Living Intensely the Real

Life is not a technical matter, but a matter of the heart.

In simple invitations and proposals Christ has met me. Within these proposals, which have challenged me to give of myself, I am often met by a “face”. Sometimes familiar, sometimes unfamiliar. Regardless, it is in these “faces” (people) that Christ transforms me – my habits, my desires, my character, my soul. In these people, a Person. Christ.

School of Community was proposed to me by a dear friend six months ago. No context, no explanation – a simple invitation. Having shared enough life with this friend to know his character and faith, including his desire for my sanctity, I said “yes”. For a month I attended School of Community, understanding little to nothing. Nonetheless, weekly I continued to give my “yes”, and through the people of the School of Community – through their stories, their depth, their magnanimity – I came to an understanding that this proposal, this movement, is a call to go to the depths of experience. It's a call to intensely examine the reality in front of me and to make a judgment. Daily. And with this came a renewed realization of my need for Christ and others. Through these people Christ met me.

The National Assembly frequently addressed “living the real”, “being present”, and “being attentive” – calling us to the depths of what is. In my experience, “what is” is often a person, because within people there is a depth – a capacity for joy and sorrow, grace and mercy, love and so much more. At the assembly I encountered just this. A story where grief showed the capacity of love through others. A story of connection amidst loneliness. Throughout the Assembly, I continued to understand that if I continue to take the time to encounter these faces, I will enter the depths of what is. I’ll encounter Christ. “Taste and see.” I must enter, witness, and offer an experience of life.

Giussani, in the preface of To Give One’s Life for the Work of Another, laments the “prevalence of ethics over ontology” – preferring an idealized state to reality. In my experience, the depths of reality are much more beautiful than any idealized state I can try to live. In reality I encounter people, and through people, I encounter Christ. As the Chorus from a John Mark McMillian song goes:

Jesus, Jesus
Save me from the tyranny of the familiar
Jesus, Jesus
Show me the face of God in every Human creature

Phillip, Kansas City, MO