Spirituality of events

In a talk I gave at WTH on Mary, the Witness to Hope, I shared about learning how to live our lives with an attentiveness to the “spirituality of events.”  This basically means asking the Holy Spirit to speak to us through the events that happen to us in our days, to help us to learn what God is trying to teach us through all that comes our way.  God wants to teach us how to look at the events in our lives with His eyes, with the eyes of faith. Yesterday’s meditation in Magnificat reminded me of that:

“The circumstances through which God has us pass are an essential and not a secondary factor of . . . the mission to which he calls us.  If Christianity is the announcement of the fact that that Mystery has become flesh in a man, the circumstance in which one takes a position about this in front of the whole world is important for the very definition of witness” (L. Giussani)

We all know well what these circumstances are that have challenged us throughout this year: the economic crisis, . . . the many forms of pain which have caused us to reflect . . . seeing a world collapse in front of our eyes, with laws that no longer know how to defend the good of life or of the family, finding ourselves more and more obliged to live our lives without a homeland, dramatic personal and social circumstances from illness to trouble to the loss of work, if not in fact the loss of everything . . . So these circumstances through which God has us pass, says Father Guissani, “are an essential and not a secondary factor of our vocation.”  For us, then, circumstances are not neutral.  They are not things that happen without any meaning; that is, they are not just things to put up with, to suffer stoically.  They are part of our vocation, of the way in which God, the good Mystery, calls us, challenges us, educates us.  For us, these circumstances have all the weight of a call, and thus are part of the dialogue of each one of us with the Mystery present.

Life is a dialogue.

“Life is not a tragedy.  Tragedy is what makes everything amount to nothing.  Yes, life is a drama.  It is dramatic because it is the relationship between our I and the You of God, our I that must follow the steps which God indicates” (L. Giussani).  It is this Presence, this You that makes circumstances change, because without this You everything would be nothing, everything would be a step toward an every darker tragedy. But precisely because this You exists, circumstances call us to him.  It is he who calls us through them.  It is he who calls us to destiny through everything that happens.

Quotes from Witnesses to Hope inaugural talk

It was wonderful to see so many of you last night at the first meeting of Witnesses to Hope.  As promised, you can find the recording of the talk under the tab above: “Talks/Witnesses to Hope”.  And here are some of the quotes from the talks.  Please, if any of you didn’t get to comment last night, feel free to leave one here.  We’d all love to hear from you! (Don’t worry if it doesn’t show up immediately–I have to approve any new contributors.) 

 The yes of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday with the Great Cry and the yielding of the spirit. . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday.  The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers.  Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just. The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this ‘as yet.’  St. John tells us, ‘they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead’ (Jn 20:9).  In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus?  On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope?  Is there no loyal remnant?  There is, and its name is Mary.  In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son.  That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival.  On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant.  (Fr. John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty, p. 142)

Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things, on the condition that you believer much more in his love for you than in your own weakness.  (Fr. Joseph Langford, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, p. 145)

How important can one small, unspectacular life be? Consider this: the good that each of us can accomplish even with limited resources and restricted reach, not even a Mother Teresa could achieve.  No one else on the planet, and no one else in history, possesses the same network of acquaintances and the same combination of talents and gifts as each one of us does—as you do. (ibid., p. 72)

Hope does not come from what I do, but from the awareness that there is Someone who loves me with this everlasting love, who calls me into being every instant, having pity on my nothingness. (Fr. Julian Carrón, quoted in Magnificat)