Monday, March 9, 2009

Experience

I am so moved by what happened during and after our Fraternity (of Communion and Liberation) Lent retreat this weekend. Between the content of all Fr. Roberto said and his sharing his life with us, there is so much to turn over in my heart.

But what is standing out for me so powerfully is Fr. Roberto's insistence that we meet Christ in everything that happens, as it happens. There is no separation between Christ and my work, Christ and my friendships, Christ and my heart. All of reality is infused with his miraculous Presence.

In which case, before I can serve Christ in you, I must first meet him in you. That is, when I come face-to-face with you, I am coming face-to-face with the Lord of history, in all the Mystery and awesome power that that entails. By "you," I don't just mean you to whom I'm writing now -- I mean every person (and really all Creation!). Sometimes we worry about the lack of reverence we or others have in front of the Eucharist -- what about our colossal lack of reverence in front of each other?

So, then what is the purpose or special role of the baptized, if all reality is Christ meeting me now? We are baptized into this awareness (the better word is faith) and our life's work is to witness to one another about this Reality, this fact of existence. As witnesses, we must continually testify to Christ's Presence to one another -- and not let any one of us forget or slip into vagueness on this point. And because the witness testifies, he takes on the role of Christ; his witness means that he conforms more to the person of Christ, so that he, like Christ, is the one who makes this Presence known and felt in the world. In other words he manifests, more profoundly and more acutely, this Presence of Christ and is thus recognizable as a member of the living Body of Christ in the world.

So let's do the work of looking, of reminding ourselves that Christ is before us continually. Let's tell each other what we see!

So, my question to everyone is, what's happening? What do you see? And when we tell each other what's happening and what we see, let's do it out of charity to one another -- as the most important charitable work there is -- we will be helping one another to see one miracle after another. And we will get better and better at seeing these things, the more we practice this looking at reality with new eyes.

Yesterday, when the retreat was over, I drove Anna (a high school girl from Italy who is spending a year in the U.S.) back to her host parents, she spoke to me about how loving and generous this couple was, and about her deep affection for them, which was evident in every word. She told me about how the wife was expecting her first baby in July and about how she (Anna) was leaving in June and would miss seeing the baby -- with a little regret but not deep disappointment, because she is certain that either they will come with the baby to Italy to visit or she would be back to see them again. I was moved for several reasons -- but mostly because a girl her age could leave her home and her friends and travel from a rather large city (Milan) to a tiny town in Ohio and develop such deep affection for a couple of adults whom she could have easily treated as simply a launching pad for her American adventure with other American teenagers. But it was even more astonishing to meet her host father. There was nothing cosmopolitan or fascinating about this man on the surface, but Anna loved him as a father, this much was evident. I remembered Fr. Giussani's definition of forgiveness: the capacity to tolerate difference. What mercy I witnessed in the five minutes I stayed in that home before heading back to my home! The way Anna loved this man was a keener witness than anything she could have said about this relationship. May we love one another in this way!!

Recognizing Christ (is this how we look at one another?)

1 comment:

Apolonio said...

That Fr. Roberto is something isn't he?