beginning from wonder …

Chris Bacich, US responsible of Communion & Liberation, describes two experiences that underline the importance that awe in front of the mystery of reality takes precedence over our own thoughts and schemes …

The first is about the sudden death of young people.

The second relates a conversation with don Giussani about an episode in the gospels.

Shortly after my last email, I realized I had left out one of the most intriguing things about my time with Fr. Carrón in November.  I haven’t had the time to sit down to write to you until now, so here goes.

While we were together he pointed out a brief exchange in a discussion between Fr. Giussani and a young woman.  He told us that he believed that this exchange concisely expressed two different cultures (we might say “world views”).  The topic of the exchange was Fr. Giussani’s insistence about the importance of St. Peter’s “yes” on the shore to Jesus, who asks him three times, “Do you love me?”  Referring to this scene the young woman said to Fr. Giussani, “Peter was so gutsy to say ‘yes’ to Jesus!”  Giussani responded, “Gutsy?!  How much wonder Peter must have had!”

Fr. Carrón insisted that this brief exchange beautifully juxtaposes two world views.  The young woman’s position reflects that of the dominant culture: an emphasis upon our strength, will power or effort.  Instead, Giussani’s response highlights the presence of Jesus that engenders wonder in Peter, a wonder that serves as the source of his “yes” and of his energy.

I didn’t want to keep such an insightful affirmation to myself, particularly because our American culture roots itself so deeply within the attitude of the young woman.  In turn, I think we all know (I certainly do) how much this culture influences every aspect of our lives, including (tragically!) our relationship with Christ.  Instead, glimpsing the possibility that life not be lived as a long series of decisions to muster up the effort to do what’s “right” or “good” (even in the best sense of those words) but rather that it be lived as an ever more constant awareness of and surrender to the attraction and beauty of Someone’s presence thrills me!  It seems to me that if we were to live our lives free from the blackmail of having to dig up enough effort to do what we know we “should” and begin to live a life full of surprise and gratitude, we would begin the real American Revolution.