generates a method. When you are moved – you move.
To close, I just want to touch on the last two pages of the reflection.
We are so loved. We are awake. We are learning. We know that love creates a movement in our hearts that can only be explained to someone that has loved. We know that someone was moved for us. We can feel pain, many pains of others because we ourselves have experienced the trails, we too have passed through it. We know that there is an urgent need for conversation. We need the dialogue with God to make reality possible and pertinent. Only with the Mystery is living possible.
Fr. G tells of two types of attitudes, those with the solutions already, the ones with the answers, the ones with the tools.. the skeptics that listen with deaf ears… and then those that are humble, the poor, that desired His teaching, the ones that were aware of their humanity. The ones that knew the only way to be filled truly was to filled with the Presence.
Which are you?
I know what I need, what my heart needs. What I was made for. I am needy. I am open. I am begging for that poverty.