Ok, I love it when things like this happen.
Off and on (more off in the past and more on recently) I have been attending School of Community, the catechetical facet of the lay Catholic movement Communion and Liberation. Repeatedly I have found that things will bubble up in my heart, I will take them to prayer at my Wednesday evening holy hour, and then at the Thursday morning group somehow that very thing will come out in discussion, reading, something.
Well, this morning after a general chit-chat (as it was the first gathering after the traditional schooling year started, and was more populated than the summer gatherings) some of us watched a documentary on the life of the movement's founder, Father Luigi Giussani.
I was just waiting for the word to pop up in the DVD: intensity. I'd say it took about three minutes. At first I smiled and thought "oh, that's nice." But as the movie proceeded, well, it is hard to reduce to words the power of what transpired.
Last night I wrote:
Now I see it as plain as day: what I need to do is not worry about the feeling of "leaving" people with my intensity, because I'm not leaving them. In reality, I am more with them, and I leave them when I try to just tone it down. So, the call is to --simply-- be myself, and be real.
Today I would say Fr. Giussani's life communicated things several steps deeper to me. First of all, encountering Christ sort of blasts me to my human core. I need Christ to be fully real. There was something he said that was so powerful; I felt it more than mentally recorded it, but essentially the point was that God's love is radical affirmation of who we are as human beings. Oh, my Lutheran roots, or maybe barnacles is a better term.... Who I am, radically as a human, is NOT sin and total depravity. There is that which God radically affirms with His love. What He loves, what He affirms, He transforms, and this is holiness. We are transformed under the gaze of Christ. But this doesn't mean he denudes us and rips out our humanness as so much garbage. He raises us up in the grace of Christ our Head, and fills us with His very beauty and life.
Secondly, more particular to my musings of late. This felt like a first ever affirmation of intensity, the first time that I could say "He is intense, and it is GREAT". Instead of feeling like intensity is this scary thing to hide or get angry at or to drown. Something to be transformed by Christ? Yes, of course. But He can't transform it if I don't take it out, see it, own it, and live with it.
Liberation? Uh huh.
I felt like I spent the entire afternoon exhaling. Exhaling 20? 30? 40? years worth of anxiety over myself. Literally, I started to feel lightheaded by the afternoon because I was sighing so much!