Silly creatures that we are, we think that we can call ourselves. We think that we choose ourselves.
We can be machines for generating interpretations.
We think that when we do wrong, to recognize it would be a curse.
Then we generate more interpretations to cover up the most recent batch of mistakes.
But there is something outside of me -- radically outside of me -- that generates me. The interpretations that originate in me are mere words. If I want the truth, then I must look outside of myself to the Something that generates me. What do I see outside of myself?
An interpretation that does not take into account ALL the facts is just my own wish masquerading as a truth.
And how is it possible for a small, ornery human being, trapped in a particular point of view and without access to any other pair of eyes or set of ears, possibly take ALL the facts into consideration?
Yep, you heard it here: it's impossible. Any interpretation that originates with me is false.
I cannot even say, "Well, this is the truth for me."
I do not have a 360º view of myself. I cannot even decide the truth of my own self.
I did not make myself. I was not the one who gave me life. And I am not the one who decides that I may continue to take up space on this planet.
But I am intensely grateful to discover that I have been made, I do have life, and Someone does decide that I, in all my minuscule insignificance, should find a pocket of space just large enough for my body to inhabit, at any and every given moment.
So, I do not decide that I am here and that I am I. I discover it.
Life is a quest and an adventure, not a series of interpretations.
Wherever do we find the nerve to pronounce, to define, to put forward the products of our thought? How do we ever dare to presume to have an answer??
I have been given this body, these eyes, this particular space from which to view the world, these hands, this mouth, this heart; and they have all been given for only one reason: to help me seek.
Let's stop wasting our lives -- our mysteriously beautiful existence here -- in the fantasy of making up our lives, generating millions of false little answers. The only rational way to live is in asking and listening, asking and listening...and then following.
While talking with a friend, I was reminded of a letter in Traces that I had read several years ago. I'm going to reprint it here. I think that it shows a concrete example of untiring openness and most faithful unity:
Working for Life
Dearest Fr Giussani: For 37 years, I was in charge of the instruments in an operating room in the Obstetrics and Gynecology ward. In my region, Molise, the rate of recourse to voluntary interruption of pregnancy has always been very high compared to the total population. Because of my affection for Jesus, I applied to be an objector, but I did not wash my hands of things just because of this. Quite the contrary. I tried to make Jesus present in those circumstances in every way my creativity could invent. I would talk with the women to open them up to welcoming the little seed that was already inside them; many times I would sterilize the instruments that others should have checked so that the operation would not result in more pain; I would debate with my non-objector coworkers to show them the lack of sense in their choice, and above all I would talk with the doctors who performed abortions. In so many years, the Lord has given me the grace of seeing many babies saved through me. But the greatest gift the Lord gave me came the day the abortion doctor on my ward phoned to tell me that after so many years of my witness, his heart had been touched, and he had decided to apply to be an objector. He had understood that my admonishing him, urging him, was born of a real affection for him, of a real desire for his good. The Lord has used me so that the creature He loved could discover the love of his Creator. Now I have retired, and in the hospital where I worked, as a consequence of this doctor’s objection, abortions are no longer performed. I have learned from this experience that what counts in man is the task each one has in life, but no one is ever alone in this task, because God’s Mercy always makes itself our Companion. Thank you, Fr Giussani, because the Yes that you said one day has made the Lord’s embrace possible for me in a way that responded so fully to my heart.
Given at the Washington, D.C. Communion and Liberation Summer Vacation, 2007:
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.