Saturday, October 6, 2007


This week our local School of Community is working on the section "Universality" (p. 81) from The Journey To Truth Is an Experience by Fr. Giussani. It's one of the four marks of the Church, to be "catholic" in the original meaning, which is "universal".

Here's the definition of "catholic" (small "c") according to unabridged:
1.broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.
2.universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
3.pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.
Again, Fred's post speaks very well to the human method of knowledge, which starts from experience and excludes nothing. For the Christian, according to Fr. Giussani, this openness is a natural outgrowth of charity with a constant reference to the origin of all things.
The very nature of Christian action, that is, to share, unquestionably demonstrates its boundless domain: a commitment to a genuine experience of charity signifies a complete openness towards the universe. All limitations to the breadth of our existence imposed from within suppress love. Love is not a matter of taste or measure, nor is it some intelligent plan of ours. It is a humble clinging to being as it offers itself to us.
This is just the non-dualistic view of creation according to the Church, where all things are seen as very good, and evil is simply a lack or misuse of the good. The risk is to lose ourselves in a particular good, that is, idolatry, which can only be corrected by returning everything to Christ in offering our lives.
This openness does not manifest itself in an impossible contempt of, or inhumane disinterest for, the particular, but in the way in which the detail is lived. We may commit and genuinely dedicate ourselves to family or friendship, class or school, studies or profession, but the motive behind the commitment must transcend any particular desire for a higher mark or attachment to a particular person.
The Christian lives the details, according to Fr. Giussani with a freedom that is a "vigilant detachment from all particularism, ... resolute readiness for any authentic freshness [which] constitutes a sure promise, a prophecy of the coming of the Kingdom."

It is interesting to see how this plays out in an ordinary day like yesterday. I spent the morning with my granddaughter, and we stayed in doing some coloring and learning colors. I had to meet my grandson's teacher and discuss some behavior issues, to stay open despite some natural defensiveness. I met a friend from the community for lunch, and since it was a rainy day, people shared tables in the small lunchroom. We met a lady rabbi and a man who was a former campus minister and now runs a kayak rental outfit. And we talked about many interesting things from children to illness to aging to the adventure of changing careers. Then there was taking my daughter and grandson to the dentist and having a quiet evening with my husband.

Who can know what the meaning of the *this* and *that* of daily life is, except to be certain that all offered is somehow for the kingdom, and we are its joyful stewards. We are these moving targets that reality pings against, and each encounter is an invitation to respond, with humanity, awareness, offering, love. The motivation is all, with detachment from the result. It makes life ultimately fascinating instead of fearful.

Related to this is that tendency we have to make some design on another person, particularly those we would like to reform close by. A few friends of mine have to work with a very rigid and difficult person. on a daily basis. One said, maybe we can be friends with him and show him how to live differently. Another, more wise, said instead: we should be friends with him and love him as he is. He implies: God can do the rest.

No comments: