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These elements seem fused together as we listen to a woman breathe in and breathe out of a blues harp, its reedy voice alternately sobbing, wailing and crying out in ecstasy. Audience members taking first notice of Trinaa€™s big voice will be struck by her prodigious lung capacity and her talent for blowing blues harp better than any guy theya€™ve ever heard. Continuing an august tradition, Trina came east from the Minnesota north, echoing Bob Dylan.
In junior high, she was part of a select group of students chosen to participate in an improvisational theater group, started by a speech teacher, Ert Jones-Hermerding. A series of formative experiences occurred when Trinaa€™s Improv group teacher encouraged her to audition for the Minnesota State Fair.
After high school, she attended the prestigious Berklee School in Boston and received a degree in Professional Music.
Around 1997, events swirled around her and the insecure and changing nature of the music business turned life into a winding hairpin-turn-laden path. Through her association with the managers of Sine, Trina became friends with Jody Klein, the son of Allen Klein (ABKCO, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles). Then, Von Freeman, who did marketing and promotions for a top 40 station in Cinncinnati, Ohio, saw her play at Sidewalk and was impressed.
In 2008 Trina collaborated on one track on Vicki Gelfana€™s album Uncovered, a€?Long Train Running,a€? that old Doobie Brothers chestnut.
Brixton Boogie, an album made in Germany, released in 2009, came about in a typical a€?Trina Hamlina€? manner.
Ever the independent, Trina prides herself on not having a a€?Berklee stampa€? on her music. To try to define Trinaa€™s style, just for fun, a friend who was in advertising did a marketing study on Trina, using fans whoa€™d known her since she was a child and those whoa€™d come to know her as an adult artist. According to experts, single women looking for a happy, secure boyfriend should look for a man with a sister or sisters.
Pro Tip: When surprising your son or daughter at college, make sure you know their correct dorm room number. After waking up from an operation, and still hopped up on anesthesia, this kid tells his mom that he and "his boy, Rocco" killed people in Dubai. Venite a vedere - Communion and LiberationCommunion and Liberation is an ecclesial movement whose purpose is the education to Christian maturity of its adherents and collaboration in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life. I wonder… would the mythic heroes of ancient Greece or Rome or America have given their deaths to save their brethren?
I met Whistler in the seaside village of Mezkor, on the western coast of the supercontinent. There was nothing mysterious about why Deepspace Development Corporation had been so eager to send a survey team. Yet another reason I am a cynic: cynicism provides a convenient facade for cowardice to hide behind.
On the morning the trouble started, we were walking a familiar stretch of beach near the village: sand glistening like snow, sun shining down so hot and bright that the ocean sparkled like a molten mirror.
Synobians looked remarkably humanoid, considering the vagaries of evolution: two arms, two legs, bipedal gait. Riddles within riddles… or so it seemed, after the translator finished tying his meaning into knots. After a long day of misunderstanding Whistler in ways variously novel and familiar, I sought the only solace available on a remote survey mission: a fistful of aspirin and a bottle of synthetic scotch. Dexter pulled the orb from my shaking hands, teeth gleaming inside a dark tangle of moustache and beard. I stowed the ghost stones in back of the skimmer - under Whistler's careful scrutiny - then steered us in the direction he pointed: over the forest, toward the cliffs that ran along the coast north of A Camp.
Hordes of insectile creatures poured from the mound, swarmed over Krysta's body in wriggling profusion. We dragged our macabre cargo through the forest despite the moonless night, our path lit by the eerie glow of luminescent fungi. I programmed the medibots as best I could to recognize the offending organs, then injected them into Whistler's neck.
I passed my vigil leaning against the trunk of a mushroom fern, listening to a symphony of unseen creatures prowl the alien night. I have since often pondered what life was like for Lazarus after the world moved on to other miracles.
Dexter Conley emerged from the shadows beneath the cliffs, followed by a younger man: Paul Killian, the rookie supervisor Jenny Margolis had left in charge. Dexter waded out into the tide, stomping and flailing and cursing in the area where Krysta's stone had disappeared. A glistening island of silver flesh breached the sea behind him, rising up and up, like a mountain spawned by the titanic collision of undersea continents.
We've learned a great deal since Dexter - may he roast in Hell - pointed us in the right direction.
In between harp passages, her massive vocal instrument surges, the melody and beat strong and steady, accompanied only by her hand beating against a tambourine.
While shea€™s too young to be the prototype for the a€?Girl from the North Country,a€? she could serve as its archetype.
On her live album, One NightStand, Seattle, WA, for the first time, I heard her play some terrific boogie-woogie licks, some soaring ballad accompaniment, and as a jokey aside, a few bars of classical piano passage. So, shortly after winning the talent show, Trina started taking piano lessons, from a woman from Sri Lanka, who taught out of her house and used the Montessori method. A contest was held each year and the winner would play the following year with a 36-piece orchestra. The extent of her professional musicianship can get lost on the casual listener who might get immersed in her ability to belt out acoustic versions of southern rock and blues. She sang classical as well as pop and learned sound engineering, which she enjoyed, and even did some classical conducting. She moved to New York and sang with bands, providing mainly harmonica, accordion and tambourine accompaniment, still noodling around at home.
Island Records brought her aboard and she made demos that found their way to producers of the TV show a€?Dawsona€™s Creeka€?. She began working with ABKCO as a a€?development deal,a€? making demos and recording with people like Jimi Zhivago (Ollabelle) and Fernando Saunders (Jeff Beck, Lou Reed).
He gave her his business card and later had Trina flown out to Ohio and featured her on a€?One Earth Partya€? radio-sponsored live shows where she performed with pop icons like Paula Cole, Duncan Sheik and the Goo Goo Dolls. Shea€™d met drummer Bill Dobrow and bassist Jeff Hill at the club the Living Room (both of them later played with Rufus Wainwright).
In our August feature article on Susan Werner, we mentioned how much Trinaa€™s back-up harp work can raise the level of excitement in a song. That said, however, she admits, a€?I probably dona€™t realize how much I draw from my experience at college when Ia€™m in a musical situation. The overall opinion went beyond folk, blues, pop or acoustic rock (she certainly encompasses all of those).
The overall opinion went beyond folk, blues, pop or acoustic rock (she certainlyA  encompasses all of those). The Arizona student, who attended Red Mountain High School, exposed his genitals in his high schoola€™s varsity football team photo after being dared to do so by a teammate. Terran history preaches again and again that the most courageous sacrifice a human being can make is to give his life for the lives of others. The natives seemed to have no use for the interior, and that was exactly the part of the planet for which DDC Management lusted.
The bloody thing still could not untangle the spaghetti of Synobian grammar; its lexicon remained limited and imprecise. Slick salamander skin buried beneath a carpet of symbiotic sproutlings that drew nutrients from dead epidermal cells in exchange for protecting their host from the relentless sun. We stood in silence, watching some of Whistler's fellow villagers frolic in the surf a few hundred meters from shore.
At first glance, it looked like the biggest pearl I had ever seen: twenty centimeters across, shimmering with nacreous luster.
I went straight to my berth and collapsed on the bunk, exhausted to the marrow, yet - as pathetic as it sounds - I was afraid to sleep. Dexter fidgeted beside Jenny while three members of her team trained laser pistols on the Synobians. An area we had scrupulously avoided, since Whistler made it clear from the first days of contact that it contained hallowed ground.
Dexter - and whoever had helped him sabotage the skimmer, a feat which bespoke a technical expertise far beyond his depth - would be waiting. I tried to analyze her condition with the medikit, but Synobian physiology did not lend itself to analysis with human medical tools. We brought her to a clearing with a large earthen mound near its center, at least two meters in diameter.
I could barely see what lay beneath the mass of chitinous scavengers… and still, I saw too much.
He probably meant what he said, but the substances used to erase memories were very unpredictable.
Its lower ring of eyes fixed on the tiny human floating beneath them as immense jaws parted, as saliva mixed with brine cascaded in a dozen waterfalls between rows of spiny teeth.
He would not let Killian and me bundle him into the skimmer until we had finished what we came to do.
I wonder, as I brood over this final entry in my mission log, if the Saviors immortalized by history are created by actions, or events, or both. In the clatter of the train wheels, the chanting in the churches and the classrooms, the cadence of our footfalls as we run, the bellows of our breathing, the hammering of our heartbeats, we live our song.
Her words describe personal passion and doubt, but the undercurrent of musical expression seems primitive, reaching back to a time when drumbeats carried our messages on the wind.
Tallish, maybe 5 feet-9 or 10, shea€™s beautiful and has that magnificent instrument for a voice. Money was scarce and the family had no piano, but she saved her money, drew a piano keyboard to practice with, and took lessons anyway. Trina would listen to what her brother was trying to play from a book, and walk over and play it by ear. The first thing they did was to sit on the floor and play games with flash cards and sticks to learn rhythm. She was the lead singer for the band Blue Leaves until around 1994, when the band broke up and she started to go solo. She got some additional people on guitars and recorded the album at the home of producer Marilyn Da€™Amato who operated an a€?in-housea€? recording studio. Although she broke a guitar string during her first song, she played harp until her friends backstage replaced the string and got the guitar back to her.
She describes the song, like many others, as one that came upon her by itself one morning and was finished by evening.
Her house concert in Seattle was changed to a beautiful old theater with a recording studio at the back of the hall.
She asked when it was happening, and he said, a€?August.a€? This was not far off, and she needed to check her schedule to see if she could do it.
The consensus centered on the phenomenon of Trinaa€™s musical ability to funnel emotions for her listeners.
The relationship with Island ended.A  Trina had been performing as a solo act since the fall of 1994, and wanted to tour and develop. The photo was then published in the schoola€™s yearbook a€” somehow without a single person noticing.
Aside from one true continent and a smattering of volcanic islands, the sea covered everything, from fathomless trenches to the shallows above submerged continental plates that had drowned eons before the first Synobian drew breath. Central mountain ranges concealed a geologic treasure trove: gold, silver, platinum, copper, juicy veins of high-grade ore.
Several clung to the massive dorsal ridge of a trylvol: a whale-like creature with half a dozen eyes completely circling its swollen cranium, reminiscent of a beluga with an overactive pituitary.
I can't figure out what I'm dealing with… ancestor worship, afterlife mythology, tribal gods, animism?
Sits back there in civilization, with his giga-buck salary, designer drugs, designer women…. I saw no choice but to continue, relying on the cover of the forest and Whistler's home field advantage. Two glandular organs on either side of her neck were pumping large doses of an unfamiliar hormone into her system. I lurched into the protective embrace of the forest, following Whistler as quickly as my trembling legs could manage. As we followed the thunderous call of the ocean, I saw the misery in Whistler's eyes and wondered whether I had saved him or condemned him to a fate more tragic than I could fathom.
Below us, beach stretched to the north and south, undulating with the coastline like an albino serpent. I prayed silently with all my might that he would not find it, that at least Whistler might die with that small measure of consolation. He shrilled a song of victory and vengeance, a sound so giddy with emotion it made my skin crawl. Whistler lay stubbornly bleeding in the sand while we unworthy humans threw the rest of the ghost stones into the sea.


Will trylvols someday gather - far beyond the sight of land - to sing their haunting tributes to the child who gave everything to protect their aggregated souls from damnation? It would make him furious, when Trina would effortlessly mimic what he was struggling to learn. While she never felt that she wanted to be in theater, she a€?enjoyed the whole process of it.a€? a€?I guess I was on the path at an early age, of being some kind of an entertainer,a€? she states.
The first time, still in junior high, she played piano and sang one of her own songs a€¦and wasna€™t chosen. The words and music came together, and she played chords on that song that she didna€™t know she had in her.
Everyone in her audience makes contact with the particular emotions they need to feel when they listen to her. While she never felt that she wanted to be in theater, she a€?enjoyed the whole process of it.a€?A  a€?I guess I was on the path at an early age, of being some kind of an entertainer,a€? she states. Shea€™d bounced between three clubs in the East Village: Sine, The Sidewalk Cafe (where we first saw her) and CBGBa€™s Gallery (next to the original CBGBa€™s and catering to acoustic acts). He also ran the kitchen - easy duty, since the meals practically prepared themselves - and served as unofficial bartender. How's he expect you to reason with a walking compost heap?" I felt my temper smoldering, fed by the scotch in my belly, but I was too exhausted to give Dexter a lecture on universal tolerance. Me, it just seemed a little spooky, but Johnson in Precious Metals recycled his lunch after thirty seconds, tops. Laser burns had stripped away sproutlings from her abdomen, leaving charred patches that seeped purplish fluid.
I caught up with him near our encampment, relieved that we would soon be on our way, putting kilometers between ourselves and that wretched stretch of woods. The bones did not just glisten: they shone in the twilight as if they had been carved from mother-of-pearl.
Waves thundered against the sand, foaming and bubbling as they slipped back into the cerulean embrace of the sea. The trylvol writhed in surf too shallow to support its bulk, a great fleshy tanker run aground. A release of hormones triggers a pupal stage: the body dies while the skull seals around a brain that is undergoing drastic chemical and structural changes. The organs in his neck were the harbingers of change, secreting the hormone to initiate his glorious transfiguration. He has warned the trylvols about us: what we have come for, and what we may take if we are not stopped.
His headaches grow worse as the brain imprisoned in his skull presses out against the shell of an egg that will never hatch…. She finally bought a piano and tried taking lessons as an adult, but as it turned out, her love of music was not accompanied with a matching talent. As it became apparent that her brother wasna€™t cut out for music, it was finally Trinaa€™s turn. A couple of years later, at the age of 16, she played and sang a combination of two covers, one fast and one slow. There was one available in the house that she shared, but it took 2 years for her to pick it up and learn it.
Trina describes her management experiences as a€?very free form,a€? people guiding her, but in an undirected sort of way. It was a blast.a€? Because the album was not completed at the time her songs first appeared on Dawsona€™s Creek, she was unable to garner much publicity from the TV exposure. If you remember that song all too well and think you were burned out on its excessive presence on FM airwaves in the a€?70s, think again.
And ita€™s this underlying understanding of whata€™s happening that I dona€™t always give myself credit for. Most were pass-the-bucket a€?tip houses,a€?A  where performers were not paid, and made their money from the collection at the end of each performance. Blurry images paraded past my eyes: jagged cliffs, thundering seascapes, jungles bursting with flora I could not name. The bastards who pump us through i-space to make their fortunes owe us a lot more than a little scavenging on the side! I knelt beside Whistler and activated the translator, wondering if Dexter's glare would burn a hole in the back of my head. When I asked Whistler, he indicated that they were vital to her welfare, and I knew with numb certainty that random tinkering on my part could only make matters worse. I could only follow Whistler with my eyes as he approached the naked skeleton of his brood sister.
Blood oozed from the blackened stump like blueberry syrup to stain the sand a deep burgundy.
Dexter swam farther from shore, dove, let out a whoop as he broke the surface with a shimmering oval in one hand.
Trylvol digestive enzymes weaken the shell sufficiently for the metamorphosed brain to emerge, wend its way through the trylvol's sinus passages, and assume its rightful place. He knew I could not save the rest of his brood siblings without his help, so he had me destroy his only chance to join them. She began with a fast song, a€?Ia€™ve Got the Music in Me,a€? segued into the slow one (a Kim Carnes song) and then finished up with the fast one, and she won. Additionally, she did a few gigs there, and was noticed by a man named Krisz Kreuzer who asked her to write words to some songs he was recording for an urban blues album. Part of that is because I always felt a little bit off-kilter as a kid because I could hear, but I didna€™t always know what I heard. It synthesizes the conviction that the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of the authentic liberation of man. Perhaps that explained Mystery Number One: villages ringed the coast of the supercontinent, but we had yet to locate one more than a hundred kilometers inland. An electric tingle traveled up my arms and down my spine, rising in intensity, pulsing like the beat of some invisible heart. You may have more degrees than the average stellar core… but out here, you're still a grunt. He pulled out one of the two orbs nestled within and stroked its surface with the reverence of a temple acolyte. For just an instant, at the edge of the clearing, I paused to look back at our fallen comrade. He took one step toward Dexter, stone held out like a child slaughtered to appease an evil god. Many brains assemble in the massive cranial cavity of a single host: five trylvols hold the majority of clan Mezkor. She dedicated it to her Uncle Murray, who used to coax her to sing that song impromptu in some of the tonier restaurants in New York City.
This is where she picked up the harmonica, purely by accident.A  Two college friends were in a blues band, a€?The One Eyed Jacks,a€? that shea€™d go to see after she got out of school. Communion and Liberation is today present in about seventy countries throughout the world.
A thousand shattered memories fought to assemble a consciousness that belonged to someone else. He wandered onto the beach with the reverent steps of a pilgrim who has finally reached the holy shrine. They will sell DDC those precious rights to the minerals locked beneath the skin of the supercontinent.
She was asked to pick some songs, which were then arranged for her and she sang without playing piano (a€?weird for me,a€? she said). Using overdubs, Trina provided back-up harp throughout the entire song, as well as the harp solos that are in the forefront along with her lead vocal. Working with Susan [Werner] has been amazing because she talks in those terms a lot and I know that I understand it.a€? All that Trina has experienced prepared her well for her supporting role with Susan. She was asked to pick some songs, which were then arranged for her and she sang without playing piano (a€?weird for me,a€? she said).A  She performed with the orchestra for 11 straight days in front of an audience of a€?about five thousand peoplea€? each time. She thinks that perhaps watching the leader play harp gave her some insight into playing it. We were close now to whatever sacred place Whistler had been guiding us; I could hear the muffled roar of the ocean in the distance, could smell its briny tang. He stared at the immense wake of the diving trylvol, and something collapsed inside him… something that had been waiting for one more little push.
Dionne Warwick was supposed to play at the final a€?Grandstanda€? show, but couldna€™t make it, so Trina filled in, along with Michael Johnson, a pop singer, the showa€™s opening act. When another singer songwriter friend, for whom Trina sang backup vocals, asked Trina to play harp on a song, she demurred at first, but gave in. As I flailed away in horror, one emotion dogged my escape after all the rest had evanesced into oblivion. Patches of its bony surface - especially those in areas where no bone had any right to be - bore the unmistakable sheen of fresh growth.
Whistler gazed up at me with large, liquid eyes that would have looked haunted on any creature's face. The ghost stone catapulted out over the churning foam and splashed into the surf at least ten meters from shore. But those rights will be contingent on an irrevocable ban against exploitation of the ocean. Although the Montessori method eventually leads its students to sight reading, Trina refused. A couple of months later, the consultant got back and said that Susan needed a band during her Gospel Truth tour. The stage was bigger than anything shea€™d ever seen, and when the lights were turned on, she couldna€™t see the audience - just a a€?black wall.a€? These days, the audiences are a lot smaller in the clubs, and when she plays festivals, large audiences dona€™t faze her. Her friend taught her how to a€?benda€? a note, it gave it more of a a€?voice.a€?A  Trina did it and liked it, then started a€?fooling arounda€? with harmonica. Finally, her teacher forced her to leave, saying she had to study with someone who would force her to read music. She listened to albums by harp players, but that didna€™t help, so she just kept experimenting on her own. Finally I began to understand: he wanted me to remove the strange organs at the sides of his neck. She was fascinated by the rhythms she was getting - different than the ones she was singing.
The gathering attracted 4,000 volunteers and 700,000 participants.A The essence of the charism given to Communion and Liberation can be signaled by three factors. No matter what I throw at you, you land on your feet.a€? Given that Susan constantly needs to change things up to keep it interesting for herself, Trina is the perfect band mate for her.
During the six years we had been living in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, we had belonged to St. Thomas was the first parish that my husband and I joined as adults, and our three daughters (the twins had not been born yet) had been baptized there by Reverend Jack Farry. To my delight and amazement, Sarah and her assistant were offering Catechesis of the Good Shepherd!
I promptly signed up my second daughter as well and began to spend the sessions in the back of the atrium, lurking. As Sarah and I became better friends, and as I began to fall in love with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Sarah told me that she also belonged to a lay ecclesial movement, called Communion and Liberation. I remember thinking that CL must be cool, since Sarah was also into CGS, and it was super cool, but aside from hearing about what it meant for her, I wasn't really very interested in it. But when my husband told me that he needed something more, in order to live his faith more fully, I quickly recommended that he speak to Sarah and her husband about CL.
Well, he fell in love right away, and started giving me Father Giussani's books to read and asking me to come to School of Community. I read the books, and found them very beautiful, if unoriginal (yes, I'm sorry, but my only criticism of Father Giussani was that he wasn't saying "anything new." Now, I think one of the greatest things about him is that he doesn't say "anything new"!). But as for School of Community, I didn't want to give up an evening at home with my children so that I could meet with a bunch of adults to speak about Jesus -- my faith received such a powerful electric charge when I became a mother, and it seemed wrong not to include my children in every aspect of my spiritual journey.
When we moved to Ohio three years ago, it was a time to make new friends, and I wanted to meet other people who were following Father Giussani. Though I still thought that he wasn't saying "anything new," I was hungry for friends who were following the Church: the old, essential, not-at-all new Church. Sometimes, among other Catholics, I feel so disoriented hearing about particular devotions or charisms that seem unfamiliar to me. Father Giussani had the peculiar genius for cutting through all of the "extras" and going straight to the heart of Christianity -- he tirelessly proposed Jesus Christ (much as our current Pope, Benedict XVI does).
What is new about CL is not so much a particular theology, but a way of living out Christianity that is vital, vibrant, and vivifying.
It involves being able to see our Lord, beloved and adored, in the bonds of friendship that exist between and among ordinary, sometimes uninspiring, Christians.
What Father Giussani both proposed and also demonstrated in reality is that Christ is not only present as Bread and Wine in the Eucharist, he is also present in the unity that exists in his people -- the Body of Christ. When we gather together, we can meet him in the flesh.Some people wonder: why do you need anything in addition to parish life? It is true that the Eucharist vivifies and enlivens any particular parish community, but what seems to be most difficult for us is to live with an awareness of what the sacraments mean.


Without an awareness of what our Baptism means, what our Confirmation means, what our participation in the Eucharist means, we sleepwalk through our lives, and miss so much! God is reaching out toward us, wanting to meet us in all our present moments, but we easily get distracted. We need friends who live this awareness, who are willing to live this awareness along with us.Some people also wonder whether joining a movement narrows our involvement in the Church. The more I follow this one particular charism, the more universal my understanding of so many other aspects of the Church has become.
In fact, being involved with CL has opened me up to the international dimension of the Church, as well as opening my heart to people in my immediate environment who are different from me.
The law of the Incarnation always works this way -- Christ comes to me and shows me the whole, in all its universality, through particular circumstances.I would be remiss if I didn't mention Father Vincent. Even though my involvement with CL had become more consistent and serious when we moved to Ohio three years ago, it wasn't until the first Lent retreat we had here in my new town, led by Father Vincent, that I finally let my heart be fully engaged in CL. I pray for his work there, and that he may bring even more people into our beautiful friendship! January 26th, 2004 Fr Giussania€™s letter to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his Pontificate. Panorama, October 30th, 2003 Fr Giussania€™s letter to the Fraternity following the annual pilgrimage to Loreto.
June 22nd, 2003 Fr Giussania€™s letter to the Fraternity for the twentieth anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
February 22nd, 2002 Fr Giussania€™s testimony as presented at the Pontifical Council for the Laitya€™s Seminar, a€?Ecclesiastical movements and the new communities in the pastoral care of the Bishopsa€?. 1989A The beginning and end of Christian morality I've been reading ahead in Is It Possible to Live This Way? After a long discussion on the true meaning of freedom, Father Giussani writes: "Freedom isn't choice, it's only a possibility to choose because it's imperfect" (p. And then on the next page: Yet carrying out this correct choice demands a clear awareness of the relationship with Christ, of the relationship with destiny. He's near Simon and He says to him, very softly, without the others realizing, He says quietly, 'Simon, do you love me more than these?' This is the culmination of Christian morality: the beginning and the end of Christian morality. Man finds his dignity in the choice of what he values most in life and from which he expects the greatest satisfaction. I have understood for a long time that freedom and morality are tightly bound in Father Giussani's thought. I have also grasped that his denunciation of moralism was never brought on by a disdain for morality.
And the heart is not "what I like" or "what I want" -- it's the constant thirst for what I'm made for, my destiny, Christ.
I can be seduced to imagine that something I want is my destiny -- if I lose sight of the ever-expanding horizon that calls me with an Infinite love.
Moralism's answer, which says we have to suppress our desire, do violence to our desire, is useless, even mortally dangerous, to our souls.
It is the solution of a lonely humanity, a humanity that has ceased to listen to the voice that calls each of us by name, a humanity without Christ. We need to hear Him ask us, "Do you love me?" We need to let that question burn into our hearts every minute of every hour, engage us, draw us through our days. Because even those who are so blessed to have heard Jesus speak directly to them through metaphysical means, do not hear this question so perfectly and constantly that they can forgo the Eucharist or the people of God, who make up the Church. No, God has willed it that we must turn to one another -- there is no other way -- and remind each other that He asks, He continually asks, "Do you love me?"If you expect your satisfaction from something that can be dust tomorrow, you'll have dust.
Do I love them?A  The meaning of tenderness Father Giussani and Enzo PiccininiDuring the summer of 2006, my family and I participated in the CL summer vacation for the Varese (Italy) community that took place in the Dolomites (San Martino di Castrozza). During those very rich days, we heard a talk given by a priest whose name escapes me and who was introduced as the spiritual director for Memores Domini in Italy (or something -- I don't speak Italian! In any case, the theme of his talk was "complaining" ("lamentare" -- which my Italian English teacher friend kept translating into my ear as "moaning" -- luckily I know British English and I know that this word is used as we would use "complaining" in America).
In any case, the very strong theme of his talk was that "lamentare" is a form of violence, the worst kind of violence -- an "ugly" violence ("brutto" means ugly, not "brutal," right?). Memory - the greatest Christian word I know - that makes presentsomething that happened long ago. In his daughter [Emmanuel Mounier'sdaughter, Francoise with micro-encephalitis], in the circumstance thateveryone considered to be misfortune, a sign emerged that forced oneto think of the present Mystery of Christ.This is memory. May this start to become normal among us, may it be asign that forces us to think of the Mystery of Christ as present! It is the demand for a humanexperience that can be considered such, because this is my life's mostabsolute necessity.b. But it is not the complaints that break theheart of a suffering child, it is the complaints that burden the heartand ears of those listening, which render life difficult for thosearound us, and our life becomes a sentence also for others, a life-lament that does not know happiness, and even less, joy.c. But whoever sets up his life as lamentation does not know the grandthing that makes man great: tenderness. The man who complainsdoes not know tenderness, but vomits onto others what he has insidehim.
It was like a sign pointing down a road that I refused to travel because I thought I already knew it and had already been on it.What was different about Father Vincent? When the foreign thought entered my mind that day: "This is for me!", perhaps it was just that having moved to a new town so recently, I was less sure of myself, less comfortable with all the answers I was carrying around inside of me.
What is so weird is that I've spent very little time with this priest, and he's kind of spotty about reading and responding to his emails.
I experience it in my daily life, mostly as a result of the profound and moving experience of School of Community this year, but most importantly in the new fraternity group that Marie and I have formed.
First he placed a small standing crucifix on the table in front of us.1) He pointed to the crucifix and said, "We do SoC for him -- not for the movement, not because of the movement -- but because of him.
It doesn't depend on anything or anyone else, so we have our freedom, and no one can limit us or our freedom to do it because I have all I need and you have all you need. No, the only one who knows it and gives it as a gift is Christ [points again to the crucifix]. They come because of the charism, because of him [points again to the crucifix], so you should be grateful that he sends them to you, and you should care for them, and be surprised and amazed that they come." "This is the Victory that Conquers the World, Our Faith" "We come to the Fraternity Exercises in order to revisit the things we always tell each other.
We meet all together because there is nothing, normally, that can help the emotion of the heart or the liveliness of perception of our mind, nothing capable of influence, like a tender, motherly, brotherly, friendly push on our will, more than our coming together." (Fr.
Giussani)The content of the Spiritual Exercises took our book of the School of Community, Is It Possible to Live this Way?
I have so many thoughts about the content, but I want to write about them after all my blogging friends have returned from the exercises, so that perhaps we can have a discussion about them. Meanwhile, though, there are three very important things that happened for me at these exercises:Many of our friends from the Chicago community were present at these particular exercises, and being face-to-face with them reminded me of my reasons for keeping myself apart from the movement during the years I lived there. I was particularly struck, thinking about what my life would have been if I had dived right into living the proposals of the movement while I was among these people who first introduced me to them.
To be specific: it was the sin of pride: I already knew how Christ came to me, I already knew what Christ wanted of me, I already had a history of working out my Christianity on my own and I didn't want anyone to tell me that that history was limited and starved for oxygen because I knew it was beautiful, dammit! To use the CL way of characterizing this attitude, I was reducing the Mystery to my own measure, insisting on making the decisions about how and where and when Christ had something to say to me.
What is amazing to me is that I could come to these conclusions based on piety, how I was reading Fr.
But what I was hung up on was the scandal of the appearance of the local Church -- that Christ could manifest himself in these particular people, with all their irritating and unpleasant humanity (sorry, my friends), was just too much for me to digest. How hard it is to understand this distinction until you've lived through the mistake of confusing them (and the consequences of this mistake -- which are loneliness and bitterness). Being among these people now, I see their beauty -- it is a profound beauty, one that makes me ask, "Who is this man who could cause such a miracle among these particular people?"What a different experience it was for me to go to the exercises with Marie, my fraternity sister! Last year, I went "alone" -- of course, I immediately hooked up with new friends when I went to Minnesota, and I never for a moment felt myself to be alone while I was there, but what I mean was that I did not go with anyone from my local community. During these exercises, Marie and I discussed what we were hearing and witnessing, just as I did with the people I met in Minnesota last year, but I was able to express so much more with her -- the conversations went much deeper and were also much more concrete because we share a history already. There is also a whole new dimension to the content of the exercises for me -- because I know that in our fraternity group I will be wrestling with what Father Carron's lessons mean for Marie, as well as for myself. This brings out facets I never would have considered, and it enriches my life.As I tried to formulate a question for the assembly, and then, as I sought answers to my questions, I discovered that my biggest vulnerability or weakness has to do with an urge to organize or even strategize the Mystery. What was particularly striking about this personal insight is that this is not the first time I've recognized this problem in myself and vowed to overcome it. Before joining the Fraternity, I never thought of myself as a control freak -- if anything, I felt "organizationally challenged" and desired a little more control and strategy in my life.
But it is not my life that I seem compelled to organize and control, in any case (that's still something I contemplate on the level of "impossible dream") -- it's the way that Christ chooses to show himself to me in my surroundings and in the community he's given me.
This topic probably requires its own blog post, so let's just leave it on the level of vague abstraction right now. Untiring Openness, Most Faithful Unity The above photo comes from the Communion and Liberation website and was taken during the March 24, 2007 audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Many diverse things have been happening in my life, lately, but in response to all of them, this phrase, "Untiring Openness, Most Faithful Unity," keep popping into my thoughts.
Father Carron, in a letter he wrote to everyone in the movement before the audience, mentioned these words and said that they came from something Fr. I did a search, and didn't find the reference (maybe someone out there knows where this phrase comes from?), but I have been really moved (and corrected!) to consider what it means to be untiringly open and most faithful to unity.I especially appreciate the Italian word apertura, which means openness.
It reminds me of the fact that a photograph cannot come into being without allowing light to enter through the aperture. Without this openness, beauty remains a fleeting thing that passes by me without ever moving me, and I have nothing to give, nothing to show, nothing even to say.
During the six years we had been living in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, we had belonged to St. I remember thinking that CL must be cool, since Sarah was also into CGS, and it was super cool, but aside from hearing about what it meant for her, I wasn't really very interested in it. Well, he fell in love right away, and started giving me Father Giussani's books to read and asking me to come to School of Community. But as for School of Community, I didn't want to give up an evening at home with my children so that I could meet with a bunch of adults to speak about Jesus -- my faith received such a powerful electric charge when I became a mother, and it seemed wrong not to include my children in every aspect of my spiritual journey.
Even though my involvement with CL had become more consistent and serious when we moved to Ohio three years ago, it wasn't until the first Lent retreat we had here in my new town, led by Father Vincent, that I finally let my heart be fully engaged in CL.
1989A The beginning and end of Christian morality I've been reading ahead in Is It Possible to Live This Way?
I have understood for a long time that freedom and morality are tightly bound in Father Giussani's thought. Moralism's answer, which says we have to suppress our desire, do violence to our desire, is useless, even mortally dangerous, to our souls. During those very rich days, we heard a talk given by a priest whose name escapes me and who was introduced as the spiritual director for Memores Domini in Italy (or something -- I don't speak Italian!
It doesn't depend on anything or anyone else, so we have our freedom, and no one can limit us or our freedom to do it because I have all I need and you have all you need.
How hard it is to understand this distinction until you've lived through the mistake of confusing them (and the consequences of this mistake -- which are loneliness and bitterness). Being among these people now, I see their beauty -- it is a profound beauty, one that makes me ask, "Who is this man who could cause such a miracle among these particular people?"What a different experience it was for me to go to the exercises with Marie, my fraternity sister! There is also a whole new dimension to the content of the exercises for me -- because I know that in our fraternity group I will be wrestling with what Father Carron's lessons mean for Marie, as well as for myself. What was particularly striking about this personal insight is that this is not the first time I've recognized this problem in myself and vowed to overcome it.
This topic probably requires its own blog post, so let's just leave it on the level of vague abstraction right now. Word Among Us The Holy Rosary By Luigi Giussani.Sent by the Father- A A greeting at the close of a retreat of the Novices of the Memores Domini.
If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture.
If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy.
If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated.
It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
This blossoming will not bloom only at the end of time; it has already begun on the dawn of Easter. The Spirit of Jesus, the Word made flesh, becomes an experience possible for ordinary man, in His power to redeem the whole existence of each person and human history, in the radical change that He produces in the one who encounters Him, and, like John and Andrew, follows Him.



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29.12.2014 admin



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