Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summary, Communion and Liberation 2014 Fraternity Exercises, Saturday Morning Session, Part 1, "The Essential Thing: The First Leap of the Heart."

With the examples of Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus, and the disciples that were on the road to Emmaus...
To encounter the gaze of Christ with clear eyes is to be seized--arrested. It is this relationship--this awareness of the presence of Christ--that allows us to overcome the solitude of experience, that does not extinguish longing,that allows us to become ourselves, that transforms our humanity. It is what evangelizes the self and ultimately others. But fancy words, sentimentalism, slogans, sound bites, and summaries such as these will not suffice.
Not as part of the above summary, but for my own personal response to this section of the retreat, in order to close the gap between intention and experience, I need to contemplate what it means to be aware of the presence--and to follow and live the presence, with all its consequences. It means seeing Christ in the eyes and faces of every person I encounter and acting accordingly.

Summary, 2014 Communion and Liberation Fraternity Exercises, Friday Evening

In light of the example of the women at the tomb of the resurrected Christ...
Of our faith, we struggle with the gap between intention and experience. We desire to be seized anew. In order to make the gap smaller, we must go back to the essential, which is to focus solidly on Jesus Christ, starting with the Presence. Fr. Giussani has given us the method for doing this which is to observe ourselves in action (self-knowledge). This requires a commitment of our whole life. But we are warned not to automatically nod our heads and say yes--"A mechanical answer will not suffice." We are further warned to not reduce the issue to a focus on our errors, sins, or inconsistencies, but rather to focus primarily on self-awareness (the necessary precursor for self-knowledge) and what we actually love and pursue. The journey towards God is not an uninterrupted gentle ascent to God but a struggle, a lifelong journey of ups and downs--"The journey to truth is an experience." Hence, we must deal with our daily circumstances realistically and directly, and this will result in our religious maturity. The turmoil of life will shake us deeply at times, but it cannot be avoided. "The world will laugh, and you will cry." All of this, the method of Giussani, makes us aware of our needs and helps us to become ourselves.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Answer

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.”

- Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I have realized that when I cannot sleep at night, it is almost always because I am obsessing over a relationship that is difficult and of which I have no resolution.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

These People, Donatus, are the Christians

"This is a cheerful world as I see it from my garden under the shadows of my vines. But if I were to ascend some high mountain and look out over the wide lands, you know very well what I should see: brigands on the highways, pirates on the sea, armies fighting, cities burning; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians—and I am one of them."

~St. Cyprian

Monday, September 8, 2014

Towards an Examination of Conscience

"Life is a talent entrusted to us so that we can transform it and increase it, making it a gift to others. No man is an iceberg drifting on the ocean of history. Each one of us belongs to a great family, in which he has his own place and his own role to play. Selfishness makes people deaf and dumb; love opens eyes and hearts, enabling people to make that original and irreplaceable contribution which, together with the thousands of deeds of so many brothers and sisters, often distant and unknown, converges to form, the mosaic, of charity which can change the tide of history."

- Blessed Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Phenomenon of Sock Affinity

Each of my two sons has about fifty pairs of socks, mostly white sweat socks, with all different logos, sizes, shapes, and styles--that's because my wife wife buys whatever socks are on sale, and apparently she doesn't believe in running low on kids socks. You throw dirty laundry, including socks, into a basket. You bring the dirty laundry to the basement where it gets thrown in a pile with other dirty laundry also containing socks. Eventually you put the dirty laundry in the washer machine. You throw the wet laundry into the dryer. You sort the dry stuff out into various piles. After several iterations of this, you end up with piles of white socks of all different logos, sizes, shapes, and styles that have to be matched. You do the matching because no one else will. You would think that with all the tossing, the tumbling in the washer and dryer, and the sorting, that the socks would be randomly distributed in the piles. Yet time and again, when you pick out a sock, the matching sock is very close to it in the pile.