Tag Archives: Communion and Liberation

Farming, faith and eating well: initiatives

Brooklyn Grange Roof

Interest in growing fresh vegetables and farming is real life these days in many urban settings.There is significant concern for wellness issues like where is our food coming from and how is it raised. The impact of bad practices and careless behavior is taking a toll on people in a multiplicity of ways: poverty, hunger, cancer, mental illness, human sustainability, and the like.

City farming is the subject of this video report by Monocle. It provides some very interesting things to think about like, space, soil, nutrients, people, being co-creators, etc. The three reports given in the Monocle video look at innovative work in Japan, NYC and Norway. Watch the report. In the New Haven area there are some community gardens sprouting up, for example, Yale University has a community garden the Yale Farm (Edwards Street) and then there are lots of modest initiatives. Plus, the growing of farmers’ markets.

I have a modest garden with edibles and decoratives. But I can’t sustain a family on what I grow. I have learned to make pickles from homegrown cucumbers, and I will can tomatoes, but if I had other favorable factors I could do more. My grandparents would be proud since that’s how they managed to live.  What I have concluded is that life is much better with homegrown produce than what is purchased in big stores like Walmart and Big Y. Well, that’s for the spring and summer. Come the autumn and winter we have to go back to the store.

But this matter is a part of a larger question of faith and ecology. The biblical and sacramental life of the Church have something to say to us today. In my mind, Christians have to reclaim what it means to live well with with what God has given through a sacramental lens. For this reason, I am thinking more and more about the role the Benedictines can play in the development of a faith and ecology project. The Benedictine charism is one in which simplicity, faith, work, study, mutual obedience, concern for the other and co-creation with God are high values. Plus, the monastic life with its emphasis on moderation lived in communion with others is key. I would also include the ecclesial movements of Communion & Liberation and Focolare as key infrastructures of grace and holiness. With a few spare moments here-and-there I am trying to think about a Christian’s response to the matter of food, wellness, farming, and the like. People like Ken Myers (Mars Hill Audio Journal), Norman Wirzba (Duke Divinity School), Fred Bahnson (Wake Forest Divinity School) and Wendell Berry (public intellectual) along with Pope Benedict XVI are setting the stage for new things.

What friendship can do… celebrating Verdi with the Little Prince School in mind

I am sure you know that the famed composer Giuseppe Verdi is celebrating his 200th birthday this year. What you may not be aware of is that the attendees of the Ravenna Festival on July 13th became friends with 350 students at the Little Prince School in Nairobi, Kenya. Distance is no barrier for friendship with students.

While attending the Verdi opera Nabucco (a four act opera composed in 1841) directed by famed Italian Conductor Riccardo Muti, the attendees marvelously generated a $9,000 gift for Little Prince School. Cristina Muti the director of Ravenna Festival sat in the booth drawing people to be generous. The Little Prince School is supported by AVSI, an international aid, educational and cultural organization.

More on this beautiful event can be found here.

AVSI stands for The Association of Volunteers in International Service, founded in 1972 in Italy. Its NYC doors opened in 2001 and they have an office in Washington, DC. It works in 38 countries. AVSI’s method of aid is based on personal friendship through a network of interested peoples. Hence, the principles are:

  1. Centrality of the person
  2. Starting with the positive
  3. Do with
  4. Development of Civil Society and Subsidiarity
  5. Partnership

AVSI is directed by Catholic Social Teaching and inspired by the life of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation founded by the Servant of God Father Luigi Giussani.

Saint Benedict, the man of blessing

São Bento.jpg

Today is the Feast of Saint Benedict! It was originally the feast of the translation of his relics, but after Monte Cassino was bombed they discovered that his relics were evidently never translated! Pope Paul changed it to the feast of Saint Benedict Patron of Europe. One of the most sensible things he ever did.


The perduring gift to the Church is the Rule of Saint Benedict. It is a beautiful compilation of how to live together seeking the face of God. One part on humility is worth noting. Benedict’s teaching on humility is here.

Father Giussani points out about life in Communion and Liberation:


“Now, we must also say that to live communion is not a small matter; it is all of Christian life, because Christian life is Christ among us who makes us one sole body. And this, I believe, is the heart of the original Benedictine tradition, with which our Movement felt itself to coincide from the beginning. The heart of our Movement is this, and I really believe that it is being disciples of the original Benedictine history that has made our Movement like this. Therefore, it is no small matter; it is the example that has to happen.”


A short review of the importance of Saint Benedict and Benedictines in the life of Communion and Liberation is here.

Blessed feast of Saint Benedict.

Benedicite

Windows into Heaven –Knights of Columbus Museum exhibits Russian icons

I am always looking for the way heaven touches earth. Perhaps you are, too. The image that comes to mind is the finger of God touching that of Adam in a painting done by Michelangelo. I also recall that the Incarnation is a manifestation of the beauty of heaven touching the ordinariness of earth and making our existence forever beautiful. These are some thoughts on an experience of “Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons and Treasures” at the Knights of Columbus Museum (New Haven, CT). Though the icons aren’t in their original liturgical context, they nonetheless open the heart and mind onto something and someone beautiful. The icons, for me, are more than nice pieces of Christian art; they truly are positions of grace that allow my desires to be opened anew by an experience with the Divine Majesty. There is an emphasis here on the personal relationship we have with the Trinity. To say otherwise is to neglect a piece of your humanity because the beauty of the icon does invite us to a different way of living the faith.

kofc icon collage.jpg

I was just reading an address of Cardinal Ratzinger on beauty. An amazing act of the Spirit to allow me to see the icons and then reflect with Ratzinger on the experience. He had addressed the annual meeting organized by members of Communion and Liberation in August 2002. A paragraph sticks out:


To admire the icons and the great masterpieces of Christian art in general, leads us on an inner way, a way of overcoming ourselves; thus in this purification of vision that is a purification of the heart, it reveals the beautiful to us, or at least a ray of it. In this way we are brought into contact with the power of the truth. I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

“The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty”

Rimini Meeting 2002


Take the time this summer to visit the KofC Museum and be inspired! Allow yourself to be wounded by beauty, as Ratzinger said.

Rimini Meeting 2013: The Human Person: a State of Emergency

1025448_588410085681_317451852_o.jpg

The poster for the annual Rimini Meeting was sent out. This is an annual meeting organized by members of Communion and Liberation gathering c. 800K. Visit: www.meetingrimini.org

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory