This blog is dedicated to communion theology. What brings us a Christians–Catholics– in communion of the Trinity, the Church and one another. The trusted witness of another gives me certitude that Faith in Jesus Christ and His the Sacrament, the Church, is real and worthy of belonging, not just following. The head of the Communion and Liberation in the USA, Chris Bacich, wrote the following letter to us today. I offer it for your reflection in these days of Advent. Emphasis given is mine.
I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time (since
mid-November, really) about the opportunity I had to be with Fr. Carrón and a
few other friends from around the world in Italy.
He invited us to a
“mini-vacation” over a weekend and we spent a good amount of time
speaking about the Movement and the radical nature of its proposal. In
particular, Fr. Carrón wanted to hear from us what change the work on the
school of community on chapters 10 and 11 of the Religious Sense and the flyer produced in Italy on
the crisis had wrought in us. He pointed, in particular, to the very
recent death (it had happened less than a week before we were with him) of a
young man from the CLU [Communion & Liberation University Students] in
Italy who had died in a motorcycle accident. He held an assembly with the
university students, regarding this event, where he boldly insisted that
reality is always positive. (This assembly will be featured in the next
issue of Traces.)
Indeed, the theme of the CLU Spiritual Exercises in Italy will be “The
Inexorable Positivity of Reality.” His boldness in front of such a
tragic event, as well as the insistence of our charism at this time that the
crisis in which the world has fallen at this moment is something positive
encapsulates for me the clash of mentality that exists between us and the
mentality generated by the popular culture that so often rules our hearts and
minds, as well.
It is for this reason that I wanted to write to you: so often we believe that the “real” problem, when we “get right down to it” is our actions, petty and sinful as they often are. So we make great efforts that always end in the same way (sooner or later): in failure. Instead, that weekend with Fr. Carrón and my personal work in the School of Community have helped me see that the real problem is whether or not we are engaged in reality. So often, I see for myself, I am engaged in my thoughts about how things (including myself) should be or my plans or my reactions to things but rarely am I so engaged with reality that I am in wonder for its presence. I can assure you that Fr. Carrón affirmed that our reason is not acting as itself, when it does not begin from wonder. And then, as Fr. Giussani states in the 11th chapter of the Religious Sense, reality is always positive because by nature it beckons us to something beyond it, at its depths.
We can only understand these things from within our experience of life, if we live making the effort to verify them there. For myself, just a few days before leaving for Italy, I received a call about some very old friends (friends from my earliest years in the Movement in California) whose 17 year old son had died in a motorcycle accident (less than 24 hours after the death of the CLU student). I met those friends upon my arrival in Italy at Fr. Giussani’s tomb, where we wept and prayed together. From the moment I received the call, I wondered what I might say to my friends, when I saw them. Just a few moments later, as we had lunch together, I found myself telling them that such an event did have an ultimate positivity: it dramatically reminds us that Marco is a gift and a gift imagined and given existence by the Mystery, not us. The wound opened up by his death is one that can only look to God to heal it. And so, there is an invitation to cry out to Him, incessantly. Indeed, does not all of our need invite us to cry out to Him incessantly? And there is the positivity: His invitation to look to Him and the gift of His presence to us – His Son, Jesus. (“I am the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?”)
I was provoked to finally make time to write to you by the latest flyer, “Laity, that is, Christians.” Pope Benedict so clearly reminds us to wrestle with the “question of God,” never taking for granted that our faith (and therefore the relationship with Him) is “acquired once and for all.”
[Laity, that is Christians.pdf]
In fact, I wanted to also let you know that at the parish, where I attend Mass on Sunday, we are going to be giving out for free (those of us who go to that parish will purchase them) the Christmas poster and the flyer. We wanted to give a Christmas gift to the people of the parish. I think it could be a beautiful gesture for anyone who can do the same.
With real gratitude for your presence and with assurances of my prayers for you during Advent and Christmas, I remain,