Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Summit of the Christian Mystery

Once again, Monsignor Luigi Guissani, founder of Communion and Liberation, astounds with his insights in the last meditation of this month's Magnificat. He points the way for the converted self -- an ongoing topic here at the Three Massketeers -- via the greatest faith claim of the Catholic faith: Jesus' Resurrection.

It seems a bit out of place in the first week of Lent, but perhaps he is echoing St Augustine's notion: "From now on, regard this life as a desert through which you pass until you come to the Promised Land, the Jerusalem which is above, the land of the living."

It is not without significance to do just that at this time; after all, our friend Gil Bailie only recently bade farewell to his good lady, Elizabeth. It is equally significant that we make our Lenten pilgrimage in a dry and weary landscape only by keeping our eyes fixed on the horizon of faith, hope, and charity, the theological virtues that come only by the grace of God. Guissani:
In the Mystery of the Resurrection lies the summit and the highest intensity of our Christian self-awareness, and therefore that of my new awareness of myself, of the way in which I look at all people and all things ...

Without Christ's Resurrection there is only one alternative: nothingness. We never think of this, and so we pass our days in that spinelessness, that pettiness, in that thoughtlessness, in that dull instincitivity, that repugnant distraction in which the "I" is dissolved.

And so when we say "I", we say it in order to affirm a thought of our own, a measure that is our own (also called "conscience"), or an instinct of our own,, a desire to possess, an arrogant, illusory possession. Were it not for Christ's Resurrection, all would be illusion, a game.
Compare the breathtaking truth of Monsignor Giussani to the banal slander of the James Camerons, James Tabors, and others who would have Christians doubt the fact of Jesus' Resurrection. Christians do not doubt the facts of life and death, any more than the most hard-hearted atheist. We simply say that our hope transcends time.
"In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory."
These are the last words of Aragorn, King Elessar, to his beloved, Queen Arwen, put there by J. R. R. Tolkien. And it is our good fortune to keep our hearts fixed by "faith in the Maker of all things, and in the love he has placed within the human heart" (S. Caldecott).

Go into the desert of Lent with a light heart, says Monsignor Giussani. The way has already be cleared by the Word made flesh. +

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