Thursday, February 26, 2009

CL: Today

Today I had a rare chance to do a solo road trip, and thus to spend some time contemplating in silence. My mind went to my involvement in CL and what it means to me right now.

I realize now that what attracted me so strongly to CL when I first encountered it was this sense that I was being given myself back. It was a strong sense of affirmation of those aspects of myself that I found difficult to affirm because they felt too unique. I think this is at least part of what Fr. Giussani calls the "I" of a person. What I experienced was this "I" being called out into fellowship in the Church and into the world, to love. I still remember the sense I had after watching Fr. Giussani (on dvd) expound on the gospel where John and Andrew first encounter Christ. I spent that afternoon sighing in a way that released something pent up in me for decades. It was like a cutting through of so much second-guessing of myself to embrace that yes, God really does mean for me to be me.

So, it's kind of funny right now. The other night I was reading something written by the current leader of CL, Fr. Carron. I know the general point of what he was saying, but the verbiage was so dense (verbiage being a big sticking point for me) that it hit me like a lot of blah blah blah. In general, a lot of the CL spiritual reading just isn't gripping me right now, which is odd for a woman who was lead to the Catholic Church primarily by reading. I'm finding it distracting me from prayer rather than leading me to it.

At the same time, I am really excited by my life. This sounds lame and trite, but it is true. I keep being struck over and over by the realization that real human beings have real human needs, and pointing myself towards those needs seems far more vital and life-giving than reading about theology right now. I recognize this as a fruit of CL in my life. It's just kind of funny to me that the fruit of CL leads me to not really want to sit around and wallow in CL texts.

The whole Legion of Christ debacle of late has impressed on me the absolute necessity, regardless of which other Christians may impact our lives, of conscious allegiance to the gospel of Christ alone. I heard a really great homily today in which the priest spoke of the supreme danger of life being the temptation of living according to someone else's expectations (including one's own), other than Jesus' expressed in the gospel. I think this is what St. Paul must have meant when he was trying to straighten out people who claimed to follow Peter or Apollos or Paul, or Christ. While we cannot divorce ourselves from the body of Christ and become our own judges of truth, beauty and goodness, we also cannot be said to be leading others as Christ if we add or detract from the gospel as it is entrusted to the Church, or if we try to make some servant of Christ into something else, like someone who excuses us from following Christ ourselves, because we watch him follow Christ and applaud from the sidelines. An ape can imitate actions. Ah, but it is the heart that must follow Christ, and this each one must move him or herself, compelled by Christ's call.

CL reproposes the basic truths of Christianity in a time when this proposal is desperately needed not just "in the world" but in the Catholic Church. I, personally, have a tendency to hold things too tightly, to make them about me, to make that which is helpful into a box to lock myself into (aka a coffin). It takes courage to live without a coffin. So I just find it very interesting that the Lord who calls me to CL also is making sure I don't make CL my coffin, a new way to shut out the world and shut myself in with "nice people like me". CL and other charisms seem a little like John the Baptist, whose work it was just to point to the Lamb of God. Only charims are, of course, Christian, and therefore in a way in pointing to Christ they point to themselves as Christ's body. Yet, "not I live, but Christ who lives in me." There's some subtle nuance there, and while I can't articulate it well, I feel like I am experiencing what it means.


Suzanne said...

You are so right on, Marie!! (I just added the second exclamation point after much thought and wondering what to write next, but this is all I can muster at the moment...)!

Shauna said...

Beautifully said Marie!!! It is all about following Christ!