Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom: The Foundation is the Person

I am quite struck by the fact that, during this "Fortnight for Freedom," the people of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation are working on the texts of the annual retreat, given this past spring by Fr. Julian Carron. This section of the retreat is full of quotations from talks that Msgr. Giussani gave in the 1990s, but their point is stunningly pertinent to this very moment that we are living together.

The charism of CL is a witness in the Church to the truth about the human person. I have followed this charism for 22 years because here I have learned to recognize, and have been provoked again and again to remember, who I am. It is an ongoing education, through life more than words, in being a human person, in being myself.

Here are some excerpts:

Since the power has as its ideal and aim subjecting everyone's life to rules..., this elimination of freedom has dramatic consequences, since we don't want all to be enslaved, or maneuvered on the orders of a central mechanism. So how is it possible to resist? How is it possible to offer an alternative to the dominion of power that means to put itself in a position to determine every aspect, every expression of man's life, dictating even the moral laws? The only resource for blocking the intrusion of power is in that vertex of the cosmos that is the "I," that is freedom.
 ....The only resource that is left to us is a powerful recovery of the Christian sense of the "I." I say the "Christian" sense not out of preconception, but because Christ's word, Christ's attitude, Christ's conception of the human person, of the "I," is the only one that explains all the factors that we feel boiling up inside us, emerging in our hearts. For this power will be able, could be able to crush the "I" as such, to prevent the "I" from being "I."
 ....The strength of this subject that is called "I,"...the greatness of the subject, the newness of the person is given by a belonging that is neither in things that happen, nor in gardens we imagine and construct, in earthly gardens we have thought up and built.... The strength of the "I" and of the you, the strength of the subject, of the person, is in something other to which I totally belong, to which the "I" totally acknowledges it belongs. This is the lived experience of the personality: acknowledging that I belong to what makes me.
 --from texts of Msgr. Luigi Giussani (my italics)

And Fr. Carron comments:
As soon as something happens, we fall apart, not because we are fragile, or because of the circumstances, or the environment. Let's stop it! We fall apart because of our lack of self-awareness. No power in this world could eliminate us, no matter what the circumstance, if we had this self-awareness, because the self-awareness does not lie in physical energy, or in our possibility of success, or in our capacity. Our strength, all the energy of our strength is in the simple acknowledgment of Him to whom we belong, He who makes us now.
Then Fr. Carron continues, quoting from Msgr. Giussani's book In Search of the Human Face (1995):
Because the Lord is everything, but "not on the strength of our sentiment, because 'we feel' that He is everything; not on the strength of an act of the will, because 'we decide' that He is everything; not moralistically, because 'He has to be' everything, but by nature."

These are some selections of what I have been reading today.

They hardly even begin to do justice to the retreat, but they do indicate the challenges we all face in a society that aims to suffocate the human person. This is a crucial way of looking at current events: we must allow them to awaken us to the truth of who we really are, who we belong to, and what is our destiny. We are challenged, all of us together, to help one another to live and judge and engage reality from this awareness.